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Wildlife guards to be installed near Highway 21 to curb wildlife on roadways

Posted: 5:12 PM, Apr 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-17 19:14:18-04

Each year roughly 7,000 mule deer and 1,500 elk cross Highway 21 to enter the Boise River Wildlife Management Area.

"We monitor at least an 11 mile section between where Warm Springs and Highway 21 meet, all the way up to Robie Creek and within that 11 mile section we get between 50 deer and a little over 200 hit depending on the winter,” said Regional Wildlife Biologist with Idaho Fish and Game Krista Biorn.

In order to curb that number, several agencies have been working together for years to install miles of fencing on both sides of Highway 21 in order to funnel deer and elk into a wildlife crossing structure.

"In 2010 an underpass was built underneath Highway 21 to allow mule deer and elk to cross underneath the highway so there weren’t any motorized vehicle collisions with them,” said Biorn.

But the animals could still get on the roadway through gaps in the fencing like the one at Spring Shores Road. In order to prevent that from happening, the final stage of the years long project is to install four specially fabricated wildlife guards.

“Those wildlife guards are kinda like cattle guards. They function the same way. They keep the animals from entering through a side road onto the highway where they could get into a collision with a vehicle,” said Biorn.

They hope that with the final installation that number will be drastically reduced and in turn make the roadway safer for all who use it.

"We’ve been very lucky that we haven’t had any human fatalities on Highway 21 with wildlife vehicle collisions so I think human safety is number one,” said Biorn.