WTI has completed the final report for “Wildlife Mitigation Opportunities along U.S. Hwy 2, Northwestern Montana,” a project sponsored by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative. Authored by Marcel Huijser and James Begley, this report explores wildlife issues along U.S. Highway 2 between the Idaho/Montana border and Kalispell. It details the identification and prioritization process of hotspots for wildlife-vehicle collisions based on crash and carcass removal data. In addition, the report lists road sections that may be of special concern to biological conservation based on carcass removal data for rare, threatened or endangered species and important wildlife habitat. The project and report can be viewed here.
The Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting included a feature article on the effectiveness of wildlife crossing structures or “animal bridges” for reducing the number of collisions between vehicles and large animals. The article highlights WTI’s current project on U.S. 93 in Montana to install 41 crossing structures along 56 miles of highway. WTI researcher Pat McGowen is quoted in the article, which you can read here.
The Idaho Transportation Department announced that it has started a project in partnership with WTI to test a wildlife detection system on U.S. 95 in northern Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar sensor to detect large animals on both sides of the road. It activates flashing warning beacons to alert drivers if animals are on or near the road. WTI will evaluate the performance of the system at a highway “hot spot” where there is a history of collisions with wildlife. The ITD press release contains more details and links to photos.
The completed project can be viewed here.
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration and Montana Department of Transportation have awarded $167,000 to improve crossings on the West Side Trail in Bozeman, Montana; the trail connects Bozeman Pond Park to Gallatin County Regional Park. The project is a joint effort by the City of Bozeman, Gallatin Valley Land Trust (GVLT), and Western Transportation Institute. Construction of the safety improvements is expected to begin in 2017. An article in the Bozeman Daily Chronicle provides additional details.