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101 Freeway Wildlife Crossing Gets A Major Boost From $25 Million Grant

An aerial rendering of the planned wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills shows a grassy overpass with cars below.
A rendering of the planned wildlife crossing over the 101 freeway in Agoura Hills.
(Courtesy Living Habitats LLC
/
National Wildlife Federation))
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A planned massive wildlife crossing over the 101 Freeway in the Liberty Canyon area of Agoura Hills is a step closer to happening.

The National Wildlife Federation announced Friday that philanthropist Wallis Annenberg and the Annenberg Foundation have made a $25 million conservation challenge grant to the federation's #SaveLACougars campaign to help break ground.

The idea of the “wildlife bridge” over the 101 is to allow endangered mountain lions and other animals that live in the Santa Monica Mountains, such as bobcats and mule deer, to safely cross the busy freeway without being hit by cars. Mountain lions are often struck and are killed while trying to cross local freeways as they seek a new place to live, find a mate, or escape wildfires.

With the new grant, the campaign has raised more than $44 million for the project; it will need to secure about $35 million more to ``"unlock" the challenge grant and allow groundbreaking on the bridge in November.

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This would be the first urban wildlife crossing of its scale, according to the National Wildlife Federation, spanning 210 feet over 10 freeway lanes, along with an access road. It’s being funded through private donations along with public support.

The federation thanked Annenberg in a statement, saying this is the largest grant it has received. "We hope this game-changing gift will inspire other philanthropists and public agencies to step up so we can ensure we break ground in November," said Beth Pratt, the National Wildlife Federation’s California regional executive director and leader of the #SaveLACougars campaign.