Target: Director of California Department of Transportation Malcolm Dougherty
Goal: Build highway overpass to protect vulnerable mountain lions.
Mountain lions are currently at risk in California because their territories are limited and partitioned by highways and similar developments built by humans. These vulnerable creatures would be much safer if the state decides to erect a protected bridge over the 101 Freeway. A recent study from the California Department of Transportation has concluded that construction of this wildlife overpass is economically feasible; therefore, the state of California has no excuse not to build this critically important structure and preserve the state’s dwindling mountain lion population.
Since the National Park Service started documenting mountain lions in the Santa Monica Mountains, motorists have struck and killed a dozen of the cats, including one kill in the area where the proposed bridge would be built. While this number may seem small, the mountain lion population is dangerously low, and every life lost represents a damaging blow to the species’ survival in California. Scientists have suggested placing the overpass in the Liberty Canyon area because the freeway is already surrounded on both sides by large patches of land that enjoy protection from development and hunting.
The project has already won supporters in local government. “It’s critically important to provide a safe crossing over the busy 101 Freeway for wildlife,” said State Senator Fran Pavley (D-Agoura Hills). The Department of Transportation will soon start drafting the required environmental documentation for the proposal, and now is the time to voice your support for this worthy endeavor.
Dear Director Dougherty,
I strongly support your department’s attempts to construct a wildlife crossing in the Liberty Canyon area on the 101 freeway. Wildlife in the area, especially mountain lions, face life-threatening danger every time they must cross freeways that interrupt their habitat. The proposed overpass will not only protect the mountain lion population but also it will make the highway safer for motorists, who will no longer need to worry about a possible collision or encounter with large animals.
The mountain lion population in California is dangerously low, and these vulnerable creatures need the support of local governments, departments, and organizations if they are to survive and thrive. Your department’s report on the economic feasibility of the overpass is a promising first step, and I urge you to continue your efforts. Please provide funding for the creation of this bridge so that all wildlife can safely navigate your state’s numerous highways.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Tony Hisgett