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Evaluating Habitat Connectivity for Carnivores in the North Cascades Ecosystem

Started: July, 2012 Ended: June, 2013 Project ID #4W4067 Status: Completed


The objective of this project is to assess the barrier effect of highways and other landscape features on American black bears and American Martens in the North Cascades Ecosystem of Washington.


In 2008, WTI launched the Cascades Carnivore Connectivity Project (CCCP) as a multi-partner effort to evaluate and ultimately help reduce the barrier effects of major highways and development on carnivore movement in the North Cascades Ecosystem. More specifically, the research team was assessing potential barriers to genetic exchange within black bear and marten populations, respectively, to gain insights into habitat connectivity for these species and other wide-ranging carnivores. The team uses field methods (e.g. remote cameras, hair snagging devicess to detect rare carnivores of conservation concern. In the initial phase of the project (2008 - 2012), the field methods combined with laboratory tests were used to identify genotypes (i.e. genetic fingerprints) for a large sample of black bears and martens that occupied the region. In this second phase of the project, the research team will use the pool of genetic data, coupled with analytical and modeling techniques, to evaluate the extent to which major highways and other human development may be impeding carnivore movement in the North Cascades. The results will help inform transportation and conservation planning in Washington, and may help catalyze additional conservation-driven research at the regional scale. This is a collaborative project supported by multiple sponsors; this project represents the portion funded by the Mountaineer's Foundation.


Sponsors & Partners

  • Mountaineer's Foundation Sponsor

Related Information

Part of: Road Ecology, Wildlife

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