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Integrated training course for engineers and wildlife biologists

  • Author(s): Jacobson, Sandra L.
  • Brennan, Terry
  • et al.
Abstract

The need for a comprehensive (yet concise) training course on the basics of highway and wildlife interactions has become more apparent as more transportation engineers and wildlife biologists are faced with demands to consider wildlife mortality and connectivity issues and to incorporate wildlife crossing structures in highway projects. The USDA Forest Service has developed an interagency, interdisciplinary two-day training session that walks engineers and biologists through the basics of habitat connectivity, impacts to wildlife from highways, effective mitigation measures, funding sources, and law and policy related to highway projects. This course, Innovative Approaches to Wildlife and Highway Interactions, has been designed to be taught by a wildlife biologist and a transportation engineer, with a target audience of mixed, mid-level professionals who are planning highway projects of various types. The course was designed to integrate disciplines so that the challenging situations we face in highway projects can be innovatively solved and networking between agencies and disciplines is facilitated. The course is modular and based on the Wildlife Crossings Toolkit (http://www.wildlifecrossings.info), also developed by the USDA Forest Service, and current scientific works. Eight sessions across the country have been completed since course development, with participants from eight state DOT’s, FHWA, NGO’s, state fish and wildlife agencies, FWS, and three federal resource agencies. Departments of transportation and resource agencies are welcome to host training sessions across the country with these training materials and instructors. Funding for the course development was provided by the Coordinated Transportation Improvement Project fund, an interagency pooled fund.

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