It's a sad fact of life in the Northwest: in many newly developed areas, deer roam the streets, displaced from their previously forested homes into the nakedness of modernity. It's not only dangerous for animals crossing the street, as the Seattle Times points out, but this kind of development is "isolating populations and undermining the genetic vigor that’s key to long-term survival."
The state of Washington, cognizant of this fact, is taking steps to rectify it by building a bridge across the I-90 freeway in Snoqualmie Pass (an hour east of Seattle). Via the Seattle Times:
On Tuesday, the state Department of Transportation will break ground east of Snoqualmie Pass on the state’s first freeway overpass for animals. The 150-foot-long structure is designed to provide safe passage for species ranging from black bear and cougar to deer, elk — and even squirrels, mice and lizards.
It’s part of an ambitious project to convert a 15-mile stretch of interstate into one of the world’s most wildlife-friendly highways.
“This is really a remarkable effort,” said Patricia Garvey-Darda, a biologist for the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. “The goal is to connect all the species and all the habitat.”
Helping the environment is obviously a great thing, but also, the idea of building an overpass with bears and deer strolling across is kind of hilarious, probably because it makes me think of the old Gamecube game Animal Crossing.
Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.