The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Volpe National Transportation Systems Center recently conducted a research synthesis and gap analysis in the areas of aquatic organism passage (AOP) and wildlife connectivity (WC). To support this effort, ICOET proceedings dating back approximately 10 years were reviewed for presentations and papers on the topics of AOP, WC, and wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs). A list of resources and presenters was compiled by topic area, including species or organism, structure type, and mitigation measure. Results of the ICOET review indicate that most AOP research is biased towards Salmonids (a group that includes salmon, trout, char, and whitefish), temperate climates in North America, and upstream passage. A large proportion of AOP presentations were focused on assessing or improving the design of culverts, bridges, and other crossing structures to improve hydraulic properties that ultimately impact species passage and infrastructure resilience. In the WC field, results of the ICOET scan demonstrate a focus on mammals, particularly ungulates, bears, and felids, followed by more limited research on herpetofauna and birds, and minimal research on invertebrates. Studies were concentrated in the United States, particularly in western regions, and primary research areas included modeling of WVCs and species behavior and physiology, use of land bridges and underpasses as travel corridors, and impacts of lighting on behavior. Findings from the ICOET scan were used to support a broader literature review and gap analysis to help FHWA target future funding and reduce duplication of effort in research studies. Key research opportunities include incorporating current information into AOP design standards, understanding how climate change and extreme storm events will impact structures and their design lifespan, determining the impact of light (headlights, street lights, reflecting devices) on species behavior and connectivity, and evaluating what attributes of crossing structures and fences (e.g., materials, length) influence effectiveness.
Wildlife movement: connectivity, safety, across eco-tones
Aquatic Organism Passage