Press Releases

NEWS Wildlife Crossing Legislation Passes Both Houses, Could Ease Adirondack Wildlife Migration

Adirondack Council Praises Bill to ID best Locations for Improved Crossings

ALBANY, N.Y. – A bill passed on Monday by both houses of the NY Legislature would begin the process of protecting wildlife from cars and trucks by improving wildlife crossings on highways statewide to prevent collisions, drawing praise from the Adirondack Council.

“If approved by the Governor, this legislation would give New York a brand-new tool for reducing habitat fragmentation and the related impacts on wildlife across the state, particularly in the Adirondack Park,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director Raul J. Aguirre.  “We commend Senator Leroy Comrie and Assemblymember Robert Carroll for sponsoring this legislation.  It will allow for critical habitat corridors to be maintained in high traffic areas, reconnecting habitat now divided by roads, while also protecting public safety and significantly reducing motorized accidents and fatalities.”

“This bill addresses real climate change impacts that we expect to see over the coming years,” said Aguirre. “The NYS Climate Impacts Assessment projects a substantial increase in temperature (5–11°F) and a dramatic increase in precipitation (6-17%) across the state by the end of the century. These changes will alter ecosystems and wildlife movements will only increase as they look to find suitable habitat in the face of shifting conditions.”

The bill would also give New York access to federal grants designated for improving wildlife crossings.

In the last 40 years, wildlife populations have declined by 60 percent globally due to habitat loss, climate change, and other environmental factors. Analysis from the United Nations shows that more than 1 million species face extinction due to these threats. It is essential that innovative actions are implemented to protect the ability for wildlife to migrate for their survival in the face of climate change.

“With over 5,000-miles of public roadway in the Adirondacks, we look forward to helping the Dept. of Transportation identify locations that need infrastructure updates to make them safer for human and wildlife species,” Aguirre explained.

Aguirre noted that studies have shown that wildlife crossings are an excellent investment, often paying for themselves quickly by preventing property damage and the need for medical assistance to accident victims.

He noted there is a pool of more than $350 million in federal funding available to municipalities, states, and tribes for construction of bridges, tunnels, and other infrastructure to allow wildlife safe passage. The New York Wildlife Crossing Act will help the state be more competitive in accessing this federal funding.

Established in 1975, the Adirondack Council is a privately funded, not-for-profit environmental advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring the ecological integrity and wild character of the Adirondack Park. The 9,300-square-mile Adirondack Park is one of the largest intact temperate deciduous forest ecosystems left in the world. The Adirondacks are home to about 130,000 New York residents in 130 rural communities. 

The Council carries out its mission through research, education, advocacy and legal action.  The Council envisions a Park with clean water and clean air, core wilderness areas, farms and working forests, and vibrant, diverse, welcoming, safe communities. 

For more information: John Sheehan, Adirondack Council, 518-441-1340

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