World’s longest wildlife bridge could become reality across Mississippi River

A proposal to repurpose the bridge connecting Iowa and Illinois throughout the Mississippi River into a national park and wildlife crossing has obtained traction. Headed by the Bison Bridge Basis, the proposal seeks to flip the commuter bridge into a wildlife-crossing pathway, allowing the animals to roam freely in between Iowa and Illinois.

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The proposal, which was officially unveiled to the public on March 18, 2021, has already attracted above 27,000 signatures out of the 50,000 signatures desired. Supporters are lobbying locals to back the challenge in a bid to prevent the demolition of the bridge, alternatively repurposing it into the longest human-created wildlife bridge in the world.

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The Fred Schwengel Memorial Bridge on I-80 has served the residents of the Quad Metropolitan areas for above 55 many years now. It now serves thousands of autos each day, connecting 5 metropolitan areas adjacent to the river. Quad Towns is a 380,000-man or woman metropolitan spot that spans over the states of Iowa and Illinois on possibly facet of the Mississippi River. The 5 metropolitan areas that make up the spot contain Bettendorf, Davenport, Moline, East Moline and Rock Island.

Other than preserving the state of Illinois millions of bucks in demolition expenditures, repurposing it could draw travelers to the location. The resulting countrywide park would be the initial in both equally states.

The Bison Bridge, as the proposal is known, was very first instructed by a neighborhood conservationist and the president and founder of Dwelling Lands & Waters, Chad Pregracke. Pregracke is regarded for his efforts in conserving the Mississippi River. He spends months each and every calendar year dwelling on barges and cleaning up the river. Pregracke to start with proposed the plan four yrs in the past, and it was instantly cherished by the locals and is now remaining regarded by the Illinois authorities.

“It’s a amazing concept, a heck of a vision,” reported Kevin Marchek, who labored for more than 39 many years at the Illinois Division of Transportation. “We’ve just got to keep pushing this right up until it comes to fruition.”

According to the proposal, the bridge would be turned into a multipurpose crossing way, serving pedestrians, cyclists and motorists while at the identical time supplying a safe and sound pathway for wildlife. An enclosed bison paddock would allow for herds of significant wildlife to roam throughout the park amongst Iowa and Illinois.

Jason Baldes, member of the Eastern Shoshone Tribe and Tribal Partnerships – Tribal Bison Coordinator for the Nationwide Wildlife Federation, stated that the task would assistance restore overlooked American background.

“The bison was known as the lifestyle commissary for my grandmas and grandpas,” Baldes explained. “It was foods, outfits, shelter, and was also central to our cultural and spiritual belief systems. … It is not only critical to Indigenous American tribes, but it’s important to the American people today to at the very least have an prospect to discover about this heritage.”

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