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.
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 Ament and Steve Albert discussed 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.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by WHYY radio in Canada regarding his 17-year research project to evaluate the wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park. The discussion highlighted the research techniques used to determine which animals were using the crossing structures; these techniques included animal tracks, hair traps, and remote wildlife cameras. The entire audio interview is available on the WHYY website. The online article also features photos of a fox, wolf, elk, linx and bear using the wildlife crossings, and a video clip of a bear and two cubs on one of the structures.
November 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the first wildlife overpass in Banff National Park. Since then, several dozen crossing structures have been installed as part of the reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through the park. Canadian Geographic has published an extensive feature article on the development of the crossings, with a focus on how effective they have been in reducing animal vehicle collisions by approximately 80%. Both Tony Clevenger and Rob Ament were interviewed for the article. Tony discusses his 17-years of data that documents how 11 species of large mammals have used the structure more than 200,000 times. Rob describes how the Banff project has become a model for wildlife conservation in many other countries. The full article is available here.
Also, read more about the Road Ecology team’s work in Banff National Park on the WTI website.
A peer-reviewed study of wildlife crossing structures used by grizzly bears has revealed usage patterns that may help re-connect populations and support conservation efforts. The Wildlife Society Bulletin has published “Road Mitigation is a Demographic Filter for Grizzly Bears,” by Adam Ford, Mirjam Barrueto, and WTI’s Tony Clevenger, based on research that investigated five crossing structure designs installed at 44 sites along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Using both tracking data and camera images, the research team compared usage of the five types of structures between single bears and family groups of bears. While single bears used both tunnels and overpasses, grizzly females traveling with cubs showed a strong preference for overpasses. The study was featured last week on the University of British Columbia website and highlighted today on Science Daily. The full journal article is available in the online edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
The bridges, tunnels, and other wildlife crossing structures on U.S. Highway 93 are the focus of “Safe Passage,” a feature article in the November/December 2017 issue of Montana Outdoors Magazine (published by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks). The article describes the major initiative to install 41 wildlife crossing structures along 56 miles of U.S. 93 while the highway was reconstructed over the course of 2004 – 2010. WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser is quoted in the article regarding his 14 years of work to monitor wildlife use of the structures and evaluate their effectiveness. The article also features photos of numerous animal species using the structures. The highway reconstruction and the research study were a major collaboration among Montana Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and WTI. The online version of the Montana Outdoors article is available here.
The Center for Environmentally Sustainable Transportation in Cold Climates (CESTiCC) has released “The Reliability and Effectiveness of a Radar-Based Animal Detection System.” This final is based on research by WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser and international colleagues at the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The project studied the reliability and effectiveness of an animal detection system along U.S. Hwy 95 near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. The system uses a Doppler radar to detect large mammals (e.g., deer and elk) when they approach the highway. The report includes data on the rates of successful animal detections, the impact of the warning signs on vehicle speeds, practical recommendations for operation and maintenance of the system, and suggestions for potential future research. The project was a collaboration among WTI, U.S. Department of Transportation, the Idaho Transportation Department, Sloan Security Technologies, and the University of SÃo Paulo, Brazil. The final report is available on the WTI project page.
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution has published “Performance of Arch-Style Road Crossing Structures from Relative Movement Rates of Large Mammals,” authored by A.Z. Andis (University of Montana/Yale University), Marcel Huijser of WTI, and Len Broberg (University of Montana). The team measured the movements of large mammal species at 15 wildlife underpasses on U.S. Highway 93 in Montana, documenting findings for several species including white-tailed deer, mule deer, black bear and coyote.
Citation: Andis AZ, Huijser MP and Broberg L (2017) Performance of Arch-Style Road Crossing Structures from Relative Movement Rates of Large Mammals. Front. Ecol. Evol. 5:122. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2017.00122
The Mexican Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes (National Transportation Department) sponsored its first national Road Ecology workshop in Hermosillo, Senora, Mexico in early October. WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was one of three presenters invited to lead this inaugural forum. Organizers, including the Secretaria, the Wildlands Network, and other partner agencies, anticipated only 50 attendees, but the event attracted more than 100 participants.