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Mitigating Wildlife Mortality and Habitat Fragmentation Due to Transportation Infrastructure

Started: November, 2002 Ended: September, 2004 Project ID #426847 Status: Completed

Objective

WTI is hiring Dr. Tony Clevenger, wildlife ecologist and research scientist leading the evaluation of wildlife mitigation in Banff National Park. The goal of hiring Dr. Clevenger is to bring years of experience in the wildlife-transportation field and an outstanding reputation for his research and publishing record to the WTI.

Abstract

The impact of roads on the environment is well-documented and gaining attention worldwide. With the reauthorization of TEA-21, the following two potential research programs could provide opportunities for funding projects in the newly established Wildlife and Transportation Interactions focus research area at WTI: the Surface Transportation Environmental Cooperative Research Program ($ 150 Million), which recommends a broad research agenda to address ever-growing needs for mobility and environmental protection; and the new Strategic Highway Research Program ($450 Million), which focuses on applied research. These programs and numerous others will be targeted to jump-start this new and emerging research area at WTI.Multi-year research projects and programs in major research institutions typically have the greatest sustained impact and are mainly funded by state or federal governments. However, today such programs are extremely rare. An intensive 5-year research program was initiated in Banff National Park, Alberta, in November 1996 by Dr. Anthony Clevenger. This study focused on the Trans-Canada Highway, its permeability for wildlife and effects in terms of wildlife mortality, movements, and habitat connectivity in the Bow River Valley, where Banff NP resides. Means of mitigating road effects on wildlife were evaluated and recommendations made for future transportation planning schemes in the mountain parks. Today the Banff-Bow Valley is the only location in the world where the abundance and variety of wildlife crossing structure designs, in addition to national park-supported wildlife research, provides an unrivalled environment for research on the efficacy of wildlife crossing structures and reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions. Banff mitigation research can boast of having the world’s longest, year-round monitoring program and largest dataset on passage use by wildlife. This alone has allowed Banff to be on the cutting edge of investigations regarding the effectiveness of highway mitigation passages in maintaining landscape connectivity. WTI has elected to partner with Dr. Clevenger to support the continuation of the landmark Banff-Bow Valley research. In return, Dr. Clevenger brings his expertise and research and publication record which will bolster WTI in the pursuit to become a national leader in the wildlife-transportation research focus area. Dr. Clevenger will provide guidance on other wildlife projects such as the study to evaluate the effectiveness of wildlife crossing structures and fencing that will be incorporated into reconstruction of a section of that U.S. 93 in Montana. In addition, it is anticipated that this collaboration will bring in new research projects to the Wildlife and Transportation Interactions focus area.

Contacts

Files & Documents

Sponsors & Partners

  • Research and Innovation Technology Administration (RITA) Sponsor
  • Parks Canada Agency Partner

Part of: Road Ecology

Project Tagged In: animal-vehicle collision mitigation, wildlife

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