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US-395 Project

deer using the US-395 underpass

Objective: Enhance connectivity and reduce-wildlife vehicle collisions along the section of Highway 395 extending from the NV-CA border (near Reno, NV) to Honey Lake (South of Susanville, CA).


Partners: Caltrans, CA Department of Fish and Wildlife, Nevada Department of Transportation, Nevada Department of Wildlife, and Washoe Tribe

Need: Roadways are a major cause of wildlife deaths in California, and a major contributor to the decline of wildlife populations that become isolated by habitat fragmentation and lose connectivity throughout their range.  Collisions on state roads threaten a wide range of wildlife species—from deer and bears to snakes and salamanders.

Coyote using the US-395 underpass

Improving wildlife habitat connectivity across roads is highly effective at reducing wildlife collisions, reducing the impacts of roads on imperiled species, improving climate change resilience by facilitating migration, and making roads safer for people.

Wildlife crossings can improve wildlife movement while reducing dangerous wildlife-vehicle collisions by up to 100%.  Properly sited and designed wildlife crossings can save costs and provide net financial benefits far beyond the costs of construction.

The section of Highway 395 that runs from the CA-NV border to Honey Lake has a high occurrence of wildlife-vehicle collisions and impedes important wildlife movement for mountain lion, bear, pronghorn, badger and bisects known deer migration corridors. Black bears, mountain lions, badgers, bobcats, elk, and other ungulate species could benefit from wildlife passage features in this region.

The project area includes identified CDFW 2020 Wildlife Movement Barrier Priorities W002 and W017 in Region 3 has a high occurrence of wildlife-vehicle collisions, is nearby the estimated range of the Beckwourth and Lassen Wolf Packs, and bisects known migration routes for Doyle and Loyalton herds. Consequently, CDFW identified the project area as one of five priority locations identified in California’s 2020 Action Plan developed pursuant to DOI Secretarial Order 3362.

US-395 region

The project area is important for regional and climate connectivity. The California Essential Habitat Connectivity Project identified the project area as an “essential connectivity area,” preservation of which would contribute to the State’s state conservation priority in achieving its 30x30 goal because it would improve habitat connectivity that builds the resilience of species and habitats by facilitating plant and animal migration and gene flow (Pathways to 30x30 Report at 17.).

US-395 project work
US-395 bobcats

Background: Highway 395 currently has three wildlife underpasses, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has installed directional wildlife fencing on portions of and intends to install additional fencing in 2022 near the California/Nevada State Border.

In November 2021, Wildlands Network initiated a study, conducted by Pathways for Wildlife and in partnership with CDFW, Caltrans, NDOW, and NDOT, to identify key movement corridors across the highway; collect roadkill data, and document safe passage opportunities for wildlife by monitoring bridges and culverts to build upon the existing work that has been done. The study has documented numerous species using the corridor, including mountain lions, black bear, badger, mule deer, coyote, and bobcat.

US-395 bears
2023-04-07_0712 395 Site 10 PM 11.4 SB puma mom with 2 cubs
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The planning study will utilize data collected to optimize potentially suitable locations for wildlife connectivity enhancements such as a wildlife overpass, directional fencing, and culvert retrofits to provide safe passages for wildlife movement across the highway and reconnect the Sierra Nevada to the West to the low-lying sagebrush of Nevada.


Check out our story map.

Watch our ICOET Presentation 2021

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