Mitigating wildlife-vehicle collisions in the united counties of leeds and grenville
A2A's Road Ecology Committee is working with the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville (UCLG) and Blazing Star Environmental on a road ecology project within UCLG. We are conducting a study to identify turtle mortality hotspots on county roads to develop appropriate mitigation measures. This initiative is part of our broader road ecology project, which focuses on major highways within the Frontenac Arch of the A2A corridor. However, the roads within the UCLG area constitute a substantial portion of the Frontenac Arch and have been identified by the local community as critical turtle mortality hotspots.
Leading this effort are A2A's two dedicated environmental monitoring technicians, Emma and Clay, along with Katie Black of Blazing Star Environmental. They have been actively working in the UCLG since May. They are meticulously documenting areas with high turtle mortality rates along county roads. A subsample of 12 locations was chosen for field surveys based on predicted turtle mortality risk: low, medium, or high. These mortality hotspots were identified through a combination of local observations and geospatial modelling techniques. The surveys involve a thorough assessment of the surrounding habitat conditions, the documentation of nesting sites, the presence and characteristics of wildlife crossing structures and the recording of both live and deceased turtles encountered. They will also document other species they come across, particularly species-at-risk, snakes, and roadkill.
They will continue to survey sites until October, with hopes of gathering enough data to predict turtle road mortality risk across UCLG. Any areas of high mortality risk will be prioritized for mitigation. Mitigation measures such as upgrading culverts, adding wildlife crossing and/or fences, speed limit reduction, and signage will be presented to UCLG and local agencies to implement effective solutions that can help reduce turtle mortality on county roads and promote safer wildlife crossings.
The team has been providing updates on their surveys atiNaturalist.ca. Please be sure to check out the page to read more about their observations and the types of species they've encountered! Clay and Katie have also been documenting their thoughts, findings and time in the field in an online journal on iNaturalist.ca. Click here to read their stories!