Determining Wildlife Use Of Wildlife Crossing Structures Under Different Scenarios


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


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.


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