WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger has co-authored a journal article on the impacts of road expansion on cheetah populations. In June, the Journal for Nature Conservation will publish “Road expansion: A challenge to conservation of mammals, with particular emphasis on the endangered Asiatic cheetah in Iran.” The article summarizes a study to identify hotspot locations along an extremely high-risk road for mammals in northeast Iran (Touran Biosphere Reserve [TBR]) and proposes mitigation measures for mammals such as the Asiatic cheetah and Persian gazelles. The full article is currently available on the Science Direct website.
Citation: Mohammadi, A., Almasieh, K., Clevenger, A., Fatemizadeh, F., Rezaei, A., Jowkar, H., and Kaboli, M. (2018). Road expansion: A challenge to conservation of mammals, with particular emphasis on the endangered Asiatic cheetah in Iran. Journal for Nature Conservation. Volume 43 (June 2018): pp 8-18.
Research Scientist Marcel Huijser, of WTI’s Road Ecology program, will travel to Australia at the end of April for the 2018 Conference of the Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation (ANET). Marcel has been invited to deliver the keynote address, entitled “Road Ecology – Are We Taking the Right Turns?” at the plenary session on the opening day of the conference.
ANET is a professional network dedicated to the research, design and implementation of environmentally-sensitive infrastructure across Australasia (Australia, New Zealand, and neighboring islands). Serving government, industry, scientists and community groups, ANET’s international conferences aim to share global best practices for identifying and mitigating the ecological impacts of all types of linear infrastructure and transport, including road, rail, pipelines and utility easements.
On Thursday, March 29, Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament will lead a webinar entitled “Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products” for the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. The presentation will focus on Rob’s research, which took a fresh look at wool and explored its potential for incorporation in erosion control blankets (ECBs) and to increase the establishment of vegetation along Montana roadsides after highway construction or other right-of-way disturbances. The project targeted the use of low quality wool that is substandard or unmarketable, thus offering both environmental and economic benefits.
The webinar will be held on Thursday, March 29 at 9:00 a.m. Alaska time (11 a.m. Montana time). It’s not too late to register online for this free event.
WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser was on the road in February, speaking at two major regional wildlife events in Colorado and California. On February 8, he was invited to give the keynote address (“Road Ecology, are we taking the right turns?”) at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Colorado Chapter of the Wildlife Society. On February 21, he spoke at the “Bridges and Biology” workshop hosted by the California Department of Transportation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At this event, Marcel led a workshop session called “National and International Perspectives,” which focused on wildlife usage of crossing structures, including how to increase their effectiveness.
To learn more about Marcel’s research, visit the Road Ecology webpage.
In February, Road Ecology Program Manager Rob Ament participated in a five day Road Ecology workshop in Nagpur, Maharashtra, India, entitled “Capacity Building in Designing Mitigation Measures along Linear Infrastructure in Tiger Landscapes.” Rob gave seven presentations at the event, where attendees from India, Nepal, and the U.S. gathered for three days of talks and two days of field trips to central India highway, railway and canal mitigation locations. The week was hosted by the Wildlife Conservation Trust and co-sponsored by Global Tiger Forum and the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Office of International Programs. Rob also had the opportunity to view other protected species, including rhinos and elephants.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by the Rocky Mountain Outlook last week about a new wildlife overpass near Canmore, Alberta and Banff National Park. In “Plans for new TCH overpass in the works,” Clevenger discusses the role of wildlife overpasses in reconnecting grizzly bear populations, which is critical for the long-term viability of the species. The article also highlights Clevenger’s work with colleague Adam Ford to study the wildlife crossing structures in Banff for 17 years, research which revealed grizzly bear travel patterns and the types of crossing structures which are most effective. The full article is available on the Rocky Mountain Outlook website.
WTI research is prominently featured in the new issue of Solutions, the research newsletter of the Montana Department of Transportation. Three recently completed projects are profiled in feature articles:
“Prefabricated Steel Truss/Bridge Deck Systems.” This study was a WTI and MSU Civil Engineering project led by Damon Fick, Tyler Kuehl, Michael Berry, and Jerry Stephens. It evaluated a prototype of a welded steel truss constructed with an integral concrete deck, which has been proposed as a potential alternative for accelerated bridge construction (ABC) projects in Montana. Steel truss bridges are relatively light weight compared with plate girder systems, which makes them a desirable alternative for both material savings and constructability. See the WTI website for more information.
“Evaluation of Effectiveness and Cost-Benefits of Woolen Roadside Reclamation Products.” This research project developed three types of products for study: woolen erosion control blankets (ECBs), wool incorporated into wood fiber compost, and wool incorporated into silt fence. The project, supported by Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) and the Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates, compared the wool products’ performance to roadside reclamation products commonly used for revegetating cut slopes. Rob Ament (P.I.) and Eli Cuelho served on the research team. Additional information is available on the WTI website.
“Feasibility of Non-Proprietary Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) for Use in Highway Bridges in Montana.” Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has mechanical and durability properties that far exceed those of conventional concrete. However, using UHPC in conventional concrete applications has been cost prohibitive, costing 20 times that of conventional concrete. The overall objective of the Phase I research was to develop and characterize economical non-proprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Montana. The research was led by Michael Berry. Additional project information is available on the WTI website.
The MDT Solutions newsletter is available on the MDT website.
Earlier this month, WTI Road Ecology Program Manager, Rob Ament, traveled to Nairobi, Kenya for the first African meeting of the Transport Working Group (TWG). Formed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Connectivity Conservation Specialist Group (CCSG), the TWG provides guidance on strategies that avoid, minimize, mitigate or compensate for the impacts of surface transportation systems on wildlife connectivity. The TWG is mobilizing road ecologists and transport professional around the world to develop connectivity-minded infrastructure development guidelines for governments and development banks to adopt.
The meeting took place at the campus of the Africa Wildlife Foundation in Nairobi, Kenya. Members represented consultants, NGOs, government agencies, researchers and academia. The agenda and discussions covered the TWG’s scoping document, work plan, and communications support of TWG, as well as the development of guidance documents and transport mitigation resources. Rob Ament, who serves as co-chair of the group, will help develop a briefing paper for the TWG regarding the Multilateral Development Bank Team and how to engage them in transport projects in Africa as well as on other continents. Rob also gave a presentation about the TWG in Arusha, Tanzania, at another meeting hosted by the CCSG in east Africa.
Montana State University News Service interviewed three WTI researchers for an in-depth article on WTI’s “influential research” on reducing wildlife vehicle collisions. “MSU’s Western Transportation Institute featured for research on wildlife crossings” is currently on the MSU website and was highlighted on the home page last week. Tony Clevenger was interviewed regarding his 17 years of research in Banff National Park, which has documented the effectiveness of the wildlife overpasses on the Trans-Canada Highway. Rob Amentand Steve Albertdiscussed how the crossing structures are influencing the development of similar efforts by transportation agencies around the world, and how the research helped establish WTI as an internationally recognized center for road ecology.