Office of Environmental Services Staff Lead Wildlife Crossing Research
ODOT Research initiated two in-house projects in 2012. The second of these, led by the Office of Environmental Services staff, will measure the effectiveness of small wildlife crossing culverts and exclusion fencing constructed along a state route in northern Ohio. The culvert and fencing in the study were installed as part of a paving project in 2011. This experimental approach is designed to increase the permeability of roadways for wildlife. The culvert and exclusion fencing is in one of the largest areas of semi-wilderness remaining in heavily populated northern Ohio. Routine project field reviews by ODOT biologists revealed a disproportionately high number of animals consistently killed along the study area. Of particular concern are small amphibian and reptile species, some threatened or endangered.
The primary research questions to be addressed are:
- What, if any, wildlife are using the fencing and culverts?
- Is the exclusion fencing successful in reducing road kill?
- Do adjacent landscape features affect wildlife use of crossing structures?
- Is the design as installed an efficient and effective method of mitigating wildlife impacts of roadways?
The majority of the project budget will be used for monitoring systems. Monitoring will be ongoing through 2013. Studying the existing experimental crossing will advance wildlife culvert design considerations for Ohio and provide a case study to aid in future decisions on these types of roadway improvements. Further, use of the techniques and equipment proposed for this project could be transferred to other ODOT wildlife crossings.
For more information about the story or the research, contact Matt Perlik at Matthew.Perlik@dot.state.oh.us or (614) 466-1937.