Wildlife Crossing on I-8, Imperial County
Our overflight examined a busy section of Interstate-8 in Imperial County with press, the Canto Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Wildlife Conservation Board, and Backcountry Hunters & Angler.
This area has high incidences of wildlife-vehicle collisions, a costly and deadly problem. From the air we examined how the highway bisects the Peninsular Mountain range which provides habitat for diverse species. The highway with its non-stop traffic slices through critical habitat, impeding important seasonal and daily movement of federally endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and other wildlife.
Flying above the I-8 Peninsula Bighorn Sheep Crossing Project area, we viewed an unusual 5-mile stretch, a terrestrial island, between the east and westbound lanes of the Interstate where the In Ko Pah Ewe group of sheep return every year to have their lambs. As traffic loads increase, Peninsular bighorn sheep will eventually lose the ability to cross I-8 to reach critical resources for their survival. The fragmentation has serious impacts on the health and viability of wildlife populations.
EcoFlight has flown for a multitude of wildlife crossing campaigns and projects including projects in the Roaring Fork Valley and Vail Pass in Colorado, in the northern Rockies on highways leading in and out of Yellowstone in Montana, and for the groundbreaking Wallis Annenberg bridge that is under construction.
Recognizing the urgency of protecting wildlife habitats and ensuring the safety of both wildlife and commuters, the California Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, California Chapter of the Wild Sheep Foundation, California Department of Fish & Wildlife, California Department of Transportation, California State Parks, the U.C. Davis Road Ecology Center, and Wildlands Network have partnered to advance efforts to connect habitats for a variety of wildlife. The collaborative effort promises to improve permeability and facilitate wildlife movement on the landscape. The groups are working to secure funding for I-8 Peninsula Bighorn Sheep Crossing Project to increase human safety and the safety of countless wildlife species like the endangered Peninsular bighorn sheep.
EcoFlight is pleased to provide you with these aerial photos, GoPro footage from your flight, and geo-referenced photos from your flight.