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Wildlife Barriers at Access Roads Along a Highway in a Multi-Functional Landscape on the Flathead Indian Reservation

Started: May, 2020 End Date: March, 2022 Project ID #4W8408 Status: Ongoing

Objective

The objective of this project is to conduct field experiments to investigate the effectiveness of barrier designs that are more likely to keep wildlife species with paws out of the fence road corridor at access roads and fence-ends.

Abstract

Wildlife fences in combination with wildlife crossing structures are effective strategies for reducing collisions with large mammals and providing safe crossing opportunities for wildlife. However, in rural landscapes there are access roads for agriculture, dispersed housing, and other roads, resulting in short road sections with a wildlife fence and gaps in the fences at access roads. Along US 93 North on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, wildlife guards at access roads have proved to be an effective barrier for deer species, but they are quite permeable to species with paws, such as bears. To further improve human safety and reduce road mortality of wildlife, additional measures are needed at access roads. The objective of this project is to conduct field experiments to investigate the effectiveness of barrier designs that are more likely to keep wildlife species with paws out of the fence road corridor at access roads and fence-ends. A field experiment will be conducted at 3-5 locations along US Highway 93 North on the Flathead Indian Reservation. These sites will have a relatively low-cost electrified barrier installed, and the effectiveness of the barrier will be evaluated using wildlife cameras.

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Part of: Road Ecology, Wildlife, WTI-SURTCOM, Small Urban, Rural and Tribal Center on Mobility (SURTCOM)

Project Tagged In: habitat connectivity, wildlife connectivity, wildlife fencing

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