Safe Road Crossings for Wildlife

The Path to Survival as the Climate Changes

NWF, in partnership with the Vermont Natural Resources Council and the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department, is currently launching its Critical Paths for Wildlife project, through a grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Action Opportunities Fund.  This project uses both Geographic Information System modeling and ground-truthing to prioritize critical north-south wildlife road crossings in the State of Vermont.  Our project attempts to meet the objectives of the Vermont State Wildlife Action Plan, which specifically addresses the impacts of roads on wildlife habitat, and identifies the need to prioritize road crossing areas for wildlife.  Several terrestrial species of Greatest Conservation Concern in Vermont rely on safe road crossings to move within their core habitat, and many species will require better north-south connectivity to be able to migrate in elevation and in latitude as the global climate changes.

 

Our primary objectives are to: 1) identify and prioritize important crossing areas through an analysis of the Vermont Habitat Linkage Analysis data layer; 2) test the model on the ground to determine where there are bottlenecks and impermeable crossings; and 3) develop a strategy that will increase the permeability of high priority crossing sites through land acquisition or conservation, road mitigation, or other roadside improvements.