How Did the Bighorn Sheep Cross the Road?
The bighorn sheep population in northwest Arizona is important to outdoor enthusiasts of all types, yet highways have separated this population. As a result, wildlife-vehicle collisions, interference with access to adequate water and lack of habitat connectivity disrupt bighorn and put their population health at risk.
In a historic and innovative collaboration with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Federal Highway Administration, and the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Arizona Game and Fish Department created a solution that saves the lives of bighorn sheep and people. To alleviate vehicle collisions with bighorn sheep along a busy 15-mile stretch of Highway 93 north of Kingman, three wildlife overpasses and adjacent funnel fencing were constructed. This infrastructure allows wildlife to cross over the road safely, helping to keep populations connected to their habitat and reducing the risk for motorists and wildlife.
The success of this project led to collaboration with an unlikely partner: Nevada, who was concered the construction of the new Interstate 11 would have devastating consequences on wildlife habitats. Working with Nevada Department of Wildlife, Nevada Department of Transporation and other agencies, Arizona Game and Fish assisted with the design and implementation of the crossings, which is already showing positive results with active monitoring.