The effectiveness of wildlife crossing structures for black bears in Madison County, North Carolina.

The effectiveness of wildlife crossing structures for black bears in Madison County, North Carolina.

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    Final report; June 2005-July 2007.
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  • Abstract:
    Roads have become an integral part of our society, but recently society has begun to realize the ecological impact that roads have on their surroundings. One major effect that roads have on large mammals is creating a barrier to movement of individuals both between and within populations. In an effort to alleviate this problem on a new interstate project, the North Carolina Department of Transportation constructed 2 8 x 8 feet (2.4 x 2.4 m) concrete box culverts on I-26 in Madison County, North Carolina, intended for use by North American black bears (Ursus americanus). Black bears have been observed using a variety of crossing structures, and it is not known what type of design best suits their needs. To determine the effectiveness of these crossing structures, each culvert’s wildlife activity was recorded by Cuddeback digital still cameras. In addition, digital video data were captured at one of the culverts and sampled to detect wildlife use of the culvert. From these data, detection probabilities and an overall estimate of wildlife use were calculated. Wildlife crossings at other structures along the roadway were also recorded, specifically at culverts built to carry streams under the interstate. Also, still cameras were installed at a few likely crossing locations along the roadway in an attempt to capture black bear presence adjacent to the roadway. Lastly, local residents were solicited for their crossing observations.
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