Project Background

The Highway 3 transportation corridor, including land use and development adjacent to the highway, has been identified as a major challenge to maintaining wildlife connectivity at the northern edge of the Crown of the Continent. Highway 3 is a two-lane, east-west highway supporting 6,000 to 9,000 vehicles per day traveling over the Continental Divide at Crowsnest Pass in the southern Canadian Rockies. The current rate of wildlife-vehicle collisions involving large mammals along Highway 3 has raised concerns among agencies and the public regarding motorist safety. Although highway segments experiencing a high number of these collisions are predominantly found to involve deer, collisions also occur with less common species such as elk, moose, bighorn sheep, grizzly bear, wolf, lynx, bobcat and cougar.

To address the challenges of wildlife and connectivity the Miistakis Institute, Western Transportation Institute and Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative instigated the Highway 3 Transportation Corridor Project. The project has three phases;

1. At a Crossroads Workshop in Ferine, BC January 2008

2. Highway 3 Transportation Mitigation for Wildlife and
Connectivity Assessment

3. Highway 3 Project Outreach Activities

At a Crossroads Workshop in Fernie, B.C January 2009

Understanding wildlife use, behavior and habitat integrity along this transportation corridor is imperative for developing mitigation strategies to reduce transportation-wildlife conflicts and maintain habitat connectivity. Fortunately, there have been a number of research projects in the past decade that allow us to better understand how a variety of different wildlife use these landscapes (i.e., bighorn sheep, elk, grizzly bears). These include the identification of key linkages for several carnivores, including grizzly bears, which cross Highway 3 and the railroad. However, the studies were not developed to focus solely on the transportation corridor and its increasing use. Nor have all of the studies been synthesized to summarize their findings to inform local decision making. Lastly, most conservationists, community leaders and decision makers are unaware of the various findings and their implications for their local landscape and the Highway 3 transportation system. Therefore, scientists, agency personnel and conservationists gathered at a Highway 3 workshop in Fernie, British Columbia in January 2008 to share and discuss relevant and available knowledge on wildlife studies that may inform site-specific mitigation of Highway 3.

One recommendation from the workshop was for a sub-set of the attendees to complete a synthesis of the biological information relative to Highway 3 to inform an assessment of potential transportation mitigation sites and options.

A summary of the workshop findings and abstracts from the presentations can be found on the report page of this website.

Highway 3 Transportation Mitigation for Wildlife and Connectivity Assessment

A team of scientists with expertise in wildlife connectivity, wildlife vehicle collisions along Highway 3 and wildlife transportation mitigation strategies came together to:

  • identify mitigation sites along Highway 3 based on wildlife connectivity and high wildlife vehicle collision zones.
  • recommend a suite of mitigation strategies to facilitate wildlife movement and reduce wildlife vehicle collisions along Highway 3.
The syntheses, field assessments and recommendations described in the report reflect the best available understanding and options for direct mitigation of highway impacts to local populations of large terrestrial wildlife.

The report can be downloaded from the report page of this website.

Highway 3 Project Outreach Activities

The project is currently entering into the outreach phase. For more information on this phase please contact Dave Poulton


Partnering Organizations