Wildlife Behavior in Response to Traffic Disturbance
Traffic impacts on wildlife behavior are largely unknown, but may be the primary determinant of wildlife distribution in response to fragmentation from roads. This webinar will present findings from 3 years of research by the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis on the distribution of wildlife relative to highways and their behavior in response to instantaneous traffic disturbance. There were complex and species-specific responses to noise and light from traffic. In general, there were fewer species found at highway crossings than in quieter habitat areas ~1 km away. Some species, such as bobcats, did not approach noisier highways and crossings. In contrast, mule deer seemed to take advantage of the noisy human environment to graze peacefully in the absence of more sensitive predators. These findings have led us to begin designing crossings to meet the behavioral needs of wildlife.
Dr. Fraser Shilling is co-director of the Road Ecology Center and a faculty member of the Transportation Technology & Policy group at the University of California, Davis. His research, primarily into the impacts of human activities on natural systems, focuses on transportation ecology, design of GIS and informatics systems, development of indicator frameworks at a wide range of scales, characterization of ecological and other conditions, interviewing and involvement of marginalized communities in environmental policies, and educational programs/courses for a wide-range of communities and audiences.
Sheik Moinuddin is a senior transportation engineer with Caltrans District 7 and the project manager for the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Corridor project. Over his 25 year Caltrans career he has worked in multiple divisions at the agency and has formulated and implemented such innovative projects as a first-in-the-nation flex lane project on State Route 110 and a Dynamic Lane Management System at the connector of NB Route 110 and NB Route 5. He also serves as the Caltrans Project Manager for the High-Speed Rail projects in Southern California and the $2.8 billion Los Angeles Union Station expansion project (Link US) with Metro. He has a MS degree from UCLA, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D.
Rebecca Fris is the Assistant Executive Director at the Wildlife Conservation Board where she oversees 14 different programs implementing acquisition, restoration and public access including a program that supports planning and development of wildlife corridors. She has over 25 years of experience with both state and federal government in ecosystem restoration and biodiversity conservation including most recently working with the CA Department of Fish and Wildlife Watershed Restoration Grants Branch where she oversaw the implementation of Proposition 1 and Proposition 68 funding. She also was the first USFWS Science Coordinator for the California Landscape Conservation Cooperative.