Year of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Department or School/College
Environmental Studies Program
GNESA, NCDE, remote cameras, roadkill, wildlife-vehicle collisions, crossing structures, wildlife trails
University of Montana
Highways have been shown to fragment wildlife habitats and populations. In order to mitigate the effects that highways have on wildlife, it is important to assess where wildlife appear to be moving in close proximity to the highway. I surveyed for wildlife trails that approached either side of a ~64 km stretch U.S. Highway 2 (US-2) and monitored these trails with remote cameras. Ungulates, especially deer, were the most commonly photographed animals on trails. A limited number of photographs were also taken of coyote, black bear, snowshoe hare, wolf, and cougar. Camera images showed that wildlife tended to use roadside trails during hours of lower traffic volumes. I used multiple logistic regression at three scales (50 m, 250 m, and 500 m) followed by model selection with Akaike’s Information Criterion to assess the impacts of certain landscape features on the location of wildlife trails (used) versus randomly generated points (unused). I examined the clustering of wildlife trails and found them to be clustered at all distance scales less than 39 km—with the strongest clustering occurring at the 5-8 km scales. The 5 km segment of highway with the highest density of trails was located from Milepost (MP) 181-184. Crossing zones were delineated based on a combination of the number of trails, previously identified wildlife crossings, camera incidents-per-day, potential parcels of land for conservation, and highway and railroad structures in a given area (usually a 5 km segment). The results of this study may serve as useful baseline information to the Great Northern Environmental Stewardship Area working group (GNESA) and its partners to help guide future research and mitigation projects in the US-2 corridor.
Roesch, Mike J., "IDENTIFYING WILDLIFE CROSSING ZONES FOR THE PRIORITIZATION OF HIGHWAY MITIGATION MEASURES ALONG U.S. HIGHWAY 2: WEST GLACIER, MT TO MILEPOST 193" (2010). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 540.
© Copyright 2010 Mike J. Roesch