BS in Environmental Management and Protection
Natural Resources Management and Environmental Sciences Department
John D. Perrine
Driving poses a significant threat to safety for both humans and wildlife. Along highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, California, is a stretch of roadway that is exceptionally deadly to mammals such as deer and bears. Roadkill counts and motion-activated cameras have been utilized along this route in a previous study (Perrine and Snyder, 2011) to assist Caltrans in setting up wildlife barriers. We sought to continue this research using remote motion-sensing cameras to monitor wildlife during winter and spring of 2011. We set up cameras at five previously monitored locations that had already been determined to host heavy wildlife traffic. Attention was focused on large mammals such as mule deer, black bear, and mountain lion, as these are most likely to cause a dangerous collision. We analyzed photographs to determine the number of detections, species richness and diversity, utilization intensity, and latency of detection at each station. We suggest that Caltrans construct appropriate fencing, jump-outs, and staggered road medians at four of our five stations due to their heavy deer traffic. We also suggest continued monitoring of camera stations and roadkills, to produce a comparison study evaluating the effectiveness of constructed road barriers.