Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament and colleagues in the MSU Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences will have an article published in the Spring 2017 edition of Native Plants Journal. “Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho” documents their field study to evaluate the success of sustainable roadside revegetation strategies on 16 sites in Idaho.
Citation: Ament, R., Pokorny, M., Mangold, J., and Orloff, N. (2017). Native plants for roadside revegetation in Idaho. Native Plants Journal, vol 8 (1): pp 4-19.
Vox Media has produced a new video about wildlife crossing structures, which it released to its news website Vox.com last week. “Wildlife crossings stop roadkill. Why aren’t there more?” is a six-minute video that introduces why wildlife crossings are needed, how they work, where they are currently used, and how effective they are. Much of the foundational information and data about wildlife vehicle collisions is attributed to the 2008 National Wildlife Vehicle Collision Reduction Study and Report to Congress, which was authored by WTI’s Marcel Huijser, Pat McGowen, Tony Clevenger, Rob Ament, and additional researchers from the WTI Road Ecology program. Also, Tony Clevenger is interviewed on-camera in the video about the successful wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park. The video is available to view on the vox.com website.
Dr. Nicholas Ward answers questions for abc2 TV during the Governor’s Conference on Highway Safety in Appleton, Wi. Specifically he discusses the importance of Safety Culture as a tool to reduce traffic related crashes and fatalities. The whole interview can be seen here.
Interested in Road Safety Culture? For an introductory video, watch this video created by the National Center for Rural Road Safety.
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.
In a recent article, the Wall Street Journal interviewed WTI Research Ecologist Marcel Huijser about the wildlife crossing structures on U.S. 93 in Montana, and how roadkill numbers for large mammals have dropped by as much as 80% near highway sections served by these crossings. “Wildlife Crossings Get a Whole New Look” highlights WTI’s evaluation of the U.S. 93 crossing structures, and includes one of Marcel’s photos. The article also describes other recent and planned crossing structures in Wyoming, Washington, California and Louisiana. Read the whole article on the WSJ website.
WTI Research Scientist Matt Blank has been on the road this spring, presenting findings of fish passage research at several leading conferences. Along with his colleagues from the MSU Ecohydraulics Research Group and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, he was invited to speak at both the Annual Meeting of the Western Division of the American Fisheries in May, and at the International Conference on Engineering and Ecohydrology for Fish Passage in June. Topics for these presentations included:
· A Baseline Swimming Assessment for Arctic Grayling: Characterizing the Volitional Swimming Performance of Arctic Grayling to Inform Passage Studies
· Arctic Grayling and Denil Fishways: A Study to Determine How Water Depth Affects Passage Success of Arctic Grayling through Denil Fishways
· Swimming Performance of Sauger in Relation to Fish Passage
The research team conducts studies at MSU, at the Bozeman Fish Technology Center, and in the field. Their studies explore how irrigation installations, flow management structures, and other infrastructure serve to prevent, limit, and allow successful fish passage for various species. The findings can inform design improvements and conservation efforts for species of concern.
In a recent press release, MSU describes CHAPTA, a proposed WTI program to study how to safely integrate driverless technology into the nation’s trucking fleet.
View the article: http://www.montana.edu/news/16951/msu-s-wti-launches-program-to-study-safe-integration-of-semi-autonomous-trucks
Visit the CHAPTA web page: http://wti-truckplatoon.org
A WTI project on developing viable transit options in Wyoming is the subject of a feature article in the Spring 2017 issue of Rural Connections Magazine. David Kack, Jaydeep Chaudhari, and Taylor Lonsdale authored “Exploring Transit Feasibility in Park County, Wyoming,” which highlighted their collaboration with the Powell Economic Partnership, Inc. and the Forward Cody, Inc. to identify transportation alternatives that nurture economic development and expand job opportunities for residents. The full article is available to read here
Craig Shankwitz spoke to the Montana Traffic Educators Association conference in Great Falls, Montana last week, delivering a presentation on emerging vehicle technologies. In his remarks, he stated that the connected vehicle technologies are more likely to be widely deployed before autonomous (or driverless) vehicles. Connected vehicles communicate to other vehicles or to roadside infrastructure, which enables important updates and alerts about safety, traffic, or road conditions that can be sent directly to one’s car. Craig’s presentation was featured in a TV news story in Great Falls.
Start spreading the news… Recently, the New York Times published a feature article titled “Omaha’s Answer to Potholes? Go Back to Gravel Roads,”describing cities that are choosing to maintain low usage streets in disrepair by converting them back to gravel roads as a lower-cost alternative to repaving. The article cites the NCHRP study on unpaved roads authored by WTI Program Manager Laura Fay, which documented similar conversions in 27 states across the country, as well as best practices for this type of road project.