Vail, CO to install emergency fencing to help bighorn sheep

Vail, CO to install emergency fencing to help bighorn sheep

Photo credit: Dreamstime

In Vail, Colorado, the safety of its resident bighorn sheep herd is a chief concern. The animals are attracted to Interstate 70 due to the saltiness of the de-icer used upon the highway, resulting in three bighorn sheep-vehicle collisions in East Vail over the past few months. But town officials have a solution: installing “temporary fencing along the north side of the North Frontage Road” to keep bighorn sheep away from the busy highway, Vail Daily reports

Town officials have turned to Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) to help install the fencing.

While not the perfect solution, for this specific area, it makes the most sense. District Wildlife Manager Devin Duval told Vail Daily “that typically wildlife fencing is discouraged unless the fencing can be installed permanently with no breaks.” It also must be 8’ high “to prevent animals from jumping over it, and run the entire length of the town, similar to the I-70 highway fencing west of Vail.”  

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Since the East Vail/Gore Range bighorn sheep herd habitually visits I-70 because of the magnesium chloride, CPW and the town have decided this is a necessary emergency measure. According to the Vail Daily, the fencing will be installed “from the East Vail Interchange along the north side of the North Frontage Road west to Katsos Road” and the town is currently obtaining permits to do so. They plan to begin construction as soon as possible and leave the temporary fencing up through the end of June. 

A map of the proposed fence line to keep the East Vail bighorn herd from accessing roadways.

A map of the proposed fence line to keep the East Vail bighorn herd from accessing roadways.

The total cost of the project is $18,000, which the town plans to pay. Strategic Fence & Co. has been contracted to complete the job. This is only a temporary fix and, going forward, the town plans to identify other solutions with the help of CPW.

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