Webinar: Predicting future conflicts between roads and wildlife connectivity
Presenters: Pat McGowen, Western Transportation Institute, Montana State University (WTI); Meredith McClure, Center for Large Landscape Conservation (CLLC); Cameron Ellis, Sonoran Institute; Rob Ament, WTI and CLLC.
In this project, the Sonoran Institute, Center for Large Landscape Conservation, Montana State University’s Western Transportation Institute (WTI) and Future West investigated the potential impacts of future housing development on transportation to determine where increased traffic volumes will most likely impact connectivity for carnivores. The focus of this pilot study was Flathead and Lincoln counties in northwestern Montana. The results focus on mitigation for rarer species like bears and wolverines; it does not address or use data from road kill “hot spots” which are primarily deer and other common ungulates.
This effort is unique in that it projects development into the future and identifies potential problem sites before the impacts arrive. With foresight and collaborative efforts, the impacts of future development can be mitigated to maintain habitat connectivity within the study area. The researchers seek to inform the long range plans (5-20 year time horizons) of county, state transportation, wildlife, and federal land management agencies to incorporate wildlife’s impending needs.