US395 Wildlife Crossing Funded for Planning and Design Phase


A substantial multimillion-dollar grant has been secured to initiate the development of a wildlife crossing along a deer-prone section of US395.

The Wildlife Conservation Board has granted nearly 5.5 million dollars for this purpose, which will mark the commencement of the planning and design phase for the crossing, overseen by Lassen County’s transportation commission.

This specific portion of the highway, spanning approximately 13 miles, was flagged as problematic by the Wildlands Network earlier this year. Notably, this stretch lacks culverts or bridges facilitating wildlife movement, rendering it a critical issue for local wildlife. The problem is further highlighted by GPS tracking of the Doyle deer herd, revealing it as a vital migration pathway. Consequently, this area along Highway 395 has earned the undesirable distinction of being one of the state’s top 10 locations for deer-related collisions.

In a collaborative effort, the Transportation Commission and the Wildlands Network in 2021 engaged a third-party organization to undertake the US-395 Wildlife Connectivity Study. This study has documented the movement of additional species, such as mountain lions, bears, bobcats, coyotes, badgers, and gray foxes, which frequently traverse this highway stretch. Tanya Diamond, Co-Principal at Pathways for Wildlife, noted, “In comparison to the connectivity studies we have conducted over the past thirteen years, this marks the first instance where we have consistently observed such a diverse array of species crossing a highway.”

Armed with this information and analysis, the U.C. Davis Road Ecology Center successfully applied for a Wildlife Conservation Board grant (WCB) grant. This achievement resulted in the allocation of funds earlier this month. The funding will facilitate a partnership among the county, UC Davis Road Ecology Center, Wildlands Network, and Pathways for Wildlife.

Their collective efforts will involve conducting comprehensive camera studies, gathering data on wildlife-vehicle collisions, and employing GPS telemetry to gain insight into how various wildlife species interact with the highway.