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Ecological impacts of new and upgraded roads in and around Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and avoidance, mitigation and compensation strategies

Started: February, 2021 Project ID #4W8967 Status: Ongoing

Objective

The purpose of this project is to make information available to stakeholders (USFWS, Border Patrol, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) on the ecological effects of new and upgraded roads in and around Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR) and how these effects can be avoided, mitigated, or compensated.

Abstract

Primitive roads in and around Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge (CPNWR), including sections of the historic “El Camino del Diablo”, were upgraded to provide access to the border with Mexico for the construction of the USA-Mexico border wall. Until recently, there were only a few primitive high clearance 4x4 roads that received very low use, and that only allowed for low travel speed. Having more, wider, and smoother roads is likely to increase the impacts on the natural environment compared to the “before” situation. Impacts may include habitat loss, wildlife road mortality, creation of a barrier to wildlife movements, and a decrease in habitat quality.

The purpose of this project is to make information available to stakeholders (USFWS, Border Patrol, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) on the ecological effects of new and upgraded roads in and around CPNWR and how these effects can be avoided, mitigated, or compensated. This information could help discussions among the stakeholders on the purpose and needs for these roads, and how to manage the roads and their impacts. The roads in the area are mostly dirt roads, though some gravel and paved roads may be present as well. The research will be conducted through a field visit to selected roads, followed by preparation of an assessment that includes recommended mitigation measures.

Contacts

Sponsors & Partners

  • U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Sponsor

Related Information

Part of: Road Ecology, Wildlife

Project Tagged In: habitat connectivity, public lands, wildlife-vehicle collisions

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