Highway 287/26: Linkage Zone Analysis
U.S. Highway 287/26 between Moran Junction and Dubois, Wyoming, passes through Bridger-Teton and Shoshone National Forests in an area that, because it links the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem to the Canada Rockies, has international significance for wildlife. This area, which has been identified as critical habitat by the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, has been recommended for 37 miles of highway improvements. Because improvements are likely to have environmental impacts, we endeavored to:
- Identify problem areas and develop mitigation solutions. Our goal was to analyze and assess the potential impacts on wildlife of this road improvement project. We identified potential problem areas and existing opportunities for wildlife movements along the highway corridor and developmed highway design criteria or mitigation solutions to address the problems and maintain or improve opportunities for movement.
- Identify features that facilitate animal movements. Our project began by conducting a literature review, identifying landscape and vegetation features that facilitate movement of carnivores, ungulates, and amphibians, and evaluating the impacts of the present highway on wildlife. Our linkage zone analysis identified, on both a broad scale and a site-specific scale, sites where crossings occur and possibly crossing structures might best be built.
- Evaluate design criteria to reduce impacts to wildlife. We also aimed to identify, evaluate, and implement design criteria and mitigation measures to reduce impacts to wildlife. Roadkills, snow tracking, traffic surveillance, and passive mitigation experiments will give us additional data.
- Finally, we will continue post-construction monitoring.