February 4, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Newsom Proposes Spending an Additional $50 Million for Wildlife Crossings

Announcement comes as world’s largest wildlife crossing breaks ground in Agoura Hills

By Sam Catanzaro

Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend an additional $50 million to fund wildlife crossings in California, including $10 million for the world’s largest wildlife overpass in LA County. This announcement comes at the same time a mountain lion was killed by a vehicle on the 405 Freeway in Brentwood. 

Last Friday, Newsom attended a groundbreaking at the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing over the 101 Freeway Agoura Hills, The state has already approved $58 million in funding for the bridge which, when complete, will allow animals to roam between two areas of habitat to curtail inbreeding. Now, Newsom is proposing spending an additional $50 million for wildlife crossings across the state, including $10 million more for the Wallis Annenberg crossing. In 2021, the state spent $105 million on wildlife crossings. 

The crossing is named for the Annenberg Foundation, a major financial backer of the effort, donating $25 million, part of $34 million in private funds raised for the project.  In total, the bridge will cost $90 million.

Spanning 210 feet over 10 lanes of highway and pavement, the bridge will allow wildlife to cross a stretch of the 101 in Liberty Canyon, where around 300,000 cars travel each day. Officials say this crossing will increase connectivity over the most significant barrier to connecting the Santa Monica Mountains to other large natural areas. 

“This crossing is timely, considering our recent discovery of the first physical signs of inbreeding depression occurring in our isolated mountain lion population in the Santa Monica Mountains,” said Jeff Sikich, the lead field researcher on the mountain lion study. “Habitat fragmentation is the key challenge wildlife is facing here.” 

Since 1996, NPS biologists have researched carnivores and other local wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains and the surrounding region. The project began right in the Liberty Canyon area, with the tracking of bobcats and coyotes, and it expanded to include mountain lions in 2002. Overall, the research has focused on urbanization and habitat fragmentation in wildlife communities. 

From the beginning, it was clear that the 101 Freeway was a major barrier to movement, even for wide-ranging species like carnivores. Later, National Park Service and UCLA studies found that the barrier effect extended to gene flow. They found genetic differentiation because of urban development and roads for bobcats and coyotes, smaller, more abundant species such as western fence lizards, and even for a bird, the wrentit. 

The population in the Santa Monica Mountains has one of the lowest levels of genetic diversity in the state or across the west. More recently, biologists have begun to see the physical effects of that low genetic diversity, specifically kinks at the end of tails, a male with only one descended testicle, and poor sperm quality, documented through research conducted by scientists at UCLA. These were all common characteristics linked with inbreeding depression in mountain lions in Florida that nearly went extinct in the early 1990s.

The crossing is expected to be completed by early 2025.

in News
Related Posts

Four-Year-Old Mountain Lion P-81 Found Dead on PCH

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

P-81 found on Pacific Coast Highway near Las Posas Road On Sunday, January 22, the California Department of Fish and...

Rep. Lieu Secures $2.5 Million for Local Projects in Santa Monica

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Funding will go towards Santa Monica Behavioral Health Center and Ready to Succeed Scholarship program  By Sam Catanzaro ​​Congressman Ted...

Steve Marcy, Beloved Lincoln Middle School Teacher and Scoutmaster, Passes Away at 77

February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

Longtime Lincoln math teacher passes away  ​​Steve Marcy, beloved Lincoln Middle School teacher and Scoutmaster of Santa Monica Boy Scout...

California Referendum Postpones Controversial Fast Recovery Act That Would Increase Hourly Wages for Fast-Food Workers to $22

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

AB 257 would create a board of 11 appointees to negotiate on behalf of fast food workers in California Last...

Highly-Anticipated Downtown Santa Monica Restaurant Close to Opening

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Bar Monette close to opening at 109 Santa Monica Boulevard By Dolores Quintana Bar Monette is almost ready to open...

SMC Receives Grant to Expand Access to Critical Support Services for Foster Youth

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

New NextUp program will provide academic & comprehensive support, plus direct financial aid to foster youth enrolled at SMC Santa...

Find Inspiration in Moses Sparks’ Latest Collection of Tree Portraits in the Santa Monica Mountains

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

The exhibition and sale run from February 1st – 26th at the King Gillette Ranch Visitor Center  Internationally-acclaimed wildlife photographer,...

Pacific Park Joins The City Of Santa Monica To Recognize ‘Black History Month’ With Ferris Wheel Salute

February 1, 2023

February 1, 2023

Display of red, yellow and green colors, patterns and transitions beginning at sunset February 1 On Wednesday, February 1, the...

Girl Scout Cookie Season Returns to Los Angeles With New Cookie

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Cookie lovers throughout Greater Los Angeles can now support local Girl Scout entrepreneurs by ordering from the iconic lineup Girl...

Boris Allakhverdyan, Ben Hong and Talon Smith Unite in Santa Monica for Special Performance of Brahms’ Trio Op. 114

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Concert will take place on Sunday, February 5 The world-renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Principal Clarinet Boris Allakhverdyan and Associate Principal...

Metro’s Choice for Purple Line Muralist Sparks Veteran Concern

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Veterans concerned over disturbing painting by commissioned metro muralist at the purple line stop on the West L.A VA Soldiers...

Los Angeles Sees Increase in Kia and Hyundai Thefts Fueled by TikTok

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Social media platforms exacerbate vehicle thefts through security flaws Kia and Hyundai vehicles have become a major target for car...

Phil Brock Appointed to Serve on National League of Cities’ Public Safety and Crime Prevention Committee

January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

Brock will help shape NLC’s policy positions and advocate for America’s cities, towns and villages before Congress Santa Monica City...

SMMUSD Board Meeting Limited to In-Person Public Comment

January 30, 2023

January 30, 2023

Officials cite technical issues For the upcoming Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Board of Education meeting, public comment must be...

City Council Approves Plan to Close Santa Monica Airport by 2028

January 30, 2023

January 30, 2023

City will now be able to plan for the airport’s closure following January 24 meeting By Dolores Quintana The Santa...