Breaking Travel Barriers for Upstate Animals Also Protects Humans
Thursday, March 14, 2013
NEW YORK - The same highways that keep New Yorkers connected upstate can also block natural connections for wildlife, and local conservationists are working on cost-effective solutions. Alissa Rafferty and her team at the Adirondacks Chapter of the Nature Conservancy have been busy studying animal traffic patterns of species such as bobcats and bears. She said her group has made it a priority to figure out where human impacts, such as high-density highways, may be cutting off natural connections.
"Roads can be a huge barrier to wildlife movement," she said, "and animal-vehicle collisions are also costly and pose a great threat to people as well."
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is helping to fund the research in a project called "Staying Connected in the Northern Appalachians." The effort will help safeguard wildlife in the Northern Forest, Rafferty said, which covers two countries and more than 80 million acres.
Rafferty is working with the State Department of Transportation to propose cost-effective changes that can be made during routine maintenance, she said, such as how to facilitate passage for wildlife and also make it safer for people.
"Options like increasing culvert size, creating strategic fence breaks and putting up signs for motorists are just some examples," she explained.
How are animal traffic patterns tracked? Rafferty said they are using motion-detecting cameras and a very economical method: paw prints in the snow.
"It's amazing how snow cover can really act as a blank canvas," she said. "Potentially, anything that moves across it is recorded for us to see."
The species being studied move over great distances at least part of the year for a variety of reasons, she added, including following food sources, finding mates and perhaps in response to environmental effects caused by climate change.
More information is available at http://tlc.lta.org/login-help#find.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
California's medical aid-in-dying law is back in court. Three patients with disabilities and two doctors are asking to intervene in a lawsuit …
A new federal jobs program aims to mobilize tens of thousands of young Americans to address the growing threats of climate change. The American …
Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago says its student body and campus are growing - and so are its options for people to study in STEM fields…
Health and Wellness
By Nathalia Teixeira for Kent State News Lab.Broadcast version by Nadia Ramlagan reporting for the Kent State-Ohio News Connection Collaboration…
Maine's new Office of Affordable Health Care holds its first public hearing this week, and people are being strongly encouraged to participate…
The number of children locked behind bars in Alabama has declined, but their advocates said more needs to be done to create alternatives to …
This coming Saturday, North Dakotans will get a chance to see how election workers go to great lengths to ensure a safe and secure voting process…
It's Hispanic Heritage Month, and one Nevada organization wants Latinos to realize the power they can have when they are more politically engaged…