How do roads, especially busy highways, affect Massachusetts’ native species? This is what Andy Wood, a University of Vermont graduate student collaborating with the Conservancy in Massachusetts, sought to learn.
Wood worked along a stretch of Route 8 in Otis, Sandisfield and Tolland in southwestern Massachusetts to place wildlife cameras where animals are predicted to cross—or attempt to cross—the road. In addition to analyzing the resulting photos, Wood looked at road-kill data and studied culverts—where streams cross under roads—to get a complete picture of where and how animals are moving, and if there are areas that they’re struggling to reach.
Part of the Conservancy’s habitat connectivity work, this study will help scientists understand how animals are moving—and how they might move as climate change impacts grow. The goal is to use this information to collaborate with transportation departments to help Massachusetts’ many species, like turtles, bobcats, foxes, bears and moose, cross roads safely—which makes streets safer for motorists, too.