Webinar: Where people and wildlife intersect—Prioritizing mitigation of road impacts on wildlife connectivity in the US Northern Rockies
Presenter: Meredith McClure, Center for Large Landscape Conservation
Roads pose a growing threat to the iconic wildlife of the Northern Rockies. We created an index of road risk to wildlife based on roadside carcass data, then overlaid corridors modeled by the Western Governors’ Association Wildlife Corridors Initiative to understand how risk and connectivity values align. We found that high risk road segments tended to have low connectivity value, though carnivores tended to be killed closer to corridors than did ungulates. Based on these findings, we identify four alternative sets of priority sites for mitigating road impacts on wildlife that together capture the unique perspectives of diverse stakeholder groups, including departments of transportation, land managers, citizen groups, and conservation practitioners. We describe characteristics of alternative priority sites through case studies, and conclude by highlighting opportunities for stakeholder groups to engage in the mitigation process.
Meredith McClure is a Conservation Scientist with the Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLCC), a Bozeman-based nonprofit organization that seeks to strategically connect ideas, individuals, and institutions to conserve Earth’s resilient, vital large landscapes. Meredith supports this mission by synthesizing scientific information in novel ways and conducting value-added analyses to fulfill the information needs of CLLC's other program areas and partners, particularly in identifying priority places and actions for conserving connected landscapes. Meredith completed her graduate research at Montana State University in landscape ecology in 2012, testing models commonly used to predict corridors against actual wildlife movement data. Her past and ongoing work has explored connectivity-related processes in diverse settings, including the nationwide spread of feral swine, puma movements in the Greater Grand Canyon, and the transmission of Hendra virus among Australian flying foxes.