WTI Technical Support for National Wildlife Refuges
Started: July, 2015 End Date: September, 2017 Project ID #4W5712 Status: Ongoing
Results & Findings
Technical assistance was provided through individual task orders. Final reports for the task orders are posted to this webpage (see below). Research highlights include:
- For Task Order 1, the research team evaluated the effectiveness of existing turtle fences through collecting and analyzing turtle mortality data along U.S. Hwy 83, in and around Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska. The team also also investigated the level of connectivity for turtles provided through existing culverts. Researchers concluded that the effectiveness of the fence can be improved through fence repairs, other modifications of the fences, vegetation maintenance, and extending the length of the fences.
- For Task Order 4 under this project, the research team investigated Key Deer mortality along a segment of Highway 1 within the National Key Deer Refuge in Florida and found that 75% of all reported mortalities were related to collisions with vehicles. The team also investigated differences in the locations of collision "hotspots" since the installation of wildlife fencing, underpasses and deer guards. The final report for this task order summarizes the pros and cons of eight different strategies aimed at reducing collisions with Key Deer on Highway 1.
- For Task Order 5, the research team evaluated black bear road mortality data along three road sections in and around Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge and Bayou Teche National Wildlife Refuge; I-20 and U.S. Hwy 65 near Tensas River NWR and U.S. Hwy 90 near Bayou Teche NWR. The team identified prioritized locations for mitigation to enhance habitat connectivity. The tam also recommended adding new designated crossing structures and fences specifically for black bear in dry areas.
- For Task Order 6 under this project, researchers evaluated turtle road mortality (specifically for the diamondback terrapin) on highways near the Fisherman Island National Wildlife Refuge and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. As described in the final report for this task order, researchers recommended a range of more robust barriers to reduce terrapin road mortality. The report includes additional mitigation recommendations for white-tail deer, amphibians, reptiles, and fox squirrels.
The objective of this project is to provide on-call road ecology technical expertise within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lands and National Fish Hatcheries, or on transportation facilities either connecting to or traversing FWS lands and hatcheries.
Transportation infrastructure can have adverse impacts on resources, wildlife, and habitats. There is a need to provide on-call road ecology technical expertise within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) lands and National Fish Hatcheries, or on transportation facilities either connecting to or traversing FWS lands and hatcheries. Road ecology experts at WTI will be available to help FWS regional transportation coordinators, refuge managers and biologists address wildlife-road conflicts. Site visits and field trips at refuges and hatcheries with biologists, transportation planners and other appropriate personnel will be conducted by WTI staff. Possible solutions ranging in cost and scope will be discussed during these field visits to improve habitat connectivity and lower the impact to terrestrial or aquatic resources. In addition, WTI’s road ecology program includes staff with specific expertise in hydrology, fish passage and hydraulics (water resources). They will be available to help FWS regional transportation coordinators, refuge managers and biologists address interactions between transportation corridors and aquatic systems including streams, rivers, lakes and wetlands. WTI’s expertise in this area includes assessment of the impacts of transportation infrastructure on stream and river morphology, evaluation and development of solutions to fish passage issues related to culverts, bridges or other hydraulic structures such as water diversions, and assessment of drainage problems. Possible solutions ranging in cost and scope will be discussed during these field visits to improve habitat connectivity for aquatic species, and to reduce impacts to water resources including the natural water movement and function of stream, rivers, lakes and wetlands.
Rob Ament - PI
Steve Suder - Main External Contact
Files & Documents
Effectiveness of Chain Link Turtle Fence and Culverts in Reducing Turtle Mortality and Providing Connectivity along U.S. 83, Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, Nebraska, USAReport by
Exploration of opportunities to reduce key deer road mortality along US Highway 1 and other roads, National Key Deer Refuge, Florida, USAReport by
Potential Mitigation Measures Aimed at Reducing Collisions and Improving Habitat Connectivity for Louisiana Black Bear in and around Tensas River National Wildlife Refuge and Bayou Tech National Wildlife Refuge, Louisiana, USAReport by
Exploration of wildlife mitigation measures for the roads through and around Fisherman Island and Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuges, VirginiaReport by
Sponsors & Partners
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) Sponsor