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Wildlife exclusion fencing project for Hwy. 3 underway

The project will see 27 km of highway fenced from east of Hosmer to the Alberta border
Wildlife exclusion fencing is being installed along Hwy. 3 from east of Hosmer to the Alberta border. This photo was taken east of Sparwood of the new highway fencing. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

A project to install wildlife exclusion fencing along Hwy. 3 to reduce vehicle-animal collisions is underway.

Clayton Lamb, wildlife biologist with the University of British Columbia, is the lead scientist of the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) project. He said the fencing will stretch 27 kilometres from east of Hosmer to the Alberta border.

“The whole project includes key areas for elk movement and collision,” he said.

The MOTI project launched over the summer and will see the construction of fencing done in six phases to guide animals to safe crossing locations under existing bridge infrastructure to reduce collisions.

Lamb said there are similar systems in nearby places like Banff and America which are reducing vehicle-wildlife collisions by over 85 per cent.

“The goal is to reduce collisions, make landscapes safer, and more permeable for wildlife and motorists.

“We know there are many places that need this kind of support. Here we are focused on making this exciting 27 km project a reality and then turning our attention to other high priority areas.”

He said the full project area is an important connectivity corridor for elk, bear, deer, and wolverine.

“Unfortunately, a number of collision hotspots also occur here.”

According to MOTI, over the last ten years, 282 animals have been recorded struck in the project area.

Lamb said “The goal is to help these animals move across the highway safer.”

The Free Press’ original story on this project said it would install 54 km of fencing. That number accounts for the total length of fencing on both sides of the highway, which is why it is double the amount specified by Lamb, which refers to linear highway distance, not total fencing length.

READ MORE: MOTI project to install wildlife exclusion fencing along Hwy. 3 to begin this summer

READ MORE: Data being gathered on wildlife underpass on Hwy. 3 near Jaffray

READ MORE: Investigation: Which stretch of B.C. Highway 3 sees the most wildlife collisions?


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