Public and private partners have re-launched an updated wildlife-monitoring website aimed at getting feedback from motorists traveling on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass.
The site, I-90 Wildlife Watch, invites information from the 28,000 motorists that drive over Snoqualmie Pass each day. The information motorists provide will allow public agencies and conservation groups data about the movement of wildlife within the I-90 corridor. The area features newly completed and under-construction wildlife crossings, part of a major highway improvement effort, the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT). Now the website also is displaying the results of fish and wildlife research in this landscape, including remote cameras images and videos of wildlife utilizing the newly constructed wildlife crossings on I-90.
“The I-90 Wildlife Watch is a wonderful opportunity to foster participation, education, innovation, and collaboration in wildlife research. Through the I-90 Wildlife Watch, the public, agencies, and universities can work together to learn how to restore the connectivity of wildlife populations on the National Forest and also protect public safety through the prevention of vehicle/animal collision,” said Patty Garvey-Darda, wildlife biologist with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Interstate 90 crosses the Cascades at Snoqualmie Pass, where traffic volumes average 28,000 vehicles per day and are increasing by approximately 2 percent per year. While I-90 is a vital east-west transportation corridor in the state, it also bisects a critical north-south wildlife corridor for wildlife moving throughout the Cascade Mountains and from the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Mount Rainier National Park.
As part of the I-90 improvement project, WSDOT plans to build 24 wildlife crossing structures between Hyak and Easton to provide a safe roadway for both motorists and wildlife. These structures range in size from enlarged culverts passing under the interstate to 150-foot vegetated bridges over the roadway. Construction on these crossings are underway. WSDOT has already completed two undercrossings near Hyak and is in the process of building the Keechelus Lake Wildlife Overcrossing, scheduled to be complete in 2019, over the roadway near Price Creek.
“Each new phase of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project brings us closer to our goal of minimizing the impact of the highway on the landscape. The project would not be possible without the support of the public and our partners,” stated Mark Norman, WSDOT biologist. The website provides a great opportunity to make connections with those groups. Together we will make I-90 safer for wildlife and motorists for generations to come.”
Take a look and keep re-visiting the website at www.i90wildlifewatch.org!