Critical Paths Wildlife Tracking

The Critical Paths Wildlife Tracking project developed a concise methodology to determine and document zones of frequent wildlife road crossing along the roads within the Green Mountains and the Northeast Kingdom areas of Vermont. Structural computer models were first implemented to determine where wildlife is likely to cross roads. Professional wildlife trackers were hired to determine the location and species of wildlife crossing the roads. Roadside tracking occurred in a two-part segment by the hired wildlife trackers. The first segment of the project focused along the spine of the Green Mountains, specifically thirteen roads in an east-west direction. The second segment of the project executed involved the same methodology, but was focused on any road in the Town of Worcester with Northeast Kingdom connectivity.
Project Contact: Jens Hilke
Project Contact Email:
Year Completed: 2011
Project Lifespan: 2009-2011
Larger Geography: Green Mountain National Forest, Northeast Kingdom
Other Keywords: Wildlife Road Tracking, Habitat Connectivity, Field Science, Road Barrier Mitigation
Project Accomplishments:
The development and successful testing of the chosen methodology was a great success and will be substantial in future projects. Accomplishments also include field verification of discrete but critical road sections of wildlife passage, assessment of wildlife species richness and diversity, along with the transition of structural connectivity to field connectivity.
Project Partners:
National Wildlife Federation Vermont Fish and Wildlife Vermont Natural Resource Council Vermont Agency of Transportation
Critical to Success:
The success of this project is a result of a collaborative effort of those directly involved with the project, and the cooperation of the project partners.
Since this wildlife-tracking project was a pilot run for the state of Vermont, various challenges did hinder the efficiency and total area coverage of this project. The implementation of Geographic Information Systems was difficult to effectively determine zones of focus. Inadequate funding resulted in only a select few Vermont roads observed by personnel. Further hindrances of inadequate funding for the project include tracking during the winter months resulting in a risk of not detecting wildlife species, along with ensuring the safety of roadside tracking personnel.