The Effects of Light and Noise Pollution on Wildlife Use of Highway Crossing Structures

Highway crossing structures are often used by transportation agencies to mitigate habitat fragmentation and wildlife vehicle collisions. To implement efficient design of appropriate crossing structures, their efficacy needs to be examined using rigorous and appropriate methods. As part of their dissertation, the researcher will assess the efficacy of crossing structures, in particular underpasses and culverts, across the state of California. The researcher will employ innovative methods such as camera trapping and GPS telemetry to decipher wildlife movement and behavioral responses within a fragmented habitat, focusing on traffic-related light and noise pollution that may contribute to the efficacy of crossing structures. Results will guide the decision-making process for wildlife managers, practitioners, and agencies specific to ongoing and future transportation projects. Furthermore, results will offer solutions to the broader conservation community in how to evaluate the conservation tools we are currently utilizing.

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