Justifying Environmental Stewardship: Oregon Department of Transportation’s Wildlife Collision Prevention Plan Case Study
- Author(s): Trask, Melinda
- et al.
Although there is widespread knowledge of the effects of roads on wildlife populations and driver safety, many transportation departments are reluctant to expend state or federal funds to research and address wildlife movement problems on their highways. For many years, Oregon lacked direction on this issue from natural resource, regulatory, and highway agencies. All groups were at the proverbial standstill for years: the natural resources and regulatory agencies urged ODOT to address the problem of highways as wildlife movement barriers, and ODOT sought guidance from natural resources and regulatory agencies to define the scope of the problem. Additionally, ODOT faced internal resistance to collecting baseline information because of the perception that it was another unfunded environ¬mental mandate. Before the ODOT Geo-Environmental Section proposed a statewide mitigation program for wildlife movement and transportation conflicts, it was necessary to obtain direct support from external natural resources agencies. The Oregon Wildlife Movement Strategy was formed in 2006, as an interagency partnership to address wild¬life movement issues in Oregon. Once external support was obtained and documented, Geo-Environmental pursued internal support, particularly from units involved in maintenance, planning, traffic, safety, and the regional technical centers. However, we are continuing to communicate with external and internal stakeholders throughout development of a Wildlife Collision Prevention program for our Agency. The program will provide guidance to ODOT stakeholders for scoping of wildlife passages during project planning and development, funding alternatives, and design considerations for key species