Kudos to Roger Sullivan for spotting this one. It is the first of a three-part series . . .
During a Nov. 17 hearing, Martha Williams answered dozens of questions you’d expect an incoming director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to field from the Congressional committee considering her nomination. After she spoke about a life “steeped in conservation,” the Maryland farm she grew up on and lessons she learned at the helm of Montana’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks Department, members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee grilled Williams about climate change, hunting on wildlife refuges and the USFWS-administered Endangered Species Act.
Then committee chair Tom Carper, D-Delaware, presented her with an unexpected question: How had Williams’ experience with wildlife crossings in Montana prepared her to help implement a $350 million federal pilot program that aims to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions and increase habitat connectivity?
Williams described the program, which was included in the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package Congress passed Nov. 5, as “a big moment … a long time coming.” Adding some levity to the conversation, she described a video of a person sleeping in a wildlife underpass on the Flathead Reservation, oblivious to a grizzly bear sauntering by. Then she circled back to the intersection of transportation and wildlife conservation.