Roadkill

Ron Ringen documenting the latest wildlife casualty .

Road ecology is getting crowd sourced. The NYT’s reports on the California Roadkill Observation Network which is tracking vehicle inflicted mortality on wildlife with gps data collected by volunteers and aggregated via Google Maps. Next up is a smart phone app to upload data and pics of the smushed critters.

The project was developed at UC Davis, and currently has 311 registered users that have documented 6943 kills and 207 Unique Species Observed.

‘In Maine, the most commonly counted roadkill species is the North American porcupine. “I see an awful lot of them. They just move so slow,” said Donna Runnels, 58. She uploads the data she collects while walking and riding her horse near her home in Burnham, Me.

The animal most likely to be found dead along a California road is the raccoon, though hundreds of species have been counted, including desert iguanas, black bears, tiger salamanders, brown pelicans and western shovelnose snakes.’

But the article doesn’t mention if anybody is then harvesting the meat for a free meal.

‘The Humane Society of the United States estimates that a million animals are killed by vehicles every day, while a 2008 Federal Highway Administration report puts the number of accidents with large animals between one million and two million a year. The agency estimates such accidents result in over $8 billion in damages annually.’

The book that started the study of Road Ecology is:

Foreman et al. 2003. Road Ecology Science and Solutions, Island Press

While the article discusses some of the preventative solutions like  fences, bridges, tunnels, electronic animal-detection warning systems, and  signage – there are not pictures or links to resources for the design and implementation of such – so here are a few (or search for ‘wildlife crossings’):

www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/wildlifecrossings/

www.westerntransportationinstitute.org/research/roadecology/

http://www.greeninfrastructurewiki.com/page/Wildlife+Crossing

Wildlife Crossing Guidance Manual

http://www.wildlifeandroads.org/

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