The Londoner, a news website out of London, Ontario cited WTI research in a story about the threats that highways pose to vulnerable wildlife. In “Highway Perils,” author Jenna Hunnef discusses the potential benefits of wildlife crossing structures: “Some may question the financial feasibility of such projects, but the numbers don’t lie: a 2008 report by the Western Transportation Institute estimates that the total annual cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions is over $8 billion in the United States alone.” Read the full article here.
Environmental Connection, the magazine of the International Erosion Control Association, published a feature article about Rob Ament’s wool research in its July 2017 issue. “Bullish for Wool: Using Wool in Erosion Control Blankets Shows Promising Results in Montana Study” summarizes the results of a project funded by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTTiCC). The goal of the field study was to conduct a side-by-side comparison of the performance of wool products with the performance of more commonly used roadside reclamation products (straw/coir ECBs and wood fiber compost). The woolen reclamation products developed for this project demonstrated notable results: all six types of wool erosion control blankets outperformed the control products. Since the project targeted the use of waste wool or other harvested fiber that is substandard or currently unmarketable, the use of this wool for erosion control offers both environmental and economic benefits.
Experimental plots along U.S. Highway 287 near Three Forks, Montana
Last week, the National Rural Transit Assistance Program (RTAP) highlighted a report by the Small Urban and Rural Livability Center (SURLC) in its online newsletter. The “Intercity Bus Stop Analysis,” authored by WTI’s Karalyn Clouser and David Kack, analyzed demographics in each of the forty-eight contiguous states, and provided an analysis of the number of rural and small urban communities that have access to the Greyhound intercity bus service network. RTAP described the publication as a resource that “should help state DOTs as they determine whether intercity bus service needs are being met in their states.” Read the RTAP newsletter here, or access the full Intercity Bus Stop Analysis on the SURLC website.
Using native plants for roadside revegetation is the lead story in the “Weed Post,” a monthly newsletter by the Montana State University Extension Office and the Montana Noxious Weed Education Campaign. The article describes successful research by Rob Ament (WTI), Monica Pokorny (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Noelle Orloff (MSU) and Jane Mangold (MSU), which demonstrated that establishing diverse, perennial plant communities on roadsides is a sustainable technique that helps to manage noxious weeds and other invasive plants. This project was funded by the Idaho Department of Transportation. You can read the full newsletter article here.