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Management Considerations for Designing Carnivore Highway Crossings

  • Author(s): Ruediger, William (Bill) C.
  • et al.

Many agencies are contemplating building wildlife crossings to reduce wildlife mortality, to improve habitat connectivity, and to reduce vehicle collisions. For this to occur without problems and interagency disagreements, relationships between agencies and key individuals must be well-developed. Once relationships are in-place highway improvements and wildlife habitat objectives are more easily integrated. The second step in coordinating wildlife issues with transportation is development of interagency statewide, regional or highway specific wildlife habitat linkage plans. These determine a number of critical factors necessary to locate wildlife crossings, prioritize opportunities and focus funding and personnel. To be effective, transportation, wildlife management and land management agencies must be involved in these plans. The third step involves choosing the appropriate location, structure type and structure size for target species. This process must take into consideration more than biological criteria and includes cost factors and construction feasibility issues born by highway agencies. Last, monitoring will help improve future wildlife crossing efforts and help all agencies and the public gain confidence in their effectiveness.

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