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US 93 Preliminary Post Construction Wildlife Crossing Structure Monitoring

With the majority of US 93 Evaro – Polson (The Peoples Way) reconstruction work on the Flathead Indian Reservation nearly complete, the Tribal Wildlife Management Program is now moving into the next phase of assuring the highway is fitting into the landscape and Spirit of Place. The Peoples Way project set a new standard for maintenance of movement migration opportunities for wildlife near highways. To ensure that these measures are working, monitoring of the wildlife crossing structures for wildlife use is paramount.

A small-scale, preliminary post-construction wildlife monitoring project is currently underway as a cooperative study between Montana Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, and the Western Transportation Institute. A small number of motion-sensing animal detection cameras and animal tracking beds have been installed to monitor wildlife crossing structures and their use by wildlife. Previous crossing structure studies have shown that while some wildlife species will use the crossing structures immediately, others take time to find and trust the passage.

Through these initial monitoring efforts, biologists are finding that numerous species are using the crossing structures, and some species are using them as regular travel corridors within their home ranges. The Tribal Wildlife Management Program and the other agency partners are currently seeking funding to conduct a large scale, post -construction monitoring effort to begin in 2010.

Part of the success of wildlife crossing structures comes from animals having a sense of security while approaching or crossing through the structures. Increased public presence or use of the crossing structure could lead to some individuals or entire species avoiding the crossing structures thus not using them for safe passage across the highway. We appreciate your enthusiasm, but please avoid entering the wildlife crossing structures.

Enjoy the photos! You are free to use them in presentations or publications, please display the citation on the photo if you do.

AVAILABLE DOCUMENTATION

BULLET Handbook for Design and Evaluation of Wildlife Crossing Structures in North America
BULLET Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Reduction Study
BULLET Best Practices Manual, Wildlife-vehicle Collision Reduction Study
BULLET Evaluation of Wildlife Crossing Structures and Fencing on US Highway 93 Evaro to Polson
BULLET Cost–benefit analyses of mitigation measures aimed at reducing collisions with large ungulates in the United States and Canada

Photos of the Structures:

4-Lane Divided Highway with Underpass

Corrugated Metal Arch Culvert

Expansion Bridge with Wildlife Paths

Wildlife Jumpout & Wildlife Fencing

Wildlife Overpass

Wildlife Crossing Guard

Wildlife Crossing Guard

Department Pages
Natural Resources Department
Environmental Protection Division
Fish, Wildlife, Recreation and Conservation Division
Water Management Division
 
Bullet Wildland Recreation
Bullet Wildlife Program
Bullet Wildlife Crossing
Bullet Fisheries Program
   
documents available
Bullet CSKT Wolf Management Plan
   
referred links
Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks
Montana Chapter of American Fisheries Society
Current stream flow conditions in Montana
Native American Fish and Wildlife Society
bullet Montana Chapter of the Wildlife Society
   
Tom McDonald
Division Manager
Email
Dale Becker
Wildlife Manager
Email
Les Evarts
Fisheries Manager
Email
Lester Bigcrane
Wildland Recreation Manager
Email
Pablo Espinoza
Fish & Game/Conservation Manager
Email
Germaine White
Info & Education
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