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Construction Guidelines for Wildlife Fencing and Associated Escape and Lateral Access Control Measures

Started: June, 2013 Ended: March, 2015 Project ID #4W4542 Status: Completed

Results & Findings

The final report describes the current state of knowledge and practice regarding the design, implementation and maintenance of wildlife fencing and associated escape and lateral access control measures. The main function of wildlife fencing is to keep wildlife off the highway, but wildlife fencing also helps funnel wildlife to safe crossing opportunities (at-grade, underpasses or overpasses). It is considered good practice to not increase the barrier effect of roads and traffic for wildlife without also providing for safe and effective crossing opportunities for wildlife. Therefore the authors of this report suggest to always combine wildlife fencing with safe crossing opportunities for wildlife. The final report contains examples from the literature and from practitioners about the design, implementation and maintenance of wildlife fencing and associated measures However, few comparative studies are available that allow for the identification of what practices can or should be labeled as “best.” While wildlife fencing and several associated measures have been implemented and tested somewhat satisfactory for some species or species groups (notably deer (Odocoileus spp.) and e.g. Florida panther (Puma concolor coryi)), there may be very little information available for other species or species groups. If the objective is to identify mitigation measures that are “best” then more initiative should be taken for comparative studies that evaluate the effectiveness of the mitigation measures for different species and species groups. These tests should not only include the design characteristics of the measures, but also the implementation and maintenance practices and requirements. Nonetheless, the authors of this report do provide recommendations based on the current knowledge and experience of researchers and practitioners, and identify the most pressing research questions related to wildlife fencing and associated measures.


The purpose of this project was to document U.S. and Canadian practices regarding the implementation of wildlife fences and associated measures.


WTI teamed with ICF and two consultants to conduct a national study of the best fencing methods and related structures that control wildlife along the nation’s roads.  While wildlife fencing is one of the most commonly applied mitigation measures to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions, there are currently no generally agreed upon guidelines with regard to the length of the road sections that should be fenced, where fences should start and end, potential fence-end treatments to prevent fence-end runs, the height and type of wildlife fencing given the target species, escape opportunities for wildlife that end up in the fenced road corridor, or how to address potential gaps in the fence associated with access roads. This project conducted a literature review to document practices regarding the implementation of wildlife fences and associated mitigation measures for three different species groups: 1. Large mammals (e.g. deer (Odocoileus spp.) size and larger), 2. Medium sized mammals (e.g. coyote (Canis latrans), and 3. Reptiles and amphibians. The emphasis lies with practices in the United States and Canada.


Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • ICF International Sponsor
  • National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP) Partner

Part of: Road Ecology

Project Tagged In: wildlife-vehicle collisions, wildlife fencing

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