« Back to Focus Areas

Development of Ecosystem Based Mitigation Methodology for Highway 93 Corridor

Started: May, 2005 Ended: May, 2007 Project ID #4W0514 Status: Completed

Objective

The WTI project team will work with an interagency team to develop a consensus-based, defensible and appropriate ecosystem oriented approach, to integrate mitigation of highway impacts to ecosystems and wildlife populations, benefits, and values in the vicinity of the Highway 93 Corridor in Northwest Montana.

Abstract

US Highway 93 traverses 288 miles of western Montana from the Canadian to Idaho borders and has been identified as a Priority Transportation Corridor under the authority of Executive Order 13274. Due to rapid population growth, economic development, and increases in traffic, US Highway 93 is one of the busiest highways in Montana with a higher-than-average accident and severity rates. In addition, the highway passes through large, mostly intact, natural areas which provide habitat for grizzly bears, gray wolves, Canada lynx, wolverine, bull trout and a wide variety of other wildlife/fish species that are important economic and aesthetic resources, including mule and whitetail deer, elk and rainbow trout. Current and anticipated rates and patterns of economic growth will result in irreversible changes in land use and permanent loss of ecosystem and wildlife resources. There are numerous improvement projects underway or planned for the next 20 years with one important project between Evaro and Polson, Montana. The goal of this project is to develop an integrated approach to mitigating impacts of the highway program to ecosystem functions. Objectives to meet this goal include:• Conserving, enhancing and/or connecting essential habitats and natural landscapes• Creating a crediting and debiting system applicable to multiple highway projects and ecosystem conservation• Prioritizing opportunities and timeliness for ecosystem conservation• Reducing project development times and increasing predictability program delivery requirements• Improving cost benefit efficiency• Formalizing the approach in a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) including a conflict resolution process between IRT agencies.

Contacts

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) Sponsor
  • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Lands Partner
  • Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Partner
  • Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) Partner
  • Montana Department of Environmental Quality Partner
  • U.S. Forest Service (FS) Partner

Part of: Road Ecology

Project Tagged In: ecology, safety, connectivity, wildlife, animal-vehicle, linkage, mitigation, overpasses, fencing

« Back to Focus Areas