Mojave desert tortoise road passage effectiveness
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Research Idea Scope
Research is necessary to investigate the effects of roads and passages on threatened Mojave desert tortoise genetics, demography, and population connectivity. It will also be helpful to conduct additional research on optimal design criteria (e.g., width, height, placement) to ensure maximum use of passages. We need to better understand how decreasing fragmentation (e.g. installation of wildlife passages) is predicted to decrease risk to the tortoise.
Urgency and Payoff
This will allow us to prioritize highway defragmentation locations for restoring connectivity, prioritize locations for installation of highway barrier fencing, and other associated road mitigation measures. The findings would help with designing mitigation projects related to installation and maintenance of passage for the threatened Mojave desert tortoise, for which we currently have very little information.
Catherine Darst USFWS