Chris Goodson (Georgia Department of Transportation)
Chris Goodson has been with the Georgia DOT Ecology Section for ~15 years and currently serves as Ecology Section Manager. He works with internal, non-governmental, state, and federal partners to establish efficient policies and procedures that incentivize environmentally sensitive design. Chris has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies from Emory University and is a member of the ICOET Steering and Program Committees.
Kimberly Andrews (University of Georgia)
[Moderator] Dr. Kimberly Andrews is faculty with the University of Georgia Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant where she manages the Coastal Ecology Lab. Her lab conducts ecological research to guide the retention and restoration of the health of wildlife populations and their habitats. She translates scientific findings to develop management directives and communication strategies with communities, landowners, and decision-makers. She is a member of the TRB Committee on Environmental Analysis and Ecology (AEP70) and serves on the ICOET Steering and Program Committees.
Peter Leete is Minnesota’s Transportation Hydrologist (since 2002). This position is with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and serves as a liaison with the Department of Transportation, focusing on hydrology, ecology, and permit coordination to balance the needs of the state’s transportation activities and protection/enhancement of the state’s natural resources. His college education began in Forest Management at Oregon State University in 1977 and completed with a BS at the University of Minnesota in Renewable Resource Science, with emphasis in Hydrology (a precursor to Watershed Management). He has been with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources since 1989, and has held several positions within the Divisions of Forestry, Lands & Minerals, and Ecological & Water Resources.
Susan Staffeld works in the Arkansas DOT Environmental Division as the Lead Environmental Impact Analyst with the primary responsibility of NEPA document preparation and review. Her interest in finding effective ways to reduce human impacts on wildlife while balancing the need for low-cost infrastructure improvements has been put to use working with ArDOT engineers, federal resource agencies, and project contractors to mitigate for highway projects that sever wildlife passage between natural areas.
Wildlife passage, especially as it relates to wildlife-vehicle conflict (WVC), continues to be a hot topic in transportation ecology as researchers and practitioners look for ways to design and fund structures wherever needs arise. Unfortunately, the cost and frequent lack of political support for wildlife-specific over- and under-passes can cause significant barriers for investing in these structures in all but the most critical of cases. Conversely, transportation agencies invest substantial financial resources to pass water underneath transportation infrastructure in the form of bridges and culverts. The American Society of Civil Engineers estimates that there are more than 617,000 bridges across the United States. Add culverts to that number the number of drainage structures across the U.S. grows exponentially. With the need to maintain and replace existing structures, there are real opportunities to provide cost-effective new-build and retrofit solutions that improve safety for wildlife and the traveling public. What if these drainage structures could be adapted to also accommodate terrestrial wildlife passage? Some transportation agencies are already developing strategies for utilizing this effective approach!
This 90-minute workshop aims to bring together researchers and practitioners with varying levels of experience on this topic to discuss proposed and tested methods for adapting drainage structures for wildlife passage, as well as to identify common hurdles and lessons learned. Participants will hear from practitioners who have successfully incorporated innovative wildlife passage solutions into their transportation programs or engaged in research and monitoring on this topic. Additionally, participants are encouraged to bring their own experiences, resources, and questions to this forum. Between moderated presentations and open dialogue, this workshop will produce a “playbook” for adapting drainage structures for wildlife passage that can be used as a reference guide for anyone hoping to influence their own practices. Finally, this workshop will document knowledge gaps where additional research may be needed to support future, innovative wildlife passage strategies.