I primarily conduct research and provide consulting services related to highways, wildlife and mitigation measures. Most of the measures are aimed at reducing wildlife-vehicle collisions and providing safe crossing opportunities for wildlife. Below are examples of the type of work my colleagues and I do. Please contact me to see what my colleagues and I could do for you.
Wildlife fences are one of the most effective measures to keep wildlife off the highway and reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. However, the fences need to be designed based on the biological characteristics of the target species and expert knowledge is also needed during the construction phase. Fence maintenance is critical to the long term effectiveness of wildlife fences and should be an integral component of a road maintenance plan. Contact us if you need help with designing wildlife fences.
Wildlife fences keep wildlife of the highway and reduce collisions. However, they also make the road corridor a near absolute barrier for wildlife. Therefore wildlife fences should always be combined with safe crossing opportunities for wildlife. Different species have different requirements. Contact us if you need advise on the type and dimensions of underpasses or overpasses for the species in your area.
Some projects provide an opportunity for students to pursue their MSc or PhD degree. I work with students through Montana State University, the University of Montana, and the University of São Paulo in Brazil. The respirator in the image above is to prevent contracting hantavirus and other diseases when handling small mammals. Contact us if you are interested in pursuing a degree in road ecology.
Animal detection systems detect large animals when they approach the highway. Once a large animal has been detected, warning signs are activated. Drivers can then reduce vehicle speed, be more alert, or a combination of the two. Reliable animal detection systems can reduce collisions with large mammals 33-100%. We have specialized in investigating the reliability and effectiveness of animal detection systems since 2002. We also advise on systems that are most suitable for your situation.
Teaching and lectures
I have developed a road ecology course (8 credits, 120 hours) for the University of São Paulo, Brazil. I also provide short courses and guest lectures. Contact me if you are interested.
Costs and benefits
Wildlife fences, underpasses, overpasses, and animal detection systems all cost money. On the other hand they result in benefits or reduced costs through fewer collisions. Contact us if you are interested in applying our cost-benefit model to your highway with mitigation measures you are interested in. For some roads it is less expensive to invest in mitigation than it is to do nothing and have wildlife-vehicle collisions continue to occur.
It is typically a good idea to make stream crossings wide enough to allow for a natural stream bed (bottomless culvert or a bridge). Stream characteristics should ideally be the same inside a structure as up- or downstream. This makes the structure passable for aquatic organisms and the structure is better able to deal with occasional high stream flows. A wider structure also allows for riparian and terrestrial habitat and associated species. Contact us for advise.