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Evaluating potential effects of widening US 64 on red wolves in Washington, Tyrrell, and Dare Counties, North Carolina.
  • Published Date:
    2011-12-31
  • Language:
    English
Filetype[PDF-12.26 MB]


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Evaluating potential effects of widening US 64 on red wolves in Washington, Tyrrell, and Dare Counties, North Carolina.
Details:
  • Publication/ Report Number:
  • Resource Type:
  • Geographical Coverage:
  • OCLC Number:
    792955939
  • Edition:
    Final report; Feb. 6, 2009-Dec. 31, 2011.
  • NTL Classification:
    NTL-ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT-Environment Impacts ; NTL-SAFETY AND SECURITY-Highway Safety ; NTL-GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS-GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION SYSTEMS ;
  • Abstract:
    We used data from 16 red wolves fitted with GPS-collars between January 2009 and April 2011 to evaluate home range size and

    habitat selection, road permeability, and identify significant red wolf highway crossing locations. Home range size for red wolves

    averaged 13.7 mi2 with no significant difference between males and females. Although we found no significant difference in

    home range size among age classes, dispersers tended to have larger home ranges than adults and juveniles. Red wolf home

    ranges were larger during winter than during other seasons. Red wolves avoided wetter habitats such as pocosins, wetlands, and

    lowland forests, leaving agriculture the best predictor of red wolf presence. Red wolves also selected for the presence of

    agriculture/forest road systems for travel. Road permeability, calculated using GPS-collar data, was 100%, thus the current 2-

    lane highway does not impose a barrier effect on the red wolf population. This increases the risk of road mortality events. Using a

    3281 ft. (1 km) buffer, construction north of the current US 64 in Tyrrell County has the potential to remove up to 0.16 mi2 of red

    wolf habitat and 6% of the home range area used by a current red wolf pack while construction to the south will impact only 0.09

    mi2 of red wolf habitat and will not displace any current red wolf packs. East of Alligator River in Dare County, a widening of

    the current highway to the south has the potential to remove up to of 0.07 mi2 of red wolf habitat and 20% of the home range

    used by the only existing red wolf pack in Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge if construction disturbs out to 3281 ft. (1 km)

    from the current road. Construction to the north of US 64 in Dare County has the potential to remove up to 0.04 mi2 of red wolf

    habitat and will not overlap with any current packs, based on 95% home ranges. Through the use of GPS-collars and remote

    camera traps, we identified 5 important red wolf crossing locations, 4 in Tyrrell County west of Alligator River and 1 in Dare

    County east of Alligator River. The presence of agricultural fields, successional fields, and/or upland forests 328 to 492 ft. from

    the road provided the most parsimonious explanation for the location of crossing sites identified using GPS-collar locations;

    trail/road width provided the best explanation for the location of crossing sites identified by remote camera traps. The presence of

    agricultural fields, successional fields, and upland forests as well as proximity to maintained agricultural/forest roads at crossing

    sites corresponds to habitat selection results. Four of the 5 red wolf crossing locations we identified are suitable for crossing

    structures. The most western crossing site is located within the town of Colombia, NC where retro-fitting a wildlife underpass is

    not practical. Well maintained trails at least 26.24 ft. (8 m) in width leading to and from underpasses, which connect habitats

    selected for by red wolves (e.g. agriculture, successional fields, and upland forests), is suggested to optimize efficacy.

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