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US 97 - North of Goldendale - Wildlife Habitat Connectivity - Complete April 2014

Project Status - Complete

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A lot of wildlife has been observed and photographed in the area where this project was built. More photos...

This project built a new bridge on US 97 over Butler Creek, nine miles north of Goldendale, and installed eight-foot fences to help guide wildlife to cross underneath the highway instead of running through traffic on US 97.

The crossing also improved fish passage in Butler Creek by removing a fish barrier culvert.

Why is WSDOT building this wildlife crossing?
The crossing serves two purposes: it reduced the number of animals crossing US 97 and provides 10 miles of additional habitat for fish.

Statewide, more than 1,100 wildlife/vehicle collisions are reported to the Washington State Patrol every year. This section of US 97 runs through an area with a robust wildlife population that includes elk, deer and bear.

The sheer number of animals crossing the highway meant more chances for wildlife/vehicle collisions.

Animals can also be deterred from crossing because of highway traffic, which affects the quality of local habitat.

Butler Creek provides habitat for steelhead and trout. During low water flow, such as in the summer, the culvert sits too high above the creek and fish can't swim through. During high water flow, the water velocity is too strong for fish to navigate.

The End Result
The chance for wildlife/vehicle collisions was reduced. Wildlife will have safer access to habitat on either side of US 97, and fish will have unrestricted access to upstream habitat.

How You Benefit
Cross GlyphImproves Safety
Fewer wildlife/vehicle collisions.
Car GlyphRelieves Congestion
Improved access to habitat for both wildlife and fish.

Partnerships & Cooperation
At WSDOT we seek to address the concerns of the tribal nations using the process outlined in Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the WSDOT Tribal Consultation Policy adopted in 2003 by the Transportation Commission as part of the WSDOT Centennial Accord Plan. This project did not impact any tribal resources since the work was entirely above ground on existing WSDOT right of way. For more information visit our WSDOT Tribal Liaison website.

WSDOT makes every effort to assess and minimize environmental impacts from our projects. A detailed analysis of the project’s environmental impacts was completed as part of the environmental documentation and environmental permitting processes. For environmental information specific to this project, please contact Barb Aberle at (360) 905-2186, or e-mail


2005 gas tax (TPA): $2.9 million
Total funding available: $2.9 million

Contact Us
Area Engineer Chris Tams
WSDOT Columbia Gorge Project Office
11018 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
Phone: 360-759-1310, or toll-free at 1-866-279-0730


Abbi Russell
WSDOT Communications
11018 NE 51st Circle
Vancouver, WA 98682
Phone: 360-905-2058

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