Western Slope Wildlife Study

The Western Slope Wildlife Prioritization Study (WSWPS) addresses wildlife conflicts on roads with the objective of identifying wildlife-highway conflict areas where targeted mitigation could have the greatest impact on reducing WVCs and enabling wildlife movement.

The research team identified, mapped, and prioritized highway segments across Colorado’s Western Slope. This prioritization was based on the risk of WVC and the need for mule deer and elk to make cross-highway movements, particularly during migration or within winter range. The WVC risk models were created to estimate the relationship between roadway and road-adjacent attributes (such as distance to tree cover, traffic volume and speed, and winter range herd density) and relative WVC risk based on known WVC accident and carcass locations.

The resulting preliminary wildlife crossing mitigation recommendations provide a starting point for mitigation project planning and budgeting. By focusing on data-driven priority areas, CDOT can develop well-designed mitigation to stretch limited funding resources to achieve the greatest benefits. Rather than addressing WVC problems on a site-by-site basis, the study provides proactive tools for pursuing strategic wildlife-highway mitigation where it is needed most. View and learn more about the full study.

 Photo source: Rocky Mountain Wild, ECO-resolutions, CDOT, CPW 
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