Collision Count - Citizens Monitoring Roadkill in the Canadian Rocky Mountains

Rob Schaufele - Miistakis Institute, Mount Royal University
Tracy Lee - Miistakis Institute, Mount Royal University
Kim Rondeau - Consultant
Dr. Tony Clevenger - Western Transportation Institute
Danah Duke, Miistakis Institute, Mount Royal University
Topic Area
Partnerships and Collaborative Approaches for Improving Transportation Ecology

To improve wildlife and human safety along Highway 3 in southwestern Alberta, Canada, the Miistakis Institute and partners developed Collision Count to undertake pre and post mitigation monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of highway mitigation for improved wildlife connectivity and wildlife and human safety; and establish a correction factor for roadkill pick up and removal. We selected three mitigation sites previously identified to include in the assessment, one which had been mitigated and two control sites. Three parallel 50 meter interval transects were developed adjacent to the highway spanning a distance of 300 meters along the highway. Citizen scientists walk transects once a week and record roadkill observations using a smart phone app. In addition to volunteer collected data from the Collision Count Program, Highway 3 maintenance contractors survey the highway every weekday in the morning and later afternoon and remove roadkill carcasses found on the highway right of way.
We ran two analyses to assess mitigation impact and advance road ecology research:
- To analyze the effectiveness of mitigation a before-after control-impact (BACI) study design was used based on data collected by collision count and highway maintenance contractors; and
- To calculate a correction factor between wildlife found beyond the Highway 3 maintenance area, the Highway 3 maintenance dataset was compared to the Collision Count dataset.
Results show an increasing statistically significant trend in roadkill reports by highway maintenance contractors over the study time period at study sites along Highway 3. Findings from BACI analysis (statistical) to determine the effectiveness of mitigation at the one site indicates at least one more year of data should be collected before forming final conclusions about mitigation effectiveness. The ratio of wildlife found by highway maintenance personnel (on right of way) and wildlife reported to Collision Count (off-highway right of way) was 1:1.5. This finding supports applying a correct factor to highway maintenance roadkill data at a minimum of 1.5 representing a significant finding in animal vehicle collision assessments.

Abstract Keywords
citizen science