Sign the petition today! Northern California and southern Oregon contain numerous important connectivity corridors connecting the Cascade Mountains, the Great Basin, and the Coast Ranges through the jumbled ridges and rugged canyons of the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. One particularly important connectivity corridor extends from the wild Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains to the headwaters of the Sacramento River between Mt. Shasta City and Shasta Lake.
Anyone who has traveled the Interstate 5 corridor knows that the busy freeway creates a nearly impermeable and extremely dangerous barrier to wildlife migrating between mountains ranges. This barrier impedes wildlife migrations on a seasonal basis as wildlife travels from the low elevation forests in the Sacramento River canyon to high elevation habitats in the Trinity Mountains near Castle Crags Wilderness and State Park. It also impedes the movement of wildlife on a daily basis as local black bear, mountain lion, deer and other species attempt to access the river.
Very few opportunities exist for wildlife to safely cross the freeway in the Sacramento River canyon area and unfortunately, the sight of a dead black bear, mountain lion or deer carcass along the freeway is not uncommon. Due to particularly high levels of wildlife mortality in this area (many of which are black bears), Caltrans has posted warning signs depicting a family of black bears on the roadway.
In a report prepared for the agency, researchers evaluating wildlife connectivity throughout the state identified the area as an “Essential Connectivity Area of California,” containing numerous “intact landscape blocks.” The area provides a natural biological linkage between the Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains, the Cascade Mountains and the Modoc Plateau. Although the area is known as an important connectivity corridor, I-5 also makes the area a major impediment to wildlife migration and a wildlife mortality hotspot.
The issues of wildlife mortality and the impediments to wildlife migration in this area are well-known, but currently no actions are proposed to solve this problem. A series of well-designed wildlife crossings should be built in the Sacramento River canyon to protect both wildlife and motorists from dangerous collisions. We call this the Shasta-Trinity Wildlife Crossing Project and we envision crossings specifically designed to facilitate the movement of large carnivores, ungulates and other important species such as ring-tailed cats, Pacific fisher, and even western pond turtles.
In a world of competing priorities and limited discretionary funds, we ask that resources are dedicated to the Shasta-Trinity Wildlife Crossing Project. This project would protect both motorists and wildlife in the upper Sacramento River Canyon. Crossings should be built in strategic locations between Shasta Lake and Mt. Shasta City and could include oversized culverts, underpasses, overpasses, bridges and other crossings designed for wildlife passage.
Let Caltrans know to prioritize habitat connectivity in the Shasta-Trinity Wildlife Corridor!