Wildlife overpasses, underpasses, and systems that alert drivers to animals on the road are mitigation measures proven to greatly reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, a win-win for human safety and wildlife connectivity. Through this study, we’ve provided decision support for answering the crucial question of where to mitigate roads in the U.S. Northern Rockies to benefit both wildlife and people.
With guidance from partners in state departments of transportation and wildlife management, as well as the Western Transportation Institute, we created an index of road risk to wildlife based on roadside carcass data. We then overlaid this index on wildlife corridors identified by the Western Governors’ Association to understand how risk and connectivity values align. We found that high-risk road segments tend to have low connectivity value. Carnivores did, however, tend to be killed closer to road-corridor intersections than other species.
We identified four alternative sets of potential priority sites for mitigating road impacts on wildlife that together capture the unique perspectives of diverse stakeholder groups, including departments of transportation, land and wildlife managers, citizen groups, and conservation practitioners. We also detail specific roles that diverse stakeholders can play in the mitigation process, and highlight opportunities for each to engage in transportation planning.
By clicking on our Webinar link at right, “Where People and Wildlife Intersect”, you will get an overview of the project and an introduction to the web map tool. By clicking on the Web Map Tool link at right, you can explore patterns in risk and connectivity values across the study area or a site of interest, or download data from this project.