Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage
Montanans For Safe Wildlife Passage (MSWP) formed in 2011 to bring individuals and conservation groups together to advocate for the innovative solutions to improve and/or maintain habitat connectivity across Montana roads and provide safe passage for Montana’s people, fish, and wildlife. Members include individuals who have been working on improving passage for wildlife and aquatic species for over 15 years, including research, monitoring, policy work, mapping, and on-the-ground projects.
-Integrate Montana FWP connectivity data and wildlife considerations into the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) planning process.
-Raise the public profile for safe wildlife crossings.
-Increase the number of wildlife mitigation measures on Montana’s highways to provide safe passage for people and wildlife.
-Build a coalition with diverse allies interested in wildlife and public safety on Montana roads.
-Explore state and federal policy solutions.
-Launch Citizen Science along priority roadways and ensure that mitigation measures are incorporated into transportation plans for these roadways.
- As a response to the Highway 191 Corridor Study being conducted by the Montana Department of Transportation, MSWP has initiated a working group to coordinate public communication and engagement opportunities to ensure that the plans from this Study reflect the needs of wildlife and public transportation safety.
- MSWP has created SubCommittees to coordinate plans for improving Coalition Communications, Fundraising, Data and Information, and Policy. White papers and work plans from these groups will be available in late 2020.
- In late 2019-early 2020, the Planning and Implementation Team worked with the Directors and High Level Staff from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Transportation and fellow MSWP representatives to outline a 2020 Work Plan, including strategies and plans for work groups on topics like communications, funding, and data and information sharing. Our Future West Staff member is helping to facilitate the execution of this Work Plan.
- Following the Summit, a Future West staff was named as a representative of the Planning And Implementation Team, alongside two fellow MSWP members to join Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Transportation in carrying out the recommendations of the Summit. The Final Summit Report (2019) which shares key takeaways and recommendations that the Planning And Implementation Team will carry out is available here: https://www.mdt.mt.gov/other/webdata/external/planning/mwt/MWTS-Report.pdf
- In 2018, Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage was proud to partner with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Montana Department of Transportation, the Office of the Montana Governor and the Western Transportation Institute to plan and host Montana’s first wildlife transportation summit. The purpose of the Montana Wildlife and Transportation Summit was to bring together stakeholders to share information and develop strategies to plan and implement wildlife accommodations; reduce animal-vehicle collisions; and protect wildlife and their movement corridors across state highways.
- A unique opportunity presented itself in 2013 when the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) asked for input on their Paradise Valley Corridor Planning Study on US 89 from Gardiner to Livingston. Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage, which is a stakeholder in the project, is working with MDT to integrate wildlife and safety considerations into the study.
- On April 5, 2013, Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage submitted a comment letter on the Montana Department of Transportation 2013-2017 State Transportation Improvement Program, or STIP. Our comments integrated important wildlife movement areas with tentative construction projects (see below).
MSWP continues to serve as an effective community-based voice for safe passage of people and wildlife on Montana’s roadways. MSWP has been successful in gaining support around its founding priorities which include: 1) integrating wildlife considerations early in the planning process, and 2) increasing the amount of wildlife friendly fencing on Montana’s roads as one step towards improving connectivity.
Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Defenders of Wildlife, Craighead Institute, National Wildlife Federation, Adventure Scientists, Greater Yellowstone Coalition, YERC, Montana Wildlife Federation, and citizen volunteers.