Wildlife crossings are finally catching on all over the world: It looks like Mexico might take a major step in support of these common-sense infrastructures.
Congressman Germán Ralis (Movimiento Ciudadano – Jalisco) has introduced a bill to amend Mexico’s Roads, Bridges and Federal Auto-transport Law so that wildlife crossings become mandatory for new roads. It also gives Transportation Authorities the mandate of building new wildlife crossings on old roads.
The bill could be huge win for wildlife, as it would allow the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (SCT) to channel significant resources toward identifying and addressing priority intersections between wildlife corridors and federal highways, of which there are over 38,000 miles in Mexico.
Congressman Ralis also addressed the particular issue of designing wildlife crossings in Mexico, a topographically and ecologically diverse country where wildlife crossings will need to have many different designs to serve wildlife, ranging from jaguars, spider-monkeys and tapir, to black bears, wolves and pronghorn. The Congressman introduced a motion to have congress call on SCT to produce a nation-wide regulatory standard for wildlife crossings. While congressional requests are not binding, they do carry significant weight to get things moving in the right direction.
Mexico is already taking steps to ensure habitat connectivity through the establishment of wildlife crossings, an effort we’re leading in the borderlands of Sonora, through collaborations with SCT. These efforts have resulted in modified routes and the identification of priority locations for new wildlife-friendly infrastructure.
The bill is coming to a vote, and the law is under review by the Transportation Committee in Mexico’s lower chamber. If approved there, it will go to the Senate for review and might be passed into law before May, as the Legislature will close at the end of April for the upcoming election on July 1st.
If it passes, 2019 might be a bright year for wildlife connectivity in Mexico.
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