Eastern Indigo Snakes (Drymarchon couperi) have been listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act since 1978 and yet little is still known about their habits. Decades of research based on VHF telemetry have made great strides toward broadening our understanding of their activity; however, this technology is inherently limited as data collection can occur only in the presence of researchers. Additionally, due to their cryptic nature and the difficulty of nocturnal observations, there is little definitive data about the temporal habits of eastern indigo snakes. Continuous monitoring data is needed to reveal difficult-to-observe aspects of natural history and develop our understanding of this species’ habits. By leveraging emerging technologies, biologists can better project when and where species are active and how those activity patterns may vary in different environmental conditions, seasons, and habitats. Sounder information and predictability of this sort can improve the quality of an agency's plans and decisions regarding protected species impact avoidance and mitigation. However, despite the benefits experienced for operational efficiency (financial) and natural resource conflict resolution and conservation, funding studies to aid in filling these natural history knowledge gaps is not the typical research angle of interest to DOTs. This presentation will outline numerous benefits of this type of study that can help DOTs better allocate funds, focus employee efforts, and aid in meeting or even beating project delivery deadlines, while also creating opportunities to provide valuable information and tools to their partnering wildlife agencies.
Terrestrial wildlife (vertebrate and/or invertebrate) and ecosystem interactions
Eastern Indigo Snake