By Tyler Dungannon, Conservation Coordinator
The Southern Oregon Wildlife Crossing Coalition (SWOCC), of which OHA is a member, has made leaps and bounds of late, and has likely garnered the needed contributions to fund a $125,000 feasibility study for a sorely needed wildlife crossing structure on Interstate 5 south of Ashland.
Feasibility studies are the first major step in implementing wildlife underpasses and overpasses, and this group has acquired the needed funding in short order.
SOWCC has recently received OWEB staff’s recommendation for full funding of its OWEB Technical Assistance grant of $52,000. If the OWEB Board follows staff recommendations and vote to approve at its April meeting, this puts the group at 99 percent of the $125,000 goal for a feasibility study with the Samara Group.
SOWCC also received a $20,000 grant from the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Fund, while other contributions (including Rogue Valley OHA, who has pledged $5,000) have helped fill the needed funding gap.
The coalition includes representatives from OHA, ODOT, ODFW, BLM, Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Oregon Wildlife Foundation, Southern Oregon University, and several local groups interested in natural resources and outdoor recreation.