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|Panel Session 100: Random Acts or Global Agenda? A Strategic Discussion on Research for Ecology and Transportation (PDF:54KB)|
Organizer and Moderator:
Paul Wagner, Environmental Services Office, Washington State DOT, United States
Lars Nilsson, Environmental Director, Swedish Transportation Administration; Rodney van der Ree, Deputy Director, Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology; Alex Levy, Senior Ecologist, ARCADIS U.S.
The study of Ecology & Transportation is a relatively new field with many emerging questions, new avenues of inquiry and much to learn. There is rich opportunity for end users of research to apply new knowledge on projects and facilities as infrastructure is operated and improved. Research in this area has been supported by transportation organizations, research entities, resource agencies, as well as through private sector, NGO and academic efforts. This discussion-based workshop will help familiarize participants with the context of current research, how it comes to be and what are the important priorities, needs, gaps and trends. This workshop will seek input from participants on what would be the most useful future directions.
|Session 101: Does It Work? Effectiveness of Wildlife Crossing Structures|
Edgar van der Grift, Alterra, Wageningen University and Research Centre, Wageningen, Netherlands
Wildlife crossing structures are important means to mitigate road impacts. While empirical studies that examine population-level effects of crossing structures are rare, monitoring the use of crossing structures has become a routine in many countries. Our objective is to explore – through population modeling – whether empirical data on crossing structure use can be used to assess to what extent the impacts of roads on population persistence have been mitigated. We develop general guidelines on how many crossings should take place per year to maintain viable populations and what this implies for the number and type of crossing structures.
Anthony Clevenger, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University, Harvie Heights, Alberta, Canada
Human activity can strongly influence wildlife behavior and activity patterns. Wildlife behaviour may be used as an indicator of how wildlife responds to crossing structures. We describe activity patterns of large mammals at crossing structures as a measure of adaptation and performance. Specifically, we assess whether wildlife activity at crossing structures is different from control areas without effects of transportation corridors. We analyse a multi-year dataset obtained from camera traps at 39 wildlife crossing structures (n=49 cameras) along the Trans-Canada Highway. These data are compared with data obtained from camera traps (n=42) located in the backcountry of Banff National Park.
Jeffrey Gagnon, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
We evaluated the effectiveness of wildlife overpasses, bridges, culverts and fencing in reducing desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis nelsoni) collisions while maintaining habitat connectivity. We saw a reduction of 82% in sheep-vehicle collisions by the second year, once we completed appropriate modifications to escape ramps. Overpasses were used substantially more than bridges and culverts with 1742 sheep using the three overpasses, 179 sheep using the two bridges, and 4 sheep using the three culverts. Preliminary data indicates overpasses, when combined with funnel-fencing, are a better option for desert bighorn sheep. Monitoring will continue through 2015 to determine trends over time.
Norris Dodd, AZTEC Engineering, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The Arizona Game & Fish Department has conducted a decade of wildlife-highway interactions research on 8 highways employing consistent methodologies allowing direct comparison of highway permeability and wildlife-vehicle collision (WVC) patterns across all highways and 5 ungulate species. The effectiveness of wildlife passage structures and fencing was researched on 4 highways, while GPS telemetry and WVC research on 6 highways helped to develop strategies to address wildlife needs. GPS-telemetry along highways with AADT ranging from 1,240 to 20,650 vehicles/day provided insights into traffic and permeability relationships. This research has increased our understanding of wildlife-highway relationships and fostered new technologies.
|Session 102: Taking the High Road to Sustainability|
Lars Nilsson, Swedish Transport Administration, Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden
The Conference of European Directors of Roads has published a report on wild-life and traffic. One success factor in integrating wild-life and traffic is an area-oriented approach where the spatial planning authorities and other stakeholder agree on the land use. This leads to coordinated actions and less work ad hoc. The approach must be based on good ecological skill in the national road administration and better follow-up on contractor’s performance. European cooperation is of utmost importance for better scientific bases for strategies; standardization of mitigation measures and guidelines. A pan-European research program is presently planned to fulfill these needs.
Charlie Scott, Jones & Jones Architects + Landscape Architects + Planners, Seattle, Washington, United States
Concurrent with ongoing initiatives to take a contextual or "Context Sensitive Solutions" (CSS) approach to highway design and construction, there is an increasing emphasis on engaging a broad set of issues related to environmental and social sustainability in developing and improving highways. The Hawaii Statewide Highways Sustainable Landscape Master Plan and associated Roadside Design Guide represent a concerted effort to make the state of Hawaii's roadways and roadside landscapes more sustainable and contextual. The documents are intended to make highways, and those who plan and design them, more respectful of the sensitive landscapes and local culture of the Islands.
Debra Nelson, New York State DOT, Albany, New York, United States
It is easy to see how investing in transportation infrastructure creates jobs and how transportation improvements improve the quality of our lives. But making the right decisions about transportation investments, decisions that will support economic competitiveness, meet the peoples’ mobility needs and increase safety, all while protecting and enhancing the environment, is a more complex and challenging endeavor. This presentation addresses how NYSDOT is incorporating sustainability into its investment decisions through its organizational structures, asset management and management of its capital program, and explores how NYSDOT is moving to integrate sustainability into its everyday culture.
|Session 103: Getting It Done: Construction, Maintenance, and Small-Scall Projects|
Tim Cramer, Idaho Transportation Department, Rigby, Idaho, United States
Transportation projects affect the environment. Most transportation projects require permits and approvals by regulatory agencies before construction. Obtaining these permits and approvals often takes considerably longer than the actual construction project. A partnership was developed between the Idaho Transportation Department and federal regulatory agencies to review the road maintenance and construction program in Idaho. The result of the partnership was a Programmatic Biological Assessment (PBA) document. Using the PBA the Endangered Species Act consultation can be completed in 30 days or less and for a process that previously could take six months to several years.
Judy Gates, Maine DOT, Augusta, Maine, United States (Deane Van Dusen, presenter)
MaineDOT’s experience with state-wide, single applicant mitigation banking provides a case study on the process of providing proactive mitigation on a broad scale for smaller scale capital and maintenance projects. This presentation will review the decision-making on the restoration of Sherman Marsh, a tidal salt marsh in Midcoast Maine, beginning with in-the-moment decision-making about whether to reconstruct the dam following its catastrophic failure in 2005 to the negotiation with regulatory and resource agencies about adding this site to MaineDOT’s statewide federal mitigation bank.
Roger G. Nyberg, Edinburgh Napier University, Borlänge, Dalarna, Sweden
National railway administrations in Northern Europe mainly resort to manual inspections to control vegetation growth along railways, which is slow and time consuming. Another aspect is that human observers are often unable to estimate the true cover of vegetation on railway embankments, also when there are several observers they often tend to disagree. Lack of proper techniques to identify the true cover of vegetation even result in the excess usage of herbicides; seriously harming the environment. Hence this study has investigated aspects relevant to human variation and agreement to be able to report better inspection routines by use of computer vision.
|Session 104: Is it Worth It? Measuring Benefits, Costs, and Effectiveness|
Karl Fielding and Margaret Cederoth, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Sacramento, California, United States
The California High-Speed Rail Authority is currently executing one of the most visionary and challenging infrastructure projects in California’s history. With stringent environmental requirements and commendable sustainability goals, the Authority is tasked with managing a diverse amount of data to ensure its objectives are met. Karl Fielding and Margaret Cederoth with the Authority’s program management team will discuss the challenges facing the agency and also introduce attendees to EMMA, the environmental compliance system developed by the Authority.
Tracy Lee, Miistakis Institute, University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
A study of a 39 kilometer section of the Trans-Canada Highway (TCH) directly east of Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada evaluated the best locations to mitigate the effect of the TCH on the local wildlife populations and provide for reductions in wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs). In addition, the study conducted cost-benefit analyses to show where investments in mitigation may provide a net savings to society. Lastly, the study evaluated the cost savings associated with the development of an underpass and fencing within the study area using 6 years of pre and post construction data.
Marcel Huijser, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States; and Fernanda Delborgo Abra, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil
We conducted cost-benefit analyses for wildlife fencing and three differently sized culverts aimed at reducing collisions with capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) along a highway in São Paulo State, Brazil. The spatially explicit analyses illustrated that the costs associated with capybara-vehicle collisions on specific locations along the highway exceed the threshold values for the mitigation measures. We believe the cost-benefit model presented in this paper can be a valuable decision support tool to help select locations and implement mitigation measures that improve human safety, are likely to benefit nature conservation, and are economically justified even when based on very conservative cost-benefit analyses.
James Baxter-Gilbert, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada
Roadways pose a serious threat to many wildlife populations, directly through mortality and indirectly through habitat fragmentation and destruction. It is important for mitigation to be used to off-set these negative effects, however it is equally important to thoroughly test the effectiveness of these mitigation measures to insure that they are cable of achieving the desired results. Along a section of Highway 69/400 in central Ontario Canada, which bisects an area of high reptile biodiversity, mitigation measures were installed during a highway expansion. A Before-After-Control-Impacted-Paired (BACIP) study was conducted to assess if exclusion structures (e.g. fences) could be used to reduce reptile abundances on the roadway, which would lead to a reduction on road mortality. Concurrently, 1) radio telemetry, 2) wildlife cameras, 3) automated PIT-tag readers and 4) a behavioral ‘willingness to utilize experiment’ were used to examine the effectiveness of population connectivity structures (e.g. eco-passages). Finally genetic information was collected during the course of this study to create a population genetic 'snapshot' of the area pre-construction and pre-mitigation which would allow for future study to examine the long-term population effects of this newly mitigated highway.
|Session 105: Landscape Perspective for Ecological Decisions|
Charles Budinger, Arizona DOT, Prescott, Arizona, United States
Natural resource planning for large-tract development provides the local jurisdiction with high quality lifestyle opportunities for their citizens and visitors, including leaving viewscapes intact; use of inter-modal transportation options to maintain air quality; collection of rain water for riparian preservation; preserving and maintaining native grass and tree species to prevent erosion and reduce fire hazard; and enhancing wildlife habitat in and around human habitation. The area north of Prescott and Prescott Valley, Arizona was chosen by the Ecosa Institute as a study area for ecologically regenerative development around a proposed highway corridor. Incorporating all major elements of the Yavapai County Comprehensive Land Use Plan, the resulting plan formulated by Ecosa Institute integrates the ecological components of the undeveloped land into the human needs for housing and transportation.
John Schmid, New York Natural Heritage Program, Albany, New York, United States
The New York Natural Heritage Program (NYNHP) tracks rare and endangered species and significant natural ecosystems in New York State in a complex tabular and spatial database. Most partners that use NYNHP data for planning and conservation do not have technical science training. As such, sharing raw NYNHP data with them is not necessarily providing the information they really need for effective action. NYNHP has therefore partnered with the New York State Department of Transportation to develop interpreted information that DOT planners and project managers can use to further conservation of New York’s most imperiled animals, plants, and ecosystems.
Tom Langton, Road Transport Ecology Services (HCI LTd.), Bramfield, Halesworth, Suffolk; and Silviu Petrovan, Froglife Trust, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
In Europe amphibians represent as much as 80% of road carcasses and several populations have recently become extinct due to unsustainable traffic mortality. Mitigation measures often suffer from badly designed or implemented solutions probably exacerbated by insufficient monitoring or inadequate targets. In 2012 organisations from 12 European countries have initiated the creation of a network that can bring together best scientific practice and advice named ENPARTS-European Network for the Protection of Amphibians and Roads from Transport Systems. It aims to reduce herpetofauna road mortality, habitat fragmentation, promote restoration and creation of new wetlands and clean freshwater areas.
Burkhard Vogel and Thomas Mölich, BUND/ Friends of the Earth Germany, Erfurt, Thuringia, Germany
The NGO Friends of the Earth Germany/BUND is developing a net of corridors between isolated forests for the endangered European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris). Migration routes were calculated combining a habitat model with cost-distance analyses. First corridors have been realized. Funded by German Federal Ministry for Environment (BMU), five new corridors are scheduled. Collecting DNA samples from ten monitoring regions throughout Germany a genetic database is being created, to characterize the population and the function of corridors.
|Session 106: Partnerships for Success|
Sangeeta Reddy, PMP, GISP, Data Transfer Solutions, LLC (DTS), Murphy, Texas, United States
"SMART Delivery" is a Tennessee DOT's (TDOT) approach to providing transportation services to the driving public in Tennessee through a streamlined, manageable, accountable, responsible and transparent (SMART) project delivery process. TDOT in 2006 began paving the way to accomplish SMART Delivery though various initiatives focused on improving performance without compromising environmental stewardship and while enhancing stakeholder involvement. The Statewide Environmental Management System (SEMS) is one of these initiatives envisioned to be a comprehensive group of processes that will streamline TDOT’s project delivery process by connecting the stakeholders in each phase of project development from Long Range Planning to Maintenance. SEMS will deploy a shared Geographic Information System (GIS) with analysis tools, a workflow/tracking application for the transportation decision‐making processes, and the organizational change management initiatives to facilitate the implementation of the new processes throughout TDOT and in partnership with the appropriate local, state and federal agencies.
Edward Frantz, New York State DOT, Utica, New York, United States
The Adirondack Park is the largest state park in the contiguous United States comprising over 6 million acres of lands with 1,100 miles of state highways. It is no overstatement to say that a safe, efficient and environmentally sound transportation network in the Adirondack Park is critical to the Park’s economy. NYSDOT is continuing this synergistic understanding with implementation of a planning effort that’s vision is for sustainable transportation. Through this process the functional needs of the transportation system will strive to enhance or maintain the associated social, economic and environmental needs as future transportation projects and activities are progressed in the Park.
Melissa Marinovich, Nebraska Department of Roads, Lincoln, Nebraska; and Brooke Stansberry, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Grand Island, Nebraska, United States
This presentation will provide an overview of the next revolutions to Nebraska's Matrix Programmatic Process. Part of the presentation will discuss our methods and findings on the effectiveness and implementation of the previous "Matrix." Additionally, the steps we have taken with our state and federal partners to streamline and comply with additional regulations such as the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, Bald and Golden Eagle Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (with Section 404 of the Clean Water Act) will also be presented as part of our "Matrix Reloaded" effort. These jointly developed compliance procedures will be amended to the existing "Matrix" agreement upon their completion. Our work is a good example of how transportation and the resource agencies can work cooperatively in a collaborative manner to achieve conservation of natural resources.
Todd G. Williams, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
This presentation will focus on a successful partnership between the Arizona Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration, the Bureau of Land Management, and the United States Forest Service. Highlights of this presentation will include the Memorandum of Understanding, the Guidelines document "Guidelines for Highways on Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service Lands," the use of multidisciplinary teams, the use of an Executive Steering Committee and an annual meeting that highlights successes and lessons learned. This partnership integrates resource management concerns into the interdisciplinary process of planning, development, construction, maintenance and operations in a context sensitive manner.
|Session 107: Tips, Tools, and Training: Doing It Better and Smarter||
Jeff Dreier, Washington State DOT, Olympia, Washington, United States (Mark Bakeman, presenter)
Efficient and detailed preparation of Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7 biological assessments (BAs) is critical to any state or local transportation agency. The combination of federally funded or permitted transportation projects and the presence of ESA species typically results in the preparation of a BA. The Washington State Department of Transportation provides training, guidance, and a dedicated internet site to teach individuals how to complete a quality BA. Using a standardized approach and training, other transportation agencies in the United States can improve BA quality, and tailor BA preparation to address existing and emerging ESA issues within their jurisdictions.
Anne Ellis, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
This presentation was developed by the AASHTO Research Advisory Committee (RAC) and TRB Conduct of Research Committee Task Force on Collaboration and Coordination to help researchers find what they need. The presentation will review some of the tools available to help transportation researchers and research managers find funding, locate opportunities for collaboration with other researchers, search the literature, write effective problem statements, and manage research projects (whether one or a portfolio). Communities of Practice are discussed and considered in the context of collaborative agencies and partners including FHWA, RITA, TRB, AASHTO, University Transportation Centers (UTCs), and others.
Paul Draycott, Morrison Hershfield Limited; and April Marton, Ontario Ministry of Transportation, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Ontario Ministry of Transportation’s continuous use of project-specific operational constraints and item specific mitigation and compensation measures has resulted in a proliferation of inconsistent, unproven and often expensive aquatic compensation methods. This has left the Ministry, the regulatory agencies, as well as design consultants and construction contractors, all with a significant level of uncertainty. The challenge was to design a series of standardized design and construction protocols to ensure that those measures identified as standards can be designed and implemented with certainty of effectiveness and cost, while streamlining the regulatory process for implementing aquatic compensation measures.
Marion Carey and Mark Bakeman (presenter), Washington State DOT, Olympia, Washington, United States
The National Marine Fisheries Service, the Washington State Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration developed a programmatic biological opinion to reduce consultation timelines, reduce staff effort, and increase the conservation benefits for listed species. We have covered five projects this year. The average approval time for the five projects was 1.2 days. Collectively, the projects restored listed-species access to over 10 miles of stream habitat and provided stormwater treatment for 16 acres of previously untreated impervious surface. My presentation will cover the keys to developing a successful programmatic using examples from Washington State.
|Panel Session 108: Invasive Species Management in Highway Rights-Of-Way: Success and Challenges (PDF:153KB)||
Organizer and Moderator:
Shahin Ansari, SWCA Environmental Consultants, Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Co-Organizer and Panelist:
Christopher Dacus, Hawaii DOT, Kapolei, Hawaii, United States
Justin White, Roadside Resources Program Manager, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona; Patti Fenner, Noxious Weed Program Manager, USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest, Phoenix, Arizona; LeRoy Brady, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona; and Ed Frantz, Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve Manager, New York State DOT, Utica, New York, United States
Got weeds? Whether you manage roadside vegetation for a state department of transportation, conservation agency, or are a private land owner; your answer is a quick and simple, yes! However, the answer to how to mitigate the introduction and spread of weeds in transportation corridors is a lot more complex. Session panelists from distinct and diverse regions of Hawaii, Arizona, and New York will share their successes and challenges in not just using an integrated approach to vegetation management but also working collaboratively with stakeholders to develop creative solutions to the problem of invasive species in highway rights-of-way.
|Session 201: Under and Over: Getting Wildlife Across the Road|
Brian Johnson, Nebraska Department of Roads, Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
The purpose of this research was to determine whether an improved undercrossing can mitigate deer-vehicle collisions (DVCs) and thus reduce the need for large-scale exclusionary fence projects. By using low-cost, weather-resistant interlocking pavement blocks within the wildlife undercrossing, transportation designers can provide habitat connectivity with the benefits of reduced long-term maintenance costs and reduced DVCs. One year after the wildlife undercrossings were in place, woven-wire and Electrobraid deer fences were constructed to connect the bridges and funnel deer to the undercrossings. Monitoring of the undercrossings and a comparative analysis of the deer fences was conducted over three years.
Jeremy Siemers, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, United States
Animal-vehicle collisions have negative impacts to human safety and wildlife populations and are therefore a topic of great concern to transportation and wildlife managers. To allow escape for wildlife, earthen ramps are often constructed from inside of the right-of-way, which creates a sharp drop outside the fence allowing wildlife to jump to safety. We provide preliminary results for a monitoring effort focused on mule deer and elk of 11 escape ramps in southwest Colorado. We report on 9 months of monitoring and our results include information on mammal activity and ramp characteristics influencing successful escapes by mule deer.
Scott Sprague, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
With a goal of increasing landscape permeability for pronghorn through fence improvements we considered the implications of modifying range fence structure, moving right-of-way fence away from highways, and eliminating right-of-way fence altogether. With over 171,000 locations from 37 GPS collared pronghorn, we compared fence crossing utilization to availability of fence with attributes such as high or low bottom wire height. We documented that pronghorn do indeed cross a highway much more frequently when right-of-way fence is removed. We also found the fence to highway distance at which improved and peak pronghorn crossing rates occurred.
Simone Freitas, Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), Santo Andre, Brazil
We propose a community approach to identify priority sites to apply road kill mitigation measures. This work aims to evaluate the effects of adjacent landscape characteristics on vertebrate roadkills. The 3 years-study was done in the BR-040 highway, in Brazil. The landscape characteristics around each road kill were quantified, and the distance to the nearest river was also measured. River proximity and herbaceous vegetation cover were associated to most road killed vertebrate groups. The association between river proximity and road kill may indicates that rivers are the preferential route for vertebrates in the region.
|Session 202: It All Adds Up: Considering Investment for the Future|
Brian Bidolli, Greater Bridgeport Regional Council, Bridgeport, Connecticut, United States
Implementation of watershed improvement projects faces many challenges, especially in how to finance work. Learn how the construction of the Pequonnock River Shared-use Trail and coordination with the Pequonnock River watershed management plan became a way to implement projects consistent with the watershed plan and improve water quality. While transportation projects often place stresses on the natural environment, this project illustrates that an alternative transportation mode can achieve both mobility and ecological resiliency.
Ann Broadwell, Florida DOT District Four, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, United States
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), District Four, has identified an emerging need to purchase wetland and endangered species mitigation in advance of transportation projects in order to satisfy National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) coordination. FDOT recognizes that early resolution of mitigation issues streamlines the federal and state coordination process which is paramount to project scheduling and budgeting. The portfolio approach results in FDOT meeting project schedules, reducing project cost, benefitting the environment, achieving watershed restoration goals, and meeting the criteria of state laws. The approach also removes the uncertainty from mitigation success and allows for purchasing mitigation credits at a competitive rate for a range of habitat types and locations.
Gary McVoy and Lindsey Sousa, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Washington, DC, United States
The U.S. National Highway System is approaching build out and a broader perspective on sustainability is emerging within the transportation industry. As commonly practiced, the U.S. National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is rightly focused on impact avoidance, minimization and mitigation; but other tools are becoming increasingly important as maintenance of the existing system becomes more of a focus. Landscape scale approaches such as Eco-logical, and green rating systems such as INVEST, Envision™, STARS, GreenLITES, and others can help identify and highlight a range of impacts and opportunities that are more in keeping with a system wide look at sustainability. Analysis of this range of system wide impacts and opportunities can be approached using Benefit Cost type analyses that monetize a range of Triple Bottom Line sustainability factors using dollar equivalents as a first approximation to communicate and quantify values. This paper will present a review of these tools and feature an example from Minnesota DOT illustrating how Triple Bottom Line Valuation can contribute to the transparent and objective assessment of project prioritization on a programmatic basis.
Benjamin Cotton, US DOT / VOLPE Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
INVEST is a tool developed by the Federal Highway Administration to help transportation agencies learn about, implement, and evaluate best practices in highway sustainability. In the autumn of 2012, FHWA launched Version 1.0 of INVEST after a significant pilot testing process. This paper highlights the outcomes of the pilot test and describes some of the features – many of which were developed as a direct result of pilot test feedback – that have been incorporated into INVEST 1.0.
|Session 203: Working Together for a Common Good|
Betsi Phoebus, Jacobs, Phoenix, Arizona; and Rebecca Yedlin, US DOT Federal Highway Administration - Arizona Division, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
An Environmental Assessments (EA) for a complex project can typically take from 18 months up to 2 years to complete. How did the Arizona Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration publish a Draft EA in six months and develop the Final EA in just over seven months? The saga of Interstate 15 and Virgin River Bridge No. 6 involves federal money with a tight schedule, cooperating agency review of 19 reports and memoranda, formal biological consultation, mitigation of impacts to one of Arizona’s distinctive perennial rivers, a stretch of highway with national and exceptional significance…and more.
Paige Singer, Rocky Mountain Wild, Denver, Colorado; and David Singer, Colorado DOT, Golden, Colorado, United States
The I-70 Wild Byway project is a public-private partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation, Rocky Mountain Wild and many other interested agencies, organizations and individuals across the region. Its goal is to promote the construction of the first wildlife overpass over I-70 in the state of Colorado at Vail Pass. It is our hope that building this first overpass with a combination of public and private funding will provide the needed incentive to build, monitor and evaluate additional wildlife crossing structures across the state, leading to a system of crossing structures built both over and under I-70.
Amanda Hardy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bozeman, Montana, United States
We conducted a Before-After-Control-Impact assessment of elk (Cervus canadensis) and pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) responses to recreational pathway construction and use in an existing transportation corridor in Grand Teton National Park, USA. Results suggest elk were tolerant of construction and use of the pathway. Numbers of pronghorn and their behaviors did not differ in the treatment relative to the control; however, pronghorn shifted farther from the road after construction in the treatment, indicating pronghorn avoided pathway activities. Despite this outcome, pathway construction did not reduce visitor opportunities to see elk and pronghorn in the travel corridor.
|Session 204: Resolution of Wildlife-Highway Conflicts in Arizona: Challenges, Solutions, Partnerships, and Politics|
Carolyn Campbell and Kathleen Kennedy, Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection, Tucson, Arizona; and Todd Williams, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Presenters and Panelists:
Norris Dodd, AZTEC Engineering; Ray Schweinsburg, Arizona Game and Fish Department; Robin Raine, Arizona DOT; Rick Ellis, Pima County DOT; Jim DeGrood, Pima County Regional Transportation Authority; and Karen Howe, Tohono O’odham Nation
Over the last decade, Arizona has produced a series of innovative projects that seek to resolve highway-wildlife conflicts. Beginning with an overview of statewide efforts, this panel session will then focus on Pima County, Arizona, where a regional conservation plan and a unique local funding source totaling $45 million are protecting Sonoran Desert wildlife linkages. This funding is being used for the construction of wildlife linkage infrastructure along major regional roadways, new research, and monitoring. A diverse selection of agency, jurisdictional, and non-governmental representatives will discuss two of these projects along State Routes 77 and 86, addressing challenges and lessons learned.
Session Overview: Todd Williams
Presentation: A Decade of Proactive Progress in Resolving Arizona Highway-Wildlife Conflicts (PDF:1.72MB)
Since building its first wildlife underpasses a decade ago, Arizona has gained notoriety for its major reconstruction projects that address wildlife. ADOT funded a decade of research along 8 highways, and led efforts on a statewide linkage assessment. However, ADOT faces challenges as construction funding dwindles. Retrofitting small widening projects to address wildlife may become a focus; 2 projects along SR 86 and SR 77 were funded by the Pima County Regional Transportation Authority, which may serve as a model for future funding. We provide an overview of ADOT efforts and lay the foundation for the panel discussion to follow.
In Pima County, Arizona, local jurisdictions are successfully building a broad portfolio of wildlife linkage protection projects, based on a regional conservation plan and utilizing a unique and innovative local funding source totaling $45 million. This presentation will cover a history of regional conservation planning efforts, open space acquisition efforts, and the development of a local funding source for wildlife linkages protection. An overview of funded wildlife linkage projects, including wildlife crossings, research, and monitoring, will lead into the panel discussion to follow.
Discussion Moderator: Kathleen Kennedy
This panel discussion will present a case study of the first two major wildlife crossings projects in the Sonoran Desert, both of which were funded by a local funding source totaling $45 million dedicated to wildlife linkages protection. Session objectives will include discussing the many significant challenges that have been overcome; highlighting unique aspects of the projects related to their location in a semi-urban “gateway” area; discussing the unique ecological, land-use, and transportation issues in the project areas; and presenting a varied list of lessons learned from the different perspectives of the presenters that can be applied in other communities.
|Session 205: Planning to Stay Connected|
Tom Roberts, E Sciences, Inc., DeLand, Florida; Mark Easley, Kisinger, Campo & Associates, Inc., Tampa, Florida; Jason Houck, Inwood Consulting Engineers, Inc., Oviedo, Florida; and Hannah Hernandez, Florida Department of Transportation, DeLand, Florida, United States, United States
The session presenters will discuss the Project Development & Environment Study (PD&E) used to evaluate the proposed improvements to SR 40, including the process and methods used to establish the location, size, interior and exterior features, fencing, and maintenance of wildlife crossings. In addition, the multiple ancillary benefits of the project, including significant improvement of motorist safety, improved management of public lands, secondary economic benefits of reconnecting wildlife metapopulations, and land acquisition efforts will be detailed.
Patrick Huber, University of California, Davis, California, United States
We present an example of an integration of connectivity and other conservation needs assessments (“greenprint”) with long range transportation planning (“blueprint”) by the California Department of Transportation (“Caltrans”). To identify a regional greenprint, we integrated the results of several extensive connectivity models, as well as other conservation planning datasets and biological data. To create early project buy-in, we convened several stakeholder meetings in the region. Next we integrated the current road network and planned road projects into a comprehensive transportation blueprint. The greenprint and blueprint were then overlaid and places of overlap were identified and categorized.
Julie Mikolajczyk, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
Habitat fragmentation arising from the development which accompanies human population growth is one of the largest challenges facing wildlife managers today. To address this, the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) has developed several datasets to help inform developers on where issues of landscape permeability are of the greatest concern. Using a wide array of spatial data incorporating as many anthropocentric impacts to the landscape as possible, AGFD collaborated with researchers at the University of Arizona to develop a statewide landscape integrity (LI) index. From that data, unfragmented blocks of land were delineated and important connectivity zones were modeled. The end result is meant to depict general zones where actions may be needed to ensure or restore a connected landscape.
Scott Jackson, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
Phase II of the Critical Linkages project utilized a hybrid of the resistant kernel estimator approach and a graph theoretic approach to assess connectivity at a regional scale. We used a random low-cost path analysis based on resistant surfaces to compute a conductance index for each cell in the landscape. The core of the Critical Linkages II analysis is the assessment of the potential contribution of wildlife passage structures to regional connectivity. A small number of road segments account for a large proportion of potential increase in regional connectivity, suggesting the payoff for a strategic approach could be large.
|Session 206: Addressing Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions and Driver Safety|
Fraser Shilling, University of California, Davis, California, United States
Many California interstates provide commuter traffic and goods movement among regions and cities through wild, protected areas. Collisions between wildlife and vehicles occur frequently, which has prompted Caltrans to seek assistance in assessing the nature, extent, and solutions to potential conflict between traffic and animals. The objectives of the study were to understand how wildlife were currently using available under-crossing structures, how wildlife in general and mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus) in particular interact with the highway and adjacent habitat, and to develop mitigation for risk reduction.
Carme Rosell, Minuartia Environmental Consultants, Sant Celoni - Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Animal-vehicle collisions are a major issue for traffic safety. Despite the measures applied to reduce the conflict, the numbers of accidents involving wildlife (mainly deer and wild boar) are still increasing in many European countries, especially on secondary roads. The strategy for managing the risk of animal-vehicle accidents in the Catalan road network is based on improving data recording and analysis and on a new action plan to improve road safety at hotspots. The road administration leads the plan, and a cooperative approach involving traffic managers, policy-makers, wildlife managers, hunters and drivers is a key factor to achieve the goal.
Nancy Siepel, California DOT, San Luis Obispo, California, United States
State Route 101 near San Luis Obispo, California is a regional highway with high traffic volumes. It also bisects a major wildlife corridor in the Los Padres National Forest, leading to animal-vehicle collisions involving black bear, mule deer, and mountain lion. To address the problem, a wildlife fence was constructed in a roadkill hotspot. The project includes electric mats at unfenced intersections to prevent bear and deer from entering the roadway and jump-out ramps to allow wildlife to escape from the road corridor if necessary. Post-construction monitoring is documenting the fence’s effectiveness at reducing accidents while maintaining regional wildlife connectivity.
Leonard Sielecki, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
As road and highway systems of the United States and Canada have expanded and encroached on wildlife habitats over the last century, and the number of drivers and motor vehicles has increased steadily, the incidence of wildlife-vehicle collisions has grown dramatically. The ability of drivers to deal effectively with wildlife hazards is largely dependent on driving skills, knowledge, experience and awareness of the hazards. For decades, the driver manuals and handbooks published by US state and Canadian provincial authorities have historically been the primary formal source of educational materials for new drivers. A review of official driver manuals and handbooks published over the last 80 years examines the information provided with respect to the fundamental characteristics of wildlife, the hazards wildlife represent, and basic driving techniques necessary to reduce the likelihood and severity of wildlife collisions. The evolution of wildlife-related information in these publications is traced through the decades, and the presentation of critical safety issues, such as wildlife hazard awareness and wildlife collision avoidance or collision severity reduction maneuvers is evaluated. Recommendations are made for improving state and provincial driver manuals and handbooks to protect both drivers and wildlife.
|Session 207: Habitat Protection and Management Solutions for Bats|
Alexander Levy, ARCADIS, Atlanta, Georgia; and Melissa Bridendall, ARCADIS, Lakewood, Colorado, United States
In April 2012 a federally endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) was tracked to the southern Appalachian Mountains of northern Georgia. The first Georgia-documented occurrence for the species in over 40 years, the discovery comes as a fungal epidemic – white-nose syndrome – is extinguishing many cave-dwelling bat species in the eastern US. With government agencies rushing to understand the bat’s status, active transportation projects in northern Georgia were directed to be reevaluated for the presence of suitable summer habitat of the imperiled bat. ARCADIS leveraged its expertise from wind farm studies to conduct region-wide surveys on over 45 miles of roadway corridor.
Arthur Cleveland, California Baptist University, Riverside, California, United States
This research focused on 540 bridges in Georgia. There were 55 bridges identified as occupied by roosting bats. Bridge construction and surrounding habitat characteristics of roost and non-roost bridges were compared to identify bat roosting preferences. Bridge construction techniques and materials, elevation of bridge, age of bridge, distances from water, surrounding habitat and evidence of habitation by bat colonies were considered. Recommendations were made on maintenance and construction activities on bridges supporting existing and future bat roosts. It was further recommended that, when demolition of roost bridges is required, alternative roosting habitat be provided to avoid displacing established bat colonies.
Mark Gumbert, Copperhead Environmental Consulting, Inc., Paint Lick, Kentucky, United States
The Federally Endangered Indiana bat (Myotis sodalis) is a concern for development projects in 23 states. Indiana bats roost and rear young in trees with exfoliating bark, which puts them at risk of adverse impacts from projects that require tree clearing. We developed BrandenBark™, an artificial roost structure, which mimics the natural roosting preferences of the Indiana bat. BrandenBark™ has been shown to be used extensively by an Indiana bat maternity colony in central Kentucky and has been approved as a mitigation technique for linear tree clearing projects by USFWS.
Holly Smith and Justin Stevenson (presenter), RD Wildlife Management, Los Lunas, New Mexico, United States
Worldwide, road infrastructures provide critical habitat for bat communities. Nearly 70% of North America’s bat species use highway bridges as substitutes for natural roosts. Yet, bridges without "bat-friendly" roosts are continually replacing those that function as important roost sites. Learn about the micro-structures bat prefer, why they choose them, and how we can reestablish and improve roosting opportunities for these incredibly important mammals
|Session 208: From the Ground Up: Ecological Solutions for Planning, Design, & Construction|
Dwayne Stenlund, Minnesota DOT, St Paul, Minnesota, United States
This paper describes the regulatory issues, environmental impacts prevention and construction process plan development for drilled shaft and pile test program within the St. Croix River for completing engineering studies of foundation design. Implementation of the environmental commitments were developed using the NPDES Construction Storm water pollution prevention discharge permit framework that incorporates plan narratives, detail drawings for contractor installation of best management practices and rapid plan amending methods based on field conditions. Lessons learned in the drill and test shaft operations are being applied to the actual bridge construction plan for contractor implementation.
Clifton Meek, US Environmental Protection Agency, San Francisco, California, United States
The State Route 180 Westside Expressway project in the Central Valley of California is a proposed 50 mile expressway corridor that would traverse some of the valley’s most sensitive and rare habitats. In 2011, Caltrans released a Draft Tier 1 EIS analyzing 3 proposed alternatives, all of which had significant impacts to waters and habitat. Through agency coordination, a new alternative was created that proved to be transformative for the project, changing the focus to potential environmental benefits that could result. Through several design improvements, the project is now proposing a preferred alternative that addresses historic resource impacts and avoids additional fragmentation of natural habitats and prime farmland, while also allowing for expansion to address future facility needs.
Norma Fernandez Buces, Grupo Selome SA de CV, Mexico City, Mexico
Road construction affects animal populations due to habitat fragmentation and organism loss. Nevertheless, when compensation measures include habitat restoration and ex situ reproduction programs to increase population numbers, endangered species can strongly benefit from a road project. When there are not enough economic resources to develop conservation programs, the opportunity to acquire such resources on behalf of the construction budget proved to be a useful way to get a win-win situation; such is the case of the Lerma Salamander (Ambystoma lermaense; Taylor, 1940) and the Lerma–3 Marias toll highway in Mexico.
L. Rex Ellis, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, United States
Coastal mitigation and shoreline restoration are a part of Florida transportation activities. Soils-based information could improve success if incorporated into the planning and the design of mitigation/restoration projects. Pedology is a soil science discipline focused on soil formation and soil/landscape relationships. The Florida Department of Transportation has partnered with the University of Florida Soil and Water Science Department to expand pedology into subaqueous environments, and has funded several pedological research projects in Florida coastal waters. Subaqueous soil mapping in the Gulf of Mexico provided a proof-of-concept which lead to investigations of coastal restoration and mitigation sites in the Indian River Lagoon and Florida Keys. Geospatial patterns of soil and vegetation provided valuable insight which will improve future site designs and vegetative monitoring.
|Session 209: Wildlife Crossings: Global Issues, Local Solutions|
Jessica Gist, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
GIS models can help mitigate habitat fragmentation by identifying multispecies movement areas to guide siting of crossing structures and other actions. The Arizona Game and Fish Department with Coconino County developed a linkage design for an area of conservation priority in northern Arizona. We identified optimum movement areas using focal species and least-cost modeling and validated our model with empirical data. In collaboration with Arizona Department of Transportation, AGFD research biologists are using our model in conjunction with telemetry studies to guide future siting of crossing structures along Interstate Highway 40, including species for which movement data are not available.
Tamar Achiron-Frumkin, Mevasseret Zion, Israel
Careful design and the adoption of environmental standards are just the first stage towards a successful connectivity solution. Sometimes the interaction between road impacts, the dynamics of other human activities, and their joined impact on wildlife make it difficult to determine how effective mitigation measures are and what can be done to improve performance. This case study, presenting monitoring results from Cross-Israel Highway (road no 6), demonstrates a complex picture of human-wildlife interactions and points to the need to look at the large-scale picture.
Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon, United States
The Lava Butte US97 wildlife crossings project is an example of collaborative cross-agency planning efforts and unique solutions to habitat connectivity and animal-vehicle collisions. This project relied on the Oregon Wildlife Movement Strategy and research on migration and mortality to inform the need for crossing structures. Interagency collaboration was a key element. These efforts resulted in the selection of Lava Butte as an Exemplary Ecosystem Initiative winner by the Federal Highway Administration and highlights Lava Butte as an example project. This paper highlights features that resulted in Lava Butte receiving this award and provides lessons learned to inform future projects.
Esteban Payán Garrido, Panthera Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
A study on vertebrate road mortality and wildlife road crossing was undertaken to influence the design of a highway upgrade in Colombia. A survey of a total of 2,753 km yielded 340 wild vertebrates (an estimated 1,201 kg of biomass) killed by vehicle collisions from at least 32 species. Estimated annual kill rates averaged 45/ind/km. Relative road kill rates ranged 0.05-0.21/km. Mammals where the most prevalent victims with prevalent species being tamanduas, common opossum and crab-eating foxes. We identify the need to create seven new underpasses, adapt 123 existing ones and propose the creation of wildlife friendly segments along the road.
|Session 210: Challenges in Mitigation|
Brandon Howard, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, West Palm Beach, Florida, United States
Mitigation in the coastal environment can be difficult. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has taken a proactive approach to identifying mitigation needs for upcoming transportation projects that included seagrass beds, tidal freshwater, and mangrove wetlands. By implementing mitigation projects up front, the federal permitting process is streamlined and money is saved due to reduced time lag and risk. FDOT analyzes their work program to identify region specific mitigation needs and presence of unique coastal habitats. This may occur one to five years before a permit application is submitted for the construction projects. The presentation will discuss this refined method.
James Thorne and Jackie Bjorkman, University of California, Davis, California, United States
Regional advance mitigation planning (RAMP) incorporates regional planning principals and environmental considerations early in the process of the transportation project review. This method of projecting impacts from multiple projects is more efficient than conventional mitigation because it permits the acquisition of larger areas which is generally more biologically effective, less expensive and can be integrated into larger, regional sustainability designs. This project has two objectives: 1) examine the transferability of methods from completed RAMP projects in California to a pilot area of Highway 101, and 2) test a national geospatial tool developed by the Strategic Highway Research Program II using our pilot area.
Mike Sanderson, North Carolina DOT, Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
North Carolina Highway 12 traverses a series of narrow sand barrier islands along the east coast of the state, passing through sensitive ecological habitat that is home to many federally listed threatened and endangered species. The highway is a crucial travel corridor for residents, businesses, and tourism. Hurricanes in 2011 and 2012 destroyed parts of the highway, breaching it in several locations and ripping gaps in the asphalt hundreds of feet wide. NCDOT was tasked with providing emergency transportation access to thousands of residents and tourists, repairing and re-opening the road quickly, while managing unique ecological, design, and engineering challenges in an environmentally sensitive and physically dynamic area. This presentation will include dramatic photographs and footage of the Hurricane aftermath to highlight the recovery efforts by NCDOT and its partnership with multiple state and federal environmental agencies. Constant collaboration with all agencies involved allowed NCDOT to succeed and build a model for future disaster response.
Ed Latimer, AMEC Environment & Infrastructure, Inc., Phoenix, Arizona, United States
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has a well-defined Winter Storm Management (WSM) program. In the fall of 2011, ADOT contracted a research project to establish initial application rate guidelines of anti-icing and de-icing chemicals to minimize potential environmental impacts through soils, biotic and water analytical information from samples collected in the field over a two-year period (collected before and after WSM activities). The objective is to identify trends indicating the accumulation of winter maintenance chemicals along transportation corridors. The anticipated benefit of this research project is to minimize impacts to water quality and roadside vegetation, including trees, while maintaining desired roadway safety.
|Session 211: Wildlife Accommodations: Adding and Removing Barriers to Protect Habit|
Kelly McAllister, Washington State DOT, Olympia, Washington, United States
U.S. 97 Alternate Route, north of Wenatchee, has had a Mule Deer and Bighorn Sheep collision problem for years. Wildlife advocate conceived a nine mile highway fencing project in 2004. After a considerable amount of political lobbying and fund-raising, the Washington Department of Transportation saw the project through three phases of construction during 2009, 2010, and 2011. The challenges involved with building fence on steep rock, designing effective wildlife guards and other aspects of the project will be described.
Andreas Seiler, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Riddarhyttan, Uppsala, Sweden
We present an analysis of existing infrastructure barriers on larger wildlife in Sweden and the occurrence of existing, conventional bridges that provide a potential passage. Based on previous studies on deer-vehicle collisions, barrier effects and passage use, we developed a set of evaluation criteria to identify deficiencies in infrastructure permeability. Combined with a landscape wide connectivity analysis, these deficiencies provide input to the strategic mitigation plan of the Swedish Transport Administration. We discuss evaluation criteria, the fundamental assumptions and implementation constraints that may enforce rather pragmatic results.
Implementation of an Effective Migratory Bird Nesting Protection Program for a 49-Mile, New Location Toll Road Construction Project in Central Texas: Nest Protection Measures and Results over Three Nesting Seasons (PDF:416KB)
Edward Rashin, Hicks & Company, Austin, Texas, United States
There is often a potential for road construction projects to interact with migratory bird nesting activity, and protection of migratory bird nests is required by law. Imagine a project where one 15-mile segment of new road construction involved implementation of protection measures for over 30 active bird nests, and two thirds of these were ground-nesting birds that established their nests on freshly graded ground within active construction zones. This project provided an intensive if not somewhat unique opportunity to develop and evaluate the elements of an effective migratory bird nest protection program.
Mary Gray, Parsons, Sacramento, California, United States
San Joaquin kit fox in Bakersfield, California have adapted to the urban environment where industrial and residential development have expanded and replaced native plant communities. Unlike elsewhere within their range, the kit fox in Bakersfield rely primarily on anthropogenic habitats in which natural ecological processes are nonexistent or substantially altered. Most kit fox dens in Bakersfield are earthen, but kit fox can also exploit a variety of anthropogenic structures for denning. Proposed roadway improvement projects in the city will result in temporary and permanent loss of habitats known to support the San Joaquin kit fox. To mitigate this loss, an artificial den strategy for kit fox was developed collaboratively by local, state, and federal agencies to provide long-term protection of artificial dens within the city limits in City-owned sumps (i.e. storm-water drainage basins).
|Session 212: Landscape and Legacy: Integrated Strategies for Resource Protection, Transportation and Stewardship at Grand Canyon National Park (PDF:73KB)|
Organizer and Moderator:
Vicky Stinson, National Park Service, Flagstaff, Arizona, United States
Presenters and Panelists:
Jan Busco, Grand Canyon National Park; Andy Dufford, Chevo Studios, Denver, Colorado; and Jason Fann, Fann Contracting, Inc, Prescott, Arizona
This case study follows planning, design and construction processes utilized to resolve pressing transportation issues at Grand Canyon’s South Rim. The goal of solving transportation issues was achieved; unanticipated, however, was how this transportation 'fix' evolved into a legacy project that fundamentally changed how millions of visitors experience the Grand Canyon. From the perspectives of a Project Manager, Horticulturalist, Artist and Contractor learn how holistic transportation solutions can increase user capacity and efficiency while enhancing landscape environments; use of native materials can inspire beautiful, enduring designs; and, collaboration between contractors, artists, engineers and resource specialists results in high quality outcomes.
|Panel Session 300: Highway Wilding - Documentary Film Screening and Discussion (PDF:273KB)|
Rachelle Haddock, Miistakis Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Leanne Allison, Filmmaker, Necessary Journeys, Alberta, Canada; Rob Ament and Tony Clevenger, Western Transportation Institute – Montana State University, Bozeman, Montana, United States; and Tracy Lee, Miistakis Institute, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Build them and they will live. That is the simple message in this 22-minute documentary that looks at the issue of highways, and some of the pioneering solutions that exist to prevent road kill and reconnect landscapes across highways. In the Rocky Mountains we have one of the last best chances in the world to maintain a fully functioning ecosystem with all the native large carnivores, but roads are a major problem. Everything from grizzly bears to wolverines and ducks to salamanders need to get across roads safely for breeding, to find food, adapt to climate change, or to migrate. The Highway Wilding film screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the film including road ecology researchers featured in, or involved with, the creation of the film.
|Session 401: Wildlife Connections: Big or Small, It All Matters|
Ramesh C. Sharma, HNB Garhwal University, Srinagar-Garhwal, Uttarakhand, India
National Highway-58, a strategically important highway passing through Uttarakhand connects Delhi with Tibet and China. It caters the need of high volume of pilgrims to the world famous Indian shrines – Badrinath, Kedarnath and Hemkund Saheb. An Indian primate, Hanuman Langur (Presbytes entellus), a sacred animal treated as Hanuman God has significant population near NH-58. Vehicle- collisions with Hanuman langur is a serious problem due to high volume of traffic flow on NH-58. Viable appropriate mitigation measures including the use of innovative vegetative overpasses, speed reduction and adequate sign boards on sharp turns have been suggested for minimising vehicle – animal collisions.
Priya Nanjappa, AFWA/PARC, Washington, DC; and Kimberly M. Andrews, University of Georgia and Jekyll Island Authority, Aiken, South Carolina, United States
Small animals are low profile because they are literally small and less visually obvious to drivers, thus presenting reduced human safety or economic damage risk. Therefore, these taxa receive little attention in transportation planning, even where mortality rates exceed those of other vertebrates. By considering ecological infrastructure, the connections among habitat components (nesting, foraging, overwintering) that are necessary for life history processes (breeding, dispersal), we can reduce conflicts between human infrastructure and ecological infrastructure. We present information from our upcoming book on how proactive and collaborative solutions to address low profile animals can minimize high profile problems.
Hayley Connolly-Newman, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, United States
Previous research has focused on cover at or near the entrance of underpasses and culverts for small mammals, but not completely through large US wildlife underpasses. The study measured the effect of cover on small mammal presence and movement in 10 wildlife underpasses on US Highway 93 North, between Evaro and St Ignatius, Montana. Course woody debris was added to 5 randomly selected treatment structures in January of 2012. Sherman live traps then recorded presence and movement in the 10 structures in fall 2012.
Barbara Charry, Maine Audubon, Falmouth, Maine, United States
Collecting large amounts of data would not be possible without volunteers. Using a statewide online reporting system, citizen scientist volunteers contribute observations of either dead or live animals observed along roads. The data collected by volunteers is being used to identify animal movement 'hotspots', and assess habitat and roads for common characteristics associated with wildlife crossings. In addition to providing information to most effectively guide implementation of solutions to animal-vehicle collisions and habitat fragmentation, volunteer involvement creates a constituency of knowledgeable and supportive citizens for the implementation of solutions. We will share data analysis results to date and lessons learned.
|Session 402: Designing Crossings for Wildlife and Automobiles|
Patricia Cramer, Utah State University, Logan, Utah, United States
How do you get an elk to move through any type of crossing structure? Can you move moose through culverts? What are the best designs for wildlife crossings that pass mule deer? Results are presented from a five year study across Utah on the wildlife crossings that were most successful in passing mule deer, elk, moose, and other wildlife. Recommendations for optimal structural lengths, heights, and widths for passing mule deer, elk, and moose will be given. The presentation will also show really cool pictures and videos of wildlife.
Mirjam Barrueto, Miistakis Institute, University of Calgary, Banff, Alberta, Canada
Camera use in ecological field studies is rapidly increasing worldwide. However, digital cameras can record large numbers of photographs, which have to be downloaded and interpreted before analysis. There have been few attempts to develop photo-classification database programs to aid in the process of interpretation and storage of photographs from digital cameras. Our application allows for a quick and efficient classification of photographs, automatically inputs the classified data into a master database, and stores the photographs in an archived photograph folder. The system is user-friendly and citizen scientists can be trained to use it in a few hours.
William Ruediger, Wildlife Consulting Resources, Missoula, Montana, United States
Despite increasingly constrained funding for wildlife crossings, there are still numerous opportunities to provide wildlife connectivity across highways. These opportunities are available in every state for existing highways as well as those undergoing reconstruction. The authors will explore options for utilizing structures whose primary purpose is for other purposes. For example, there is an on-going requirement to rebuild aging highway bridges. The current inventory for bridge replacements is 30,000 to 40,000 structures. The cost of providing habitat connectivity for structures designed for other purposes is usually a fraction of single-purpose wildlife crossings.
Linda Figg, FIGG, Tallahassee, Florida, United States
Designing and building sustainable bridge solutions is paramount to the environmental and economic success of communities. One in four U.S. bridges is rated as deficient. As our aging infrastructure is replaced, a dynamic of environmental awareness and new materials provides opportunity to transform the future of the way we connect. Through environmental context, design, and connection, bridges can truly be a celebration of our natural landscape. New environment friendly technologies, such as solar energy, pollution reducing nano-technologies, and recycled materials, can be incorporated in bridges. Technologies and specialized materials provide sustainable benefits for the environment today and in the future. A series of bridge case studies will be presented.
|Session 403: Integrating Ecology in Planning and Design|
Xueping Chen and Shuangcheng Tao (presenter), China Academy of Transportation Sciences, Beijing, China
The Shennongjia-Yichang Highway is a demonstration eco-highway project in China. It runs along the Fragrant Creek in a narrow canyon, and its terminal point is close to the Shennongjia National Nature Reserve, a member of MAB. This paper reviews the best practices taken to mitigate the environmental impact during the highway upgrading, contributing to an understanding the on-going efforts of natural conservation in China. The practices involves the measures adopted to optimize the route design, landscape evaluation and improvement, the innovative and integrated re-vegetation technologies for the slopes.
Kris Gade, Arizona DOT, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
This study focuses on the functional traits that allow plants to disperse along highways in arid regions. Field methods included soil nitrogen sampling, seed bank sample collection and germination, vegetation surveys, and seed trapping. Seed trapping showed that wind and air currents related to traffic play a major role in seed dispersal. Ongoing maintenance regimes and dry nitrogen deposition influence species composition and distribution along highways over the long term. Using a functional trait approach to studying roadside plants will allow us to better understand the ecological effects of design and maintenance practices on roadside plant communities.
Jennifer Hopwood, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Hickory Corners, Michigan, United States
Pollinators contribute an essential ecosystem service, providing pollination for 85% of flowering plants worldwide and 35% of global crop production. Recent declines of pollinators may impact the stability of natural ecosystems and agricultural productivity. Roadsides managed with pollinators in mind could have a significant impact on pollinator conservation. Best management practices include consideration of timing and frequency of mowing, spot spraying rather than broadcast use of herbicides, and surveys to identify existing roadside habitat that provides native plant resources for wildlife. Roadside managers can develop a management strategy that addresses safety concerns while also benefiting wildlife such as pollinators.
Laura Jackson, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, United States
The web-based EnviroAtlas is an easy-to-use mapping and analysis tool built by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and its partners to provide information, data, and research on the relationships between ecosystems, built infrastructure, and societal well-being. EnviroAtlas is designed to inform decision alternatives in management sectors including transportation, public health, water supply, recreation, and environmental conservation. With this tool, the locations of continuous wildlife habitat, natural riparian buffers, and other valuable “green infrastructure” can be considered early in the transportation planning process to avoid important large- and fine-scale environmental assets and identify where mitigation can elicit maximum societal benefits.
|Panel Session 404: Lanes, Landscape and Life: Integrated Transportation Planning for Eco-Conscious Highways (PDF:84KB)|
Carlee Brown, Western Governors' Association, Denver, Colorado; Julianne Schwarzer, US DOT Volpe Center, Cambridge, Massachusetts; Marlys Osterhues (Moderator), US DOT Federal Highway Administration, Washington DC; and Gregg Servheen, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Boise, Idaho, United States
Julianne Schwarzer; Gregg Servheen; Fraser Schilling, University of California, Davis, California; Deb Wambach, Montana Department of Transportation, Helena, Montana; and Laura Canaca, Arizona Game and Fish Department, Phoenix, Arizona, United States
This session will examine the ways that the large-scale approaches offered through the U.S. Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Eco-Logical approach and the Western Governors’ Association’s Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool (CHAT) can inform transportation decision-making and conserve critical environmental resources and will draw connections between the related efforts. The session will feature a panel of experts and will inform attendees of the ways in which they can become involved in Eco-Logical and CHAT, as well as the resources and technical support available. Discussion with panelists will address the potential for both initiatives to work collaboratively and efficiently.