AbstractCulverts are structured tunnels that are designed to divert water underneath roadways. Wildlife use culverts to connect to other habitat within their home range and their use reduces roadkill mortalities. The goal of this study was to determine the species completing passage through culverts of varied characteristics (e.g., shape, size, surrounding vegetation, construction material), as well as seasonal and diel patterns of usage. Eight cameras were deployed to and monitor bi-weekly to assess wildlife passage at four culverts between Fort Ann and Whitehall, New York. The greatest frequency of successful passage occurred at the box culvert (62 individuals), however the greatest richness of species (n=26) was observed near the circular culvert 7. Raccoons were the most commonly observed species, followed by fisher, red and gray foxes, eastern coyote, beaver, white-tailed deer, river otter, mink, and weasels. The higher water levels in the box culvert facilitated greater passage of aquatic species. The need to reduce wildlife and human damage resulting from roadkill is great, especially as landscapes become more fragmented. It is important to determine ideal culvert characteristics to increase wildlife connectivity through culvert use in the Adirondack Park and across the United States.
DescriptionStudent poster, Center for Earth and Environmental Science, SUNY Plattsburgh