Determining Wildlife Use Of Wildlife Crossing Structures Under Different Scenarios

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Determining Wildlife Use Of Wildlife Crossing Structures Under Different Scenarios

Patricia Cramer, Utah State University, Department of Wildland Resources and Utah Transportation Center - 2012

Organization: Utah Department of Transportation Research Division

Location: Utah

Abstract:

This research evaluated Utah’s wildlife crossing structures to help UDOT and the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources assess crossing efficacy. In this study, remote motion-sensed cameras were used at 14 designated wildlife crossing culverts and bridges, and 21 existing culverts and bridges built for other purposes. Over three years (2008-2011), through June 2011, the 35 cameras recorded 23,957 mule deer passages through designated wildlife crossings, and 1,093 passages under existing culverts and bridges. The results support the statements: 1)  mule deer will use bridges to pass under Utah highways, and the bridged overpass to pass over Interstate 15; 2) mule deer prefer shorter culverts, mule deer rates of repellency increased with culvert length, wildlife crossing culverts should be less than 120 feet (36.5 m) long ; 3) culvert width, as animals pass under the road, is more important to mule deer than culvert height, they prefer wider spaces; 4) mule deer, elk, and moose will rarely to never use existing concrete box culverts under interstates unless wildlife fencing (8 feet, 2.4 m high) is present, but once wildlife fencing is present, will only use these structures in limited numbers; 5) all US 6 and Interstate-70 wildlife crossing bridges, culverts, and arch bridges passed mule deer; 6) elk rarely used culverts and  bridge structures, it is extremely difficult to build wildlife crossing structures for elk passage; and 7) overall wildlife crossings are working for mule deer. Future crossings that are predicted to work best should be short in length, and wide in span.

Tags:

Document Type: mitigation monitoring results
Project Type: fencing overpass underpass
Infrastructure Asset: existing roadway large underpass medium underpass
Fauna: large mammals