Friday, September 18, 2015

First Look at Proposed Wildlife Crossing in LA

US Person has posted previously {15.10.15} about the plight of mountain lions cut-off from each other by impassible lanes of freeway traffic in Southern California. Studies find that the lions still hanging on to existence in the Santa Monica Mountains are declining in number and exhibiting the effects of in-breeding. Their future is grim--repeated inbreeding results in sterility--unless humans help them to reconnect separated populations. Last month a young, healthy male, P32 was killed as he attempted to cross a freeway. P32 was fulfilling a vital function by passing his genes to isolated females as he foraged and located safe places to sleep over 150 square miles of his range, crossing four dangerous freeways in the process. One cat in ten years making it across the barrier, P12, made a big difference to the gene pools into which he successfully contributed. Since that epic journey P12 has mated with his own daughter. P-33, a female decendent of P12 also successfully crossed Hwy101 to reach the western end of the Santa Monicas.  If she makes it north to the Los Padres National Forest, she will undoubtably mate with unrelated males who live there.

The proposed wildlife crossing will be the largest in the world located at Liberty Canyon on Hwy 101 in Agoura Hills where scarce undeveloped land between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monicas approaches the right of way. The overpass would be 165 feet wide and 200 feet long, covered in vegetation. It would allow animals to cross ten lanes of high density traffic in safety.  The feasibility study was funded by money from the state's Coastal Conservancy Commission. Conservationists are delighted with what they see in the first images, but the cost is steep: an estimated $30 million. Fund raising has already begun. Some of the money could come from mitigation dollars arising from widening projects elsewhere. The bridge is considered a better option than a tunnel which would required the freeway to be shut down periodically during construction. The proposed structure would have dual use capabilities too with humans using the green overpass for recreation during the day. Proponents say the wildlife crossing could even become a magnet for visitors. You can help Southern California's mountain lions survive even in a metropolis by donating to building the wildlife crossing at Liberty Canyon.