Road infrastructure such as culverts and bridges are sometimes retrofitted or designed as wildlife road crossings. Keeping wildlife off of roads and preventing collisions with vehicles is important for wildlife and human safety. Wildlife must move on the landscape to find food, shelter, mates and new territories, and successful movement across roads is necessary for healthy populations.
Starting in December 2014, Maine Audubon, with support from the Nature Conservancy, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and the Maine Department of Transportation, placed wildlife cameras at ten bridge and culvert locations to determine whether wildlife were using existing road infrastructure.
The project goal was to document the use of culverts and bridges of different sizes and materials by terrestrial and semi-aquatic wildlife species in locations that had not been designed as wildlife crossings. Particularly in a landscape without significant development pressure or high volumes of road traffic which make the roads difficult for wildlife to cross. Questions included:
· Are wildlife using the structures?
· What species are using them?
· Which types of structures are being used?
Results from this study can then inform potential retrofit actions for existing structures both in these locations and elsewhere to enhance wildlife movement.
Photographs of each road crossing structure and associated wildlife observations can be viewed on the web at wildlifeobserver.net/ by going to the “Maine Audubon Project” under the “Projects” tab.