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Best Practices Manual: Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study

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Potential funding sources for wildlife-vehicle collision reduction projects and research include a mix of traditional transportation programs and agencies and new non-transportation partners. Reducing WVCs can have benefits beyond safety, including reduced wildlife mortality, protection of threatened or endangered species, improved habitat connectivity, and reduced maintenance costs for carcass removal. Since these benefits reach beyond transportation safety, WVC mitigation has the potential for developing new sources of funding from non-transportation partners.


Traditional Federal funding sources for WVC mitigation activities originate with the Safe Accountable Flexible Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU, U.S. Public Law 109-59 2005). Pertinent programs that could support wildlife-vehicle collision reduction planning, projects or research that are funded by SAFETEA-LU are summarized in table 10.

Table 10: SAFETEA-LU Funding Sources

Funding Source Amount (2005-2009) Notes
Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) $5.1 bill. This program has $90 million set aside each year for high-risk rural roads (WVCs are commonly a rural challenge). To be eligible for these funds, WVC mitigation projects need to be part of a State's Strategic Highway Safety Plan.
Bridge $21.6 bill. Bridge projects can provide an opportunity, with limited wildlife exclusion fencing and a limited extension to the length of a bridge, to funnel wildlife under the bridge, removing the hazard from the roadway.
Interstate Maintenance, Surface Transportation, National Highway Programs. $25.2 bill.
$32.5 bill.
$30.5 bill.
Incorporate WVC mitigations within reconstruction and maintenance projects that are funded by these programs
Planning, Environment, and Realty (HEP) Programs Numerous sources Other Federal transportation resources for WVC mitigation can be found in Department of Transportation agencies and programs. A list of programs funding environmental activities is on its web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/index.htm (accessed 6 June 2008).
Public Lands Highways Discretionary Program In 2006, 77 projects designated to receive $95.2 mill. This program is authorized to fund projects on an annual basis in 11 western States that contain at least 3 percent of the total public land in the United States. See web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/discretionary/ (accessed 6 June 2008).
Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program (STEP) $67.5 mill. STEP is the sole source of funds for all FHWA research on planning and environmental issues. One environmental emphasis area called Natural Environment includes wildlife habitat. The FHWA will provide ongoing opportunities for funding collaborative research. See web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/step/step.htm (accessed 6 June 2008).
Technology Deployment Program $4.1 mill. Administered by FHWA, this program includes the Innovative Bridge Research and Deployment Program, which is intended to promote, demonstrate, evaluate and document innovative designs, materials, and construction methods of bridges and other highway structures.
Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP) Part of the Surface Transportation Program TEP funds transportation-related projects designed to strengthen the cultural, aesthetic, and environmental aspects of the U.S. intermodal transportation system, offering communities additional non-traditional transportation choices. See web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/te/ (accessed 6 June 2008).
Federal Lands Highway Program (FLHP) $893 mill. The primary purpose is to provide funding for a coordinated program of public roads to serve the transportation needs of Federal lands that are not a State or local government responsibility. This program contains five categories: Indian Reservation Roads, Park Roads and Parkways, Forest Highways, Public Lands Highways and Refuge Roads. The FLHP roads serve recreational travel and tourism, protect and enhance natural resources, provide sustained economic development in rural areas, and provide needed transportation access for Native Americans. See web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/flh/flhprog.asp (accessed 6 June 2008).
Coordinated Federal Lands Highway Technology Implementation Program (CTIP) Numerous Sources This is a cooperative technology deployment and sharing program between the FHWA Federal Lands Highway office and Federal land management agencies. It provides a forum for identifying, studying, documenting, and transferring new technology to the transportation community. Many new innovative technologies, such as measures allowing fish passage through culverts, have been funded through the CTIP program. CTIP funds are normally used for technology projects related to transportation networks on Federal public lands. Research projects are not eligible under this program. See web site at: http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/flh/ctip.htm (accessed 6 June 2008).
Federal Transit Administration $45.3 bill. This has a grant program for funding for transit-related planning and other projects. See web site at: http://www.fta.dot.gov/grants_financing.html (accessed 6 June 2008).
State and Community Highway Safety Program Variable Administered by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, this program provides grants for the States, Federally recognized Indian tribes, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Marianas, and the Virgin Islands. See web site at: http://www.federalgrantswire.com/state_and_community_highway_safety.html (accessed 6 June 2008).

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Another Federal resource for funding WVC projects is the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) which administers a variety of natural resource assistance grants to government agencies, public and private organizations, groups and individuals. Links to information about available grants can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants/ (accessed 6 June 2008).

Twenty Natural Resource Assistance Grant Programs for State agencies are administered by the FWS. Several of these programs are for wildlife protection and restoration; more information is available at: http://www.fws.gov/grants/state.html (accessed 6 June 2008).

One such program is the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund (Section 6) Grants to States and Territories, which is designed to provide financial assistance to States and Territories to participate in a wide array of voluntary conservation projects for candidate, proposed and listed species. More information is available at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/grants/S6_grants.html (accessed 6 June 2008).

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While transportation infrastructure is generally financed through a combination of local, State, and Federal funds, private philanthropy can be productive by applying resources to research, education, outreach, and advocacy efforts that help leverage or match public funds. Most private foundation philanthropy is focused on giving to non-profit organizations organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Thus, for WVC mitigation projects to receive private funding, it is incumbent on Federal and State transportation agencies to collaborate with non-profit organizations.

A report in 2004 to the Henry P. Kendall Foundation, "Highway Funding for Nature: A Major Conservation Opportunity?" by Charles C. Chester, has a page of private grant-makers interested in road ecology issues and projects. The report is available at: http://www.kendall.org/publications/reports/Highways.pdf (accessed 6 June 2008).

A web-based entity that facilitates the funding of smart growth and other related transportation initiatives is the Funders' Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities. It has a search engine for grant seekers at its web site: http://www.fundersnetwork.org/info-url_nocat2778/info-url_nocat_list.asp?attrib_id=2909 (accessed 6 June 2008).

The Foundation Center has an extensive directory of private philanthropic and grant-making foundations that could support WVC projects and research. The center's web site is at: http://foundationcenter.org/ (accessed 6 June 2008). Extended search engines can be accessed for a fee.

7.3.1. Innovative Funding Developments: Software Tools

The fee-based fundraising software program BigDataBase.com lists 20,000 of the top private foundations in the United States. A search using the keyword "transportation" lists 190 private U.S. foundations. A search using the keywords "transportation" and "wildlife" lists 44 private foundations. Big Data Base is at: http://www.bigdatabase.com (accessed 6 June 2008).

7.3.2. Private Foundations for Federal Agency Purposes

The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a private, non-profit, tax-exempt organization, established by Congress in 1984 and dedicated to the conservation of fish, wildlife, and plants, and the habitat on which they depend. The foundation meets its goals by creating partnerships between the public and private sectors and strategically invests in conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. It awards matching grants to projects benefiting conservation education, habitat protection and restoration, and natural resource management. Information on this foundation is available at: http://www.nfwf.org/ (accessed 6 June 2008).

The National Park Foundation has helped to fund important conservation, preservation and education efforts. The National Park Foundation grants over $31 million annually in cash, services or in-kind donations to the National Park Service and its partners. Grants range from small "seed" or start-up funding to larger, multi-year projects. Its web site is at: http://www.nationalparks.org/about/ (accessed 6 June 2008). Individual national parks may also enjoy the assistance of a local foundation developed for their benefit, such as the Yellowstone Park Foundation or Grand Teton National Park Foundation. Other parks have subsidiaries of the National Park Foundation (for example, the Glacier Fund of Glacier National Park).

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Thousands of U.S. corporations have a long history of philanthropy and many have established their own foundations to facilitate their charitable efforts. They also have programs that match employee contributions, provide in-kind gifts or provide volunteers for projects. Local WVC projects may be eligible to receive support from corporate conservation, environmental, or community programs.

An excellent resource for information on corporate philanthropy is the National Directory of Corporate Giving (New York: The Foundation Center). It describes the charitable activities of 2,586 major U.S. corporate foundations and 1,468 direct-giving programs. Entries include the company's name, address, affiliates, subsidiaries (if any), amount and range of grants, and types of non-cash support such as staff time and products.

An on-line search for corporate funding is available at Fundsnet Services Online. It is free at http://www.fundsnetservices.com/ (accessed 6 June 2008) and lists both corporate and private foundation programs with links to their web sites.

Similarly, the Foundation Center (previously mentioned) has a corporate funding section. It can be found at http://www.foundationcenter.org/ (accessed 6 June 2008). The search engine on this web site is fee-based.

The fee-based fundraising software program at http://www.bigdatabase.com (previously mentioned) lists the 500 largest corporations in the United States. A search using the keyword "transportation" lists 43 companies. A search using the keywords "transportation" and "environment" lists 24 companies.

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For the first time in a citizen-led ballot measure, voters in Pima County, Arizona, approved funding for wildlife crossing structures. A $2 billion transportation plan, funded by a 1/2-cent sales tax, includes an unprecedented $45 million dollars to specifically fund wildlife crossing structures. The plan and tax were overwhelmingly supported by voters on May 16, 2006.According to County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry, "Investment in conservation and transportation are not mutually exclusive. With this funding vast landscapes can be reconnected, improving wildlife movement through the region and making roadways safer for both animals and people. " The "critical landscape linkages" funding will be overseen by a team of non-government agencies and agency biologists and transportation officials from the region's various jurisdictions. The team will identify, evaluate and prioritize locations and design appropriate structures. Funding is available for design and construction of wildlife crossing improvements within future and existing roadways and highways, and will include improvements such as expanded culverts or underpasses, overpasses, fencing and signage.

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Questions and feedback should be directed to Marlys Osterhues (marlys.osterhues@dot.gov, 202-366-2052).

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