Title

Batting around Wildlife Crossing Structures: Under or Over the Highway?

Document Type

Poster

Campus where you would like to present

Ellensburg

Event Website

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source

Start Date

18-5-2020

Abstract

Roads can have negative effects on wildlife by isolating populations, fragmenting their habitats, and directly killing animals in collisions with vehicles. Recent studies have highlighted the negative impact roads have on the availability and accessibility of roosting and foraging habitats for bats. This cannot be taken lightly because insect-eating bats have import ecosystem roles, and their conservation status in North America is of growing concern. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has created multiple wildlife crossings along Interstate-90 near Snoqualmie Pass to increase ecosystem connectivity. WSDOT and its partners, including CWU, are monitoring various wildlife species to evaluate their use of these structures. Our proposed study will investigate whether wildlife crossing structures help reduce the negative effects of roads on bats by providing them a safe way to cross the highway. My specific objectives are to determine whether (a) bats are crossing the interstate, (b) all or only a subset of bat species in the habitat adjacent to the interstate are crossing the interstate, and (c) bat activity is more frequent within crossing structures than at nearby unmitigated sections (areas of the interstate without crossing structures). To achieve this, I will use mist netting and acoustic detectors to monitor and compare bat activity under 3 underpasses, above 3 unmitigated sections, and in the montane habitats north and south of the interstate. By comparing activity among these sites, we can start to understand if crossing structures facilitate movement between habitats fragmented by a major highway.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kristina Ernest

Department/Program

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

https://cwu.studentopportunitycenter.com/2020/04/batting-around-wildlife-crossing-structures-under-or-over-the-highway/

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May 18th, 12:00 PM

Batting around Wildlife Crossing Structures: Under or Over the Highway?

Ellensburg

Roads can have negative effects on wildlife by isolating populations, fragmenting their habitats, and directly killing animals in collisions with vehicles. Recent studies have highlighted the negative impact roads have on the availability and accessibility of roosting and foraging habitats for bats. This cannot be taken lightly because insect-eating bats have import ecosystem roles, and their conservation status in North America is of growing concern. Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) has created multiple wildlife crossings along Interstate-90 near Snoqualmie Pass to increase ecosystem connectivity. WSDOT and its partners, including CWU, are monitoring various wildlife species to evaluate their use of these structures. Our proposed study will investigate whether wildlife crossing structures help reduce the negative effects of roads on bats by providing them a safe way to cross the highway. My specific objectives are to determine whether (a) bats are crossing the interstate, (b) all or only a subset of bat species in the habitat adjacent to the interstate are crossing the interstate, and (c) bat activity is more frequent within crossing structures than at nearby unmitigated sections (areas of the interstate without crossing structures). To achieve this, I will use mist netting and acoustic detectors to monitor and compare bat activity under 3 underpasses, above 3 unmitigated sections, and in the montane habitats north and south of the interstate. By comparing activity among these sites, we can start to understand if crossing structures facilitate movement between habitats fragmented by a major highway.

https://digitalcommons.cwu.edu/source/2020/COTS/19