Research and Publications

10 Most Dangerous Stretches of Highway in Montana: MSWP Report

Top 10 WVC High-Risk Zones in Montana: This report identifies short sections of highway that present the highest risk of collisions between vehicles and large ungulates during fall (hereafter, “high-risk zones”). We utilize data on the frequency of wildlife carcasses recorded along highways by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) as an indicator of the relative risk of WVCs across Montana (although we note the limitations of this dataset; see Discussion section). We aim to increase driver awareness of highway sections with particularly high risk of WVCs as we enter the fall migration season.

American Wildlands

Williamson, E. , Betsch, J., Meiklejohn, K., Olimb, S. and D. Taylor. 2009 Wildlife Highway Mortality and Linkage Assessment: A Prioritization and Planning Tool for Western Montana. American Wildlands, Bozeman, MT. Download the study as a .pdf here.

AMERICAN WILDLANDS

With the departure of American Wildlands, Montanans for Safe Wildlife Passage is providing the service of posting all the Priority Linkage Assessments and other road ecology related reports on a server for download.

Please click here for AWL reports.

ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

SPR 626: Wildlife Accident Reduction Study and Monitoring: Arizona State Route 64 assesses movements of elk, mule deer, and pronghorn, as well as collision patterns with motor vehicles, from 2007 through 2009. Researchers investigated a section of State Route 64 to develop strategies to improve highway safety for both motorists and wildlife. Recommendations include wildlife fencing and passage structures in some locations.

SPR 603: Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Mitigation for Safer Wildlife Movement across Highways: State Route 260 documents an evaluation of wildlife movement from 2001 to 2008 along a stretch of State Route 260 before, during, and after the construction of underpasses and the establishment of fencing.

EFFECTS OF ROADS AND TRAFFIC ON WILDLIFE POPULATIONS AND LANDSCAPE FUNCTION

Road ecology has developed into a significant branch of ecology with steady growth in the number of refereed journal articles, books, conferences, symposia, and “best practice” guidelines being produced each year. The main objective of this special issue of Ecology and Society is to highlight the need for studies that document the population, community, and ecosystem-level effects of roads and traffic by publishing studies that document these effects. Guest Editors:  Rodney van der Ree, Jochen A. G. Jaeger, Edgar van der Grift, and Anthony P. Clevenger (2011).

Idaho Fish and Wildlife Information System

Read more here.

Montana Department of Transportation

Bozeman Pass Wildlife Linkage and Channelization and Highway Safety Studies: Two different but related wildlife research projects on Interstate 90 at Bozeman Pass between Bozeman and Livingston, Montana have been conducted. The first project, “Bozeman Pass Wildlife Linkage and Highway Safety Pilot Study” evaluated the effectiveness of wildlife fencing installed at the Montana Rail Link (MRL) overpass on I-90 near Bear Canyon.The second project tested the use of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in addressing wildlife-vehicle conflicts on Bozeman Pass (Intelligent Transportation System Deployment Program Project Identification Number VIL.H.24, entitled “Bozeman Pass Wildlife Channelization ITS Project”). Read the final reports here: http://www.mdt.mt.gov/research/projects/env/boz_wildlife.shtml

Evaluating Wildlife–Vehicle Collisions (WVC) and Wildlife Connectivity in the Madison Valley and Hebgen Lake Areas:  Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) along US Highway 287 (US 287) and MT 87 can create a public safety risk and a habitat connectivity issue, which has generated some public concern. However, the patterns and effects of WVCs and wildlife movements across this highway corridor have not yet been studied in depth. Evaluating land use, topography, large animal crossing patterns, and Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions (WVC) data will give MDT and other state and federal resource agencies information that can be used for developing possible mitigation strategies that may reduce risk to motorists, and better understand areas of concern with regard to connectivity. Results from this study will provide MDT with essential information to be an active collaborator in the future of wildlife conservation in the Madison Valley. Read more about this project here.

PRONGHORN STUDIES: MONTANA

Poor, Erin. 2010. Modeling Pronghorn Migration Corridors in the Northern Great Plains. Download a .pdf of the report here.

ROADKILL OBSERVATION COLLECTION SYSTEM (ROCS)

Thanks to ongoing support from the UTC program and other partners, Western Transportation Institute (WTI) researchers at Montana State University have created a fully functional tool that makes it easy for road crews to collect accurate information about wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs).  The Roadkill Observation Collection System (ROCS) integrates a handheld computer or personal digital assistant (PDA) with a global positioning system (GPS) supported by customized software, which field personnel can use to document information such as the collision location and the species of wildlife.

SAFE PASSAGE: A User’s Guide to Developing Effective Highway Crossings for Carnivores and Other Wildlife

This guide explores highways as one of several important components to consider when managing carnivores and other wildlife species. Highways often result in serious unintended impacts such as direct and indirect losses of habitat, habitat fragmentation, population fragmentation, and increased mortality of wildlife and humans. Over the last twenty years, highway departments, land management agencies and wildlife agencies have worked together to develop management practices that reduce impacts to carnivores and other wildlife species. Simultaneously, research is increasingly available to assist agencies and the public in understanding how to reduce the impacts highways have on wildlife. This research has been directly applied to improve highway safety and mitigation through wildlife habitat linkage analysis, development of effective wildlife and fish crossing structures, fencing, and land purchase or conservation easements, to protect important wildlife habitats.

WESTERN TRANSPORTATION INSTITUTE

Cost Benefit Analysis of Mitigation Measures Aimed at Reducing Collisions with Large Ungulates in the United States and Canada: A Decision Support Tool.

Hardy, Amanda. 2007. An Assessment of Wildlife-Transportation Issues in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. Bozeman, MT. Download the study as a .pdf here.

Wildlife-Highway Crossing Mitigation Measures & Associated Costs/Benefits:  A Toolbox for Montana Department of Transportation

WILDLIFE CROSSING STRUCTURE HANDBOOK

Design and Evaluation in North America:  This handbook provides numerous solutions to wildlife-vehicle interactions by offering effective and safe wildlife crossing examples. It initially describes the critter crossing problem and justifies the need to solve it. Project and program level considerations are identified for planning, placement and design of wildlife crossing structures. Key design and ecological criteria, construction and maintenance guidelines, and effective monitoring techniques are shown and described in this handbook’s practical application examples called Hot Sheets.

WILDLIFE CROSSINGS TOOLKIT

The Wildlife Crossings Toolkit provides information for terrestrial biologists, engineers, and transportation professionals to assist in maintaining or restoring habitat connectivity across transportation infrastructure on public lands.

WILDLIFE FRIENDLY FENCING

To access a variety of resources on wildlife friendly fencing, click here.

WILDLIFE AND ROADS

A resource for mitigating the effects of roads on wildlife using wildlife crossings such as overpasses, underpasses, and crosswalks.

ADDITIONAL LINKS ON WILDLIFE CONFLICTS WITH ROADS AND HOW TO MITIGATE THEM.

Parks Canada. Since 1980 Canada has been a worldwide leader in wildlife / highway crossings. This impressive website documents their successful work to research, design and build wildlife crossings.

The Vail Crossings Contest. This competition sought specifically from its entries, innovation in feasible, buildable context-sensitive and compelling design solutions for safe, efficient, cost-effective, and ecologically responsive wildlife crossings.

Wildlife Crossings. A good general summary of the why, what and how of crossings. Included are additional links to many other sources.

Wildlife and Roads. This is a great site with good photos and information by assembled by wildlife professionals.

Patagonia – Free to Roam. Videos of animals using crossings.

Defenders of Wildlife. Habitats and Highways from around the world.

Division Street. Video trailer and information on an award winning film on highways and wildlife.