Transportation and Wildlife
Making roadways safe for wildlife
SCI partners are identifying road segments that are critical for wildlife connectivity in all of the linkage areas. Using computer models and field work, SCI partners are sharing this data with state and local transportation agencies.
Our field work consists of setting up remote cameras and tracking wildlife along key road stretches, and is being conducted in many regions using a combination of professional trackers and volunteers. Our citizen scientist corps continues to gather data and identify important routes for various species, including deer, moose, bear and bobcat. See the Press Room for recent news stories on wildlife tracking.
By engaging with state and local transportation officials, the partnership hopes, over time, to significantly influence the consideration of habitat connectivity in specific road maintenance and upgrade projects throughout the region.
Several Vermont-based partners collaborated with VTrans to develop a best-management-practices document - Vermont Transportation and Habitat Connectivity Guidance - that addresses wildlife vehicle conflicts and habitat connectivity. Proposed practices incorporate habitat connectivity considerations into project planning, design and engineering, and maintenance and operational processes.
New York Crossings
In New York, we are working with the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) to develop a model, based on satellite data and aerial photos, that can be used to predict areas of high wildlife movement. And working with the NYSDOT and two local highway departments within the Tug Hill Mountains to Adirondack Mountains linkage, we are applying the results of tracking and modeling to mitigate the effects of roadways on wide-ranging wildlife in the Black River Valley.
Transportation and Wildlife Success Stories
- The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department provided trainings on fundamental concepts in transportation and habitat connectivity to VTrans personnel.
- TNC-Vermont worked with VTrans to include connectivity conservation values into the 22A road corridor improvement scoping document in the Adirondacks-Greens linkage.
- Road barrier metrics, including traffic volume, land cover types along road segments, the degree of permeability of culverts and bridges, and the amount of conserved land near a road segment were incorporated into the SCI monitoring framework.
- Partners have presented the initiative and highlighted work accomplished at the last two biennial Northeast Transportation and Wildlife Conferences.
- TNC-Adirondacks directed the development of a detailed database of references on connectivity and transportation, and produced and distributed an accompanying summary report entitled Road Maintenance and Planning for Terrestrial Connectivity – Best Practices. The report and database are organized around major themes, including modeling tools and priority-setting, barrier mitigation approaches/taking action, field validation and monitoring effectiveness, and staying current.