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.
Rob Ament has just returned from a week long meeting in India hosted by the Science for Nature and People Partnership (SNAPP). India currently faces numerous wildlife protection challenges; for example, protected areas are often too small to support viable populations of wide-ranging species, such as elephants and tigers, especially if highways and other development severs habitat connectivity between protected areas. Rob was invited by the Landscape Connectivity in India Working Group to give a presentation and provide his expertise for the workshop, during which participants developed strategies to address the impact of transportation systems on ecological connectivity surrounding various protected areas in the region.
The workshop was held near Nagarhole National Park in the Western Ghats mountain range (a UNESCO World Heritage site) of southwest India. Rob shared these photos from his amazing wildlife viewing opportunity within the National Park.
Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament just returned from a week in the West African nation of Gabon. The World Bank Group invited Rob as an expert speaker for a special meeting of its Global Wildlife Program, which provides more than $130 million in grants to reduce human-wildlife conflicts. Representatives from 19 countries in Asia and Africa that will be receiving funds participated in the meeting. During the meeting, Gabon received notification that its projects were approved and will receive $9 million in funding. Rob gave a presentation on wildlife connectivity and how it is affected by various forms of transportation. He also discussed several specific efforts in which he is involved, including connectivity conservation initiatives by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and long range transportation efforts by the U.S. National Park Service and USFWS National Wildlife Refuges.
In its March newsletter, the Mountain States Chapter of the International Erosion Control Association highlighted the release of Rob Ament’s recent task reports on using woolen products for erosion control. “Evaluation of Effectivenss and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products” is a research partnership among the Montana Department of Transportation, WTI, and KC Harvey Environmental, LLC. The release of the reports was also announced by the Transportation Research Board’s Daily New Service. The task reports are available on the MDT website here.
The Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences has published the journal article “Swimming Performance of Sauger Sander Canadensis in Relation to Fish Passage” on its website. The article, authored by David Dockery, Thomas MaMahon, Kevin Kappenman, and Matt Blank, discusses research to study the swimming abilities of sauger, a migratory species, in order to inform the design of fish passage strutures and help prevent habitat fragmentation for this species. The research is a collaboration among WTI, the MSU Department of Ecology, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, the journal of the Ecological Society of America, has published “Scaling-up camera traps: monitoring the planet’s biodiversity with networks of remote sensors,” which was co-authored by Tony Clevenger of WTI’s Road Ecology program, and 15 colleagues from the United States and Canada. The article documents the growth of remote-camera technology in environmental conservation, and proposes that integrating systems of camera networks on a global scale has the potential to advance many international biodiversity and ecosystem preservation goals.
Robin Steenweg, Mark Hebblewhite, Roland Kays, Jorge Ahumada, Jason T Fisher, Cole Burton,Susan E Townsend, Chris Carbone, J Marcus Rowcliffe, Jesse Whittington, Jedediah Brodie, J Andrew Royle, Adam Switalski, Anthony P Clevenger, Nicole Heim, and Lindsey N Rich. Scaling-up camera traps: monitoring the planet’s biodiversity with networks of remote sensors. Frontiers in Ecolology and the Environment 2017; 15(1): 26–34, doi:10.1002/fee.1448.