Revised I-90 Wildlife Watch website shows the crossing structures are working

Two deer in the Gold Creek underpass within the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project. Photo credit: WSDOT

Today, public and private partners re-launched an updated wildlife-monitoring website aimed at getting feedback from motorists traveling on Interstate 90 over Snoqualmie Pass.

The site, I-90 Wildlife Watch, invites information from the 28,000 motorists that drive over Snoqualmie Pass each day. The information motorists provide will allow public agencies and conservation groups data about the movement of wildlife within the I-90 corridor. The area features newly completed and under-construction wildlife crossings, part of a major highway improvement effort, the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project, by the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT).

Our I-90 Wildlife Bridges Coalition originally launched the site in partnership with Western Transportation Institute in November 2010, and its revision is an evolution of how the partnerships and project have grown since then.

“We are proud to re-launch this website to expand opportunities for locals, visitors and other motorists to engage directly with wildlife conservation, monitoring, and education in the Snoqualmie Pass region,” said Jen Watkins, lead project coordinator for I-90 Wildlife Watch with Conservation Northwest.

“We are now both hearing from motorists on what they see from Interstate 90, and giving them a glimpse of how fish and wildlife are responding to the historic private and public conservation investments in this landscape, most notably new animal crossings under and over the interstate,” said Watkins.

Interstate 90 crosses the Cascades at Snoqualmie Pass, where traffic volumes average 28,000 vehicles per day and are increasing by approximately 2 percent per year. While I-90 is a vital east-west transportation corridor in the state, it also bisects a critical north-south wildlife corridor for wildlife moving throughout the Cascade Mountains and from the Alpine Lakes Wilderness and Mount Rainier National Park.

As part of the I-90 improvement project, WSDOT plans to build 24 wildlife crossing structures between Hyak and Easton to provide a safe roadway for both motorists and wildlife.

These structures range in size from enlarged culverts passing under the interstate to 150-foot vegetated bridges over the roadway. Construction on these crossings are underway. WSDOT has already completed two undercrossings near Hyak and is in the process of building the Keechelus Lake Wildlife Overcrossing, scheduled to be complete in 2019, over the roadway near Price Creek.

The wildlife crossing projects were long championed for inclusion in WSDOT’s project by local conservation, recreation and business organizations as a win-win for animals, motorists and the freight industry, including by our coalition.

“Each new phase of the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East Project brings us closer to our goal of minimizing the impact of the highway on the landscape. The project would not be possible without the support of the public and our partners,” stated Mark Norman, WSDOT biologist. The website provides a great opportunity to make connections with those groups. Together we will make I-90 safer for wildlife and motorists for generations to come.”

The revised I-90 Wildlife Watch website will continue seeking reports from motorists on the live and dead wildlife they see as they drive I-90 from North Bend to Easton.  The site is now sharing results of wildlife monitoring throughout the I-90 corridor. These results included successful, safe passage of wildlife, from families of ducks to herds of deer, through the completed wildlife undercrossings.

Take a look and keep re-visiting the website at www.i90wildlifewatch.org!

Comments are closed.