Highway 3 Transportation Corridor Project


The Highway 3 Transportation Corridor Project was developed to synthesis the science and prioritize wildlife movement and collision hotspots, and to recommend a suite of mitigation options for reducing wildlife vehicle collisions and maintaining wildlife movement.

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;

  • At a Crossroads Workshop in Ferine, BC January 2008
  • Highway 3 Transportation Mitigation for Wildlife and Connectivity Assessment
  • Outreach Component of Project

1. At a Crossroads Workshop in Ferine, BC January 2008
The workshop was designed to understand efforts to minimize and mitigate adverse road and rail impacts on wildlife populations and ecological connectivity, and to develop a better understanding of the various ongoing wildlife research projects in the region.
There were two key recommendations that developed from discussions at the workshop:
  • Agreement was reached by workshop participants to create a report that synthesizes existing research to identify key movement zones (focus on multi-species), rank the zones for conservation action and identify the most feasible transportation mitigation options and recommendations for each site.

  • Engagement of key transportation agencies responsible for wildlife and transportation planning in the region prior to report development is imperative to project success.

A workshop summary can be downloaded from the project website

2. 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 project website

3. Outreach Component of Project
We are currently working on the outreach phase of this project. Outreach includes a series of presentations and workshop aimed at transportation planners, agency personal and local communities in Alberta and BC.

More information on this project and reports can be downloaded from the project website,

This project was funded by: Alberta Ecotrust, Woodcock Foundation, Western Transportation Institute, Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Galvin Family Fund, Wilburforce Foundation, Calgary Foundation, Kayak Foundation and Anonymous Donor

2015 Update
After nine years, the local Crowsnest community is engaged and empowered, mitigation measures are beginning to be implemented at locations identified from local science, key areas in the corridor have been secured for conservation, and Alberta Transportation and Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development are actively working towards future solutions with the community. Recently, Alberta Transportation committed to funding the installation of fencing and jump outs to an existing underpass to prevent bighorn sheep mortality at Crowsnest lakes. This fence will be installed by the fall of 2015.

Two priority crossing sites for mitigation

Highway 3 Infographic

Highway Wilding Infographic

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