Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe, Washington


More than a dozen elk from the Sequim-area herd have been hit on U.S. 101 in the past six years - despite the black-and-yellow wildlife-warning signs along the road. So state and tribal biologists came up with a new approach, special collars that trigger flashing lights on roadside signs when the animals come within a quarter mile of the sensor. Eight animals were outfitted with the special collars last summer. On May 25, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife demonstrated the first of six flashing signs being installed in the area this summer by the state Department of Transportation. Shelly Ament, the state wildlife biologist who came up with the idea, hopes the flashing signs won't create traffic jams. "I hope they don't slow down to the point that they are actively looking" for elk, she said. The experimental program, perhaps unique in the nation, is financed by a federal grant. The tribe covers the cost of electricity to power one of the signs. Cougars and hunting closures have pushed the elk herd from its normal range south of Sequim into more heavily populated areas. The state planted forage areas with grass and clover, hoping to entice the animals away from highways and homes.