Collaborative effort to raise private funds for the purchase of the first wildlife underpass is launched

Mule Deer Foundation and Conservation Northwest with support from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation are together raising and contributing over $300,000 for “seed money” to purchase the first wildlife underpass on Highway 97 between Riverside and Tonasket. Protecting this critical mule deer migratory path while avoiding potentially fatal vehicle accidents is a top priority for all three organizations.   With Washington State Department of Transportation supplying the design, know-how, and eventual installation, this funding drive is gaining momentum!

Yakima, Spokane, Mt Vernon, Ellensburg and Wenatchee Mule Deer Foundation Chapters have donated over $20,308 to this cause.  Okanogan Trails, the lead MDF Chapter for this project has donated $12,000.   These are hard earned dollars primarily coming from members contributions at each chapter’s  annual banquets & auctions. It is hoped that these donations along with contributions  from Back Country Hunters and Anglers and private citizens will be matched by Mule Deer Foundation National Office funds.

Conservation Northwest has launched an Okanogan Wildlife Crossings Campaign online fundraising effort, where citizens across the state can make a donation large or small towards our overall fundraising goal.  Join our effort and make a donation today for safer passage!

Collaboratively our partners aim to use this successfully expression of diverse community support for the purchase of the first wildlife underpass structure to jointly make a funding request with all project supporters to the Washington State Legislature next legislative session to leverage these private funds with public support for the necessary funding to complete the first 4-mile phase of creating safer passage on this stretch of highway.  The first phase will include three underpasses, fencing and cattle-guards and is ready to begin as early as spring 2020 if funds are available. Once completed the first phase is expected to cut auto/deer accidents by over 50% over the entire 12 miles.  Future phases will address the remaining problem areas.

This effort is a great example of what we all can accomplish when we join our voices and efforts together for a good cause.   Help us meet our $300,000 fundraising goal by learning more and donating online today towards the first wildlife underpass!

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