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Bozeman Pass Wildlife Linkage and Highway Safety Pilot Study

Project #: 426899
Start Date: 02/01/2003
End Date: 12/31/2010

The Bozeman Pass transportation corridor between Bozeman and Livingston, Montana, includes I-90, frontage roads, and the MRL railroad. Elk, moose, black bear, mountain lion, wolves, coyotes, and deer move across the landscape in the Bozeman Pass area; all of these species and other species have been killed in animal-vehicle collisions on the interstate. The Craighead Environmental Research Institute (CERI) is working with the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) at Montana State University, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), and Montana Rail Link (MRL) to incorporate fencing, cattle guards and landscaping design modifications into the 2004 reconstruction of the MRL overpass near milepost 314, 7 km east of Bozeman. The purpose of incorporating such design elements into this project is to prevent animals from getting onto I-90 but allow their movement under I-90 via the MRL overpass, avoiding a conflict between drivers and animal movements. This project will assess the effectiveness of these applications relative to decreasing animal-vehicle collisions and maintaining wildlife connectivity across I-90 in this area of Bozeman Pass. We will collect data on animal movements and vehicle collisions at the westernmost ‘corridor area’ under current conditions, followed by identical data collection after design modifications have been constructed. Data from this study will be used to inform the multi-disciplinary working group that has been cooperating to address transportation-wildlife issues and the conservation of habitat in the Bozeman Pass area to preserve this important landscape corridor for wildlife movements. The results from this study will be pivotal in understanding specifically, the effectiveness of wildlife mitigation measures on Bozeman Pass, and more globally, the applicability of an adaptive management approach to address both transportation-wildlife conflicts and public safety issues within the constructs of upcoming reconstruction opportunities.


The goals of this study are to address the question of whether or not fences and cattle guards are effective at a) reducing the number of animal-vehicle collisions, and b) re-directing animal movement patterns through existing highway ‘crossing’ structures (e.g., road and railroad bridges and culverts). The proposed study will continue to document the location of animal-vehicle collisions, locations of highway crossings by animals both over the highway and through existing ‘crossing’ structures, and locations of attempted crossings.


  • Amanda Hardy
    Amanda Hardy


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