Remedying Idaho's Priority Wildlife Crossings
Wildlife & Ecosystems
Research Idea Scope
Idaho has mapped approximately 315 wildlife linkages associated with its road and highway system using expert opinion workshops and a rapid assessment protocol. Of these, 37 have been identified as priority wildlife crossings because they are either or both a significant threat to public safety and a wildlife conservation threat. This project proposes validating each of these 37 priority wildlife linkage/crossing areas and proposing solutions to public safety and wildlife conservation posed at each crossing based on site specific data and situations. Priority wildlife linkage/crossings will be validated using the following protocol. 1) A map of known wildlife mortality from wildlife/vehicle collisions will be mapped using the existing metadata (http://www.socialtext.net/idahohighwaywildlifelinkage/index.cgi ) and as provided through the existing web-based data collection tool (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/roadkill/ ). 2) Each mapped linkage site will then be evaluated for potential remediation actions and data needs that might inform and remedy public safety and wildlife crossing problems. Remediation will include but not be limited to highway enhancements such as fencing, barriers, warning signs, underpasses and overpasses, as well as other actions including habitat protection and changes in or protection of land use. Existing wildlife data relevant to each site will be compiled. Data will include but not be limited to wildlife/vehicle collision data, important migration and conservation linkage and corridor areas, sensitive and listed species occurrence and habitats, and big game harvest and winter survey data. 3) A cost:benefit model will be developed to assess solutions to public safety and wildlife conservation at identified linkage sites. Model variables will include existing data on highway enhancement technology and strategies, land use and conservation practices, and expected wildlife conservation outcomes to predict cost:benefit for one or more actions that might alleviate or eliminate the threats to public safety and wildlife conservation at each priority linkage area. 4) Each of the priority wildlife linkage zones will be assessed by the model and a suite of proposed solutions provided for each priority crossing. 5) Data gaps and needs for each site will be identified and prioritized. 6) All data will be added to the Idaho wildlife wiki for ready availability and use. Finally, we will initiate more intensified wildlife-vehicle collision data collection on each validated site through use of the web-based data collection tool and identification of agency, Tribal, Transportation, or citizen cooperators who might regularly collect and enter data for the identified stretch of road.
Urgency and Payoff
Builds upon existing work already accomplished in Idaho. Based on site-specific and priority management needs with direct and applied benefits. Develops an integrated approach to solving wildlife linkage and public safety problems. Focuses on areas that are a priority in terms of wildlife conservation, public safety, or both. Cooperative project with potential cost share and in-kind match to leverage funding.
Gregg Servheen, Idaho Dept of Fish and Game