Map of the McArthur Lake Wildlife Safety Project
The McArthur Lake Wildlife Corridor stitches together over a million acres of public lands in North Idaho. The corridor provides important habitat and connectivity for eight federally listed species and over 24 species designated as Idaho's Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
But in this same area, wildlife and passing vehicles too often come into contact, resulting in more collisions than any other state highway in Idaho.
Between 2000 and 2010, there were 321 wildlife related accidents reported on Highway 95 in the McArthur Lake vicinity. Two of these accidents caused human fatalities, and 36 more resulted in injuries. All told, these wildlife-vehicle collisions cost an estimated $4.9 million, ranging from loss of life to vehicle repairs.
From 2000 to 2009, the Idaho Transportation Department reported nearly 500 deer, elk, and moose killed by vehicles in the proposed project area.
For several years the Conservancy, as a partner of the Kootenai Valley Resource Initiative, has looked for ways to make the area safer. Earlier this month, after researching several safety options, we deployed a new but promising safety system. The first phase of the project was funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
According to its creator, Brice Sloan of Sloan Security Systems, the system is the first to combine the use of Doppler radar, high-resolution thermal camera, web-enabled remote power systems, and other wireless technologies to create a mobile animal detection system to reduce crashes between animals and vehicles. Unlike traditional perimeter detection methods this system tracks movement over the entire roadway – from fence to fence - over a distance of up to 1km in a given area.
Learn more about this innovative technology at our blog.
Support this project and help animals like moose, elk, and deer safely cross the road. Your contribution provides the matching funds needed for the Conservancy to leverage a $100,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation for this project.
Why conservation at McArthur Lake?
Of Idaho’s 53 million acres, 64 percent are publicly owned. However, these large blocks of higher elevation public lands are often separated by lower elevation highways and private lands that are rapidly being developed. Protecting the ability for species to move across a landscape is especially important given the emerging threats of climate change. This project is a great step forward in protecting the expansive landscape of the Northern Rockies and the iconic wildlife that live there.