In September, the Infra Eco Network Europe (IENE) held its International Conference in the Netherlands, focusing on the theme of “Crossing borders for a greener and sustainable transport infrastructure.” WTI’s Road Ecology staff members were front and center throughout the 5-day event, presenting their research and experience on wildlife crossings, habitat connectivity, and related topics to more than 300 attendees from around the world.
Last week, the Jackson Hole News and Guide published a feature article on the Teton County (Wyoming) Wildlife Crossings Master Plan developed by WTI. The draft Plan, which was recently presented to County Commissioners, identified priority sites for wildlife mitigation and recommended site-specific solutions. As part of the plan, twelve sites were proposed for wildlife crossing structures to increase both roadway safety and habitat connectivity. Principal Investigator Marcel Huijser was interviewed for the article, which is available on the Jackson Hole News website.
Last week, Marcel Huijser opened the 2018 Australasian Network for Ecology and Transportation (ANET) Conference, in Melbourne, Australia with a keynote address entitled “Road Ecology – Are We Taking the Right Turns?” The Conference, co-hosted by the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand in Victoria, explored the theme “Connecting nature, connecting people.” Marcel also participated in a panel discussion of how technology and innovation influence transportation ecology research and practice, as well as field trips to view local road ecology projects. A profile of his work on animal detection systems, habitat connectivity, and of his role as a visiting professor in Brazil was featured on the conference website.
WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser was on the road in February, speaking at two major regional wildlife events in Colorado and California. On February 8, he was invited to give the keynote address (“Road Ecology, are we taking the right turns?”) at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Colorado Chapter of the Wildlife Society. On February 21, he spoke at the “Bridges and Biology” workshop hosted by the California Department of Transportation, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). At this event, Marcel led a workshop session called “National and International Perspectives,” which focused on wildlife usage of crossing structures, including how to increase their effectiveness.
To learn more about Marcel’s research, visit the Road Ecology webpage.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by the Rocky Mountain Outlook last week about a new wildlife overpass near Canmore, Alberta and Banff National Park. In “Plans for new TCH overpass in the works,” Clevenger discusses the role of wildlife overpasses in reconnecting grizzly bear populations, which is critical for the long-term viability of the species. The article also highlights Clevenger’s work with colleague Adam Ford to study the wildlife crossing structures in Banff for 17 years, research which revealed grizzly bear travel patterns and the types of crossing structures which are most effective. The full article is available on the Rocky Mountain Outlook website.
WTI Research Scientist Tony Clevenger was interviewed by WHYY radio in Canada regarding his 17-year research project to evaluate the wildlife crossing structures in Banff National Park. The discussion highlighted the research techniques used to determine which animals were using the crossing structures; these techniques included animal tracks, hair traps, and remote wildlife cameras. The entire audio interview is available on the WHYY website. The online article also features photos of a fox, wolf, elk, linx and bear using the wildlife crossings, and a video clip of a bear and two cubs on one of the structures.
November 2017 marked the 20th anniversary of the first wildlife overpass in Banff National Park. Since then, several dozen crossing structures have been installed as part of the reconstruction of the Trans-Canada Highway, which passes through the park. Canadian Geographic has published an extensive feature article on the development of the crossings, with a focus on how effective they have been in reducing animal vehicle collisions by approximately 80%. Both Tony Clevenger and Rob Ament were interviewed for the article. Tony discusses his 17-years of data that documents how 11 species of large mammals have used the structure more than 200,000 times. Rob describes how the Banff project has become a model for wildlife conservation in many other countries. The full article is available here.
Also, read more about the Road Ecology team’s work in Banff National Park on the WTI website.
A peer-reviewed study of wildlife crossing structures used by grizzly bears has revealed usage patterns that may help re-connect populations and support conservation efforts. The Wildlife Society Bulletin has published “Road Mitigation is a Demographic Filter for Grizzly Bears,” by Adam Ford, Mirjam Barrueto, and WTI’s Tony Clevenger, based on research that investigated five crossing structure designs installed at 44 sites along the Trans-Canada Highway in Banff National Park. Using both tracking data and camera images, the research team compared usage of the five types of structures between single bears and family groups of bears. While single bears used both tunnels and overpasses, grizzly females traveling with cubs showed a strong preference for overpasses. The study was featured last week on the University of British Columbia website and highlighted today on Science Daily. The full journal article is available in the online edition of the Wildlife Society Bulletin.
The bridges, tunnels, and other wildlife crossing structures on U.S. Highway 93 are the focus of “Safe Passage,” a feature article in the November/December 2017 issue of Montana Outdoors Magazine (published by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks). The article describes the major initiative to install 41 wildlife crossing structures along 56 miles of U.S. 93 while the highway was reconstructed over the course of 2004 – 2010. WTI Research Scientist Marcel Huijser is quoted in the article regarding his 14 years of work to monitor wildlife use of the structures and evaluate their effectiveness. The article also features photos of numerous animal species using the structures. The highway reconstruction and the research study were a major collaboration among Montana Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and WTI. The online version of the Montana Outdoors article is available here.
On Sunday, The Missoulian published a feature article called “Wildlife crossings reveal quirks in road safety,” highlighting the completion of WTI’s US 93 wildlife crossings evaluation project on US 93. P.I.Marcel Huijser is interviewed in the article, which you can read here. As we reported in last week’s Newswire, the project represents a 14 year collaboration by WTI, the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT), and the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The full report is available on theMDT website.