Our Wildlife Tunnel project on Highway 17 won’t just help wildlife here – it will help wildlife all across California. That’s because for this innovative project to be built, a state law had to be passed and two state agencies had to figure out how to do something they’d never done before.

The state law (SB 1) includes $30 million for “advanced mitigation strategies” for projects to protect wildlife. Once that passed, the California Transportation Commission approved $3.2 million for the design and engineering of the Highway 17 tunnel. The next step was for Caltrans and the Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW) to reach agreement on DFW giving mitigation credits to Caltrans on its projects. That agreement was reached last week. (Press release here.)

Our tunnel project is the pilot project for the whole process. We think that’s pretty cool.

Also cool: the pictures we get from our wildlife cameras around Laurel Curve – and on Star Creek. You can check them out here and you can walk where the wildlife walks by coming to our Star Creek Adventure day on June 4th. You have to be a member and you have to sign up here, but you can bring your friends. And did I mention the End of the Trail Pub? Free beer after your adventure.

Hope to see you there!

Stephen Slade is the Executive Director at Land Trust of Santa Cruz County. He has more than 40 years non-profit experience in fundraising, communications, and management – and a deep passion for the lands that make Santa Cruz special.

Find out more about Stephen Slade…