Florida Key deer Odocoileus virginianus clavium underpass use and movements along a highway corridor
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In order to address endangered Florida Key deer Odocoileus virginianus clavium vehicle collisions along a 5.6-km segment of United States Highway 1 (US 1), the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) constructed a 2.6-km long system of fencing, deer guards and two underpasses to exclude deer from roadway. The US 1 project was completed in 2002 for the purpose of minimizing Key deer mortality and maintaining deer permeability through the Big Pine Key (BPK) corridor, Florida, USA. We evaluated the potential impact of these modifications to Key deer movements by comparing 1) annual ranges and movements of Key deer pre- (January 1998 - December 2000) and post-construction (February 2003 - January 2004), 2) deer-vehicle collisions on US 1 pre- and post-construction, and 3) underpass use post-construction. Mean female and male annual ranges and core areas did not change (P > 0.05) between pre- and post-construction. Deer movements within the US 1 project area were comparable pre- (six of 23 radio-collared deer crossed the corridor) and post-project (four of 16). Key deer-vehicle collisions were reduced by 94% inside the fenced segment. Experimental deer guards and fencing minimized Key deer entry into the project area to eight deer during the first-year resulting in two deer mortalities (one deer-vehicle collision, one severe removal injury). Infrared-triggered camera data indicate that underpass movements increased over time, suggesting that an acclimation period is necessary for highway underpasses to be successful. Collectively, post-project data indicate that highway alterations have not restricted Key deer permeability while minimizing Key deer mortality; however, our study results suggest changes in deer movement patterns within the corridor. We recommend continued monitoring to verify accurate trends in deer use of wildlife underpasses and permeability across fenced areas. Wildlife Biology (2008).
author list (cited authors)
Braden, A. W., Lopez, R. R., Roberts, C. W., Silvy, N. J., Owen, C. B., & Frank, P. A.
complete list of authors
Braden, Anthony W||Lopez, Roel R||Roberts, Clay W||Silvy, Nova J||Owen, Catherine B||Frank, Philip A