Statewide Connectivity Modeling for Conservation: The Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project

Dr. Rachel E. Wheat, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Dr. Catherine de Rivera, Portland State University; Dr. Martin Lafrenz, Portland State Univeristy; Dr. Daniel Taylor-Rodriguez, Portland State University; Dr. Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, Samara Group
Topic Area
Planning for Transportation Ecology

Oregon's growth rate is among the highest in the nation. The rapidly expanding population and growing tourism industry in the state is putting increasing demand on transportation infrastructure, leading to expansion of existing roadways and plans for new construction, with little consideration for impacts to wildlife. Compared to other western states, Oregon lags behind in road mitigation for terrestrial wildlife-- the state has only a single dedicated wildlife crossing structure-- which is partially attributable to a lack of information on wildlife connectivity. The Oregon Habitat Connectivity Consortium, a multi-institution collaborative formed to promote functional natural landscape connectivity, has developed an implementation plan for assessing existing habitat connectivity for terrestrial wildlife across Oregon. The effort, led by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, will use current best-practices in landscape-scale connectivity modeling to advance priority conservation planning for mitigation of barriers to wildlife movement, including transportation infrastructure. The project aims to encourage organizations involved in transportation, land use change, and development to incorporate wildlife passage in their planning. In concert with federal efforts such as Secretarial Order 3362 and state legislation, the Oregon Connectivity Assessment and Mapping Project will provide critical information and incentive for county and state transportation planners to mitigate for terrestrial wildlife movement.

Abstract Keywords
connectivity
wildlife passage
transportation planning