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Environmental Review Toolkit

Eco-Logical Webinar
Wildlife and Transportation

March 30, 2016

PDF Version [6 MB]

Table of Contents

Eco-Logical and SHRP2 Introduction

Regulatory Setting and Resources

Arizona Wildlife Connectivity: Statewide Assessment and Use in Planning

Colorado DOT: Implementing Eco-Logical through Strong Partnerships, Processes, and Data

Eco-Logical and SHRP2 Introduction

Slide 1: Wildlife and Transportation

March 30, 2016

Kate Kurgan, American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO)
David Williams, Federal Highway Administration (FWHA)
Daniel Buford, Federal Highway Administration
Kris Gade and Justin White, Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT)
David Singer, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT)

(Learn more about Eco-Logical at the FHWA website)

Image: Logo of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials
Images: AASHTO logo, SHRP2 Solutions | Tools for the Road Ahead logo, and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration logo
Image: Collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects report

Slide 2: Steps to Ensure Optimal Webinar Connection

This webinar broadcasts audio over the phone line and through the web room, which can strain some internet connections. To prevent audio skipping or webinar delay we recommend participants:

  • Close all background programs
  • Use a wired internet connection, if possible
  • Do not us a Virtual Private Network (VPN), if possible
  • Mute their webroom audio (toggle is located at the top of webroom screen) and use phone audio only

Slide 3: SHRP2 & Its Focus Areas
(Second Strategic Highway Research Program)

  • Safety: Fostering safer driving through analysis of driver, roadway and vehicle factors in crashes, near crashes, and ordinary driving.
  • Renewal: Rapid maintenance and repair of the deteriorating infrastructure using already-available resources, innovations, and technologies.
  • Capacity: Planning and designing a highway system that offers minimum disruption and meets the environmental, and economic needs of the community.
  • Reliability: Reducing congestion and creating more predictable travel times through better operations.

Image: Icons to go with each of the four items listed above: a person seated with a seat belt and shoulder strap engaged (Safety), a circular arrow (Renewal), netting (Capacity), and a clock (Reliability)

Slide 4: Eco-Logical Starter Kit

Website on FHWA Review Toolkit
Eco-Logical Resources

Image: Screenshot of the Eco-Logical website homepage

Slide 5: Regional Ecosystem Framework (REF)

  • Eco-Logical focuses on an ecosystem-scale
  • REF (Step 3) is a cornerstone of Eco-Logical approach
  • Identifies resources, organizes needs and priorities by integrating resource data with transportation data
  • Identifies avoidance, minimization, & mitigation options
  • Prioritizes implementation options

Slide 6: REF Example: North Central Texas Council of Governments

Image: Regional Ecosystem Framework: Composite Map

Slide 7: Implementing Eco-Logical Steps

  1. Build collaborative partnerships & vision
  2. Characterize resource status
  3. Create REF
  4. Assess effects on conservation
  5. Identify & Prioritize actions
  6. Develop crediting strategy
  7. Develop agreements
  8. Implement agreements
  9. Update REF over time

Image: Rendering of the 9 steps of implementing Eco-Logical

Slide 8: SHRP2 Implementation Strategies

  • Strategy 1: Engage and educate agency leadership.
  • Strategy 2: Develop incentives/support REF adoption.
  • Strategy 3: Provide Technical assistance.
  • Strategy 4: Develop a business case.
  • Strategy 5: Develop new tools and technologies.
  • Strategy 6: Develop communication and outreach materials

Slide 9: Eco-Logical Community of Practice


  • To continue the exchange of information after SHRP2 activities have concluded.


  • To create a self-sustaining network of practitioners to share knowledge, best practices, ideas, and facilitate technical assistance amongst members
  • To enlist Eco-Logical champions to support the Community of Practice

Slide 10: Contact Information

David Williams, FHWA, 202-366-4074
Mike Ruth, FHWA, 202-366-9509
Kate Kurgan, AASHTO,

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Regulatory Setting and Resources

The slides in this presentation are branded with the U.S. DOT triskelion logo.

Slide 11: Regulatory Setting

NEPA (National Environmental Protection Act)
Endangered Species Act
Migratory Bird Treaty Act
Bald and Golden Eagle Act
Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act
State Wildlife Laws

Slide 12: Regulatory Setting

Clean Water Act
Rivers and Harbors Act
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
Public Lands/Acts/4(f)

Slide 13: Regulatory Setting

Good Stewards

Image: Picture of two elk in snow

Slide 14: Resources

TRB (Transportation Research Board) - National Cooperative Highway Research Program (NCHRP)

Image: Front Cover of NCHRP Report 615
Image: Front Cover of NCHRP Synthesis 305

Slide 15: Resources

Transportation Research Board: Standing Committee on Ecology and Transportation (ADC30)
Alex Levy, Chair

Image: Front Page of the September 2015 Committee on Ecology and Transportation Newsletter

Slide 16: Resources

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Arizona Wildlife Connectivity: Statewide Assessment and Use in Planning

The slides in this presentation are branded with the ADOT logo.

Slide 17: Arizona Wildlife Connectivity: Statewide Assessment and Use in Planning

Kris Gade, PhD and Justin White
Biological Resources Program, Environmental Planning Arizona Department of Transportation
March 30, 2016

Image: Three-image collage of wildlife on or near roadways

Slide 18: Overview

  • Connectivity Terms
  • Why is Connectivity Important?
  • Developing a Statewide Linkage Assessment
  • Use in Planning and Environmental Review
  • State Route 86 Case Study
  • Benefits of Statewide Assessment


  • Linkage
  • Passage structures
  • Fencing - exclusion or permeable
  • Escape measures

Image: Visual rendering of linkage, passage structures, fencing - exclusion or permeable, and escape measures

Slide 19: Why is Wildlife Connectivity Important?

(Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions = WVC)

  • Human impacts
  • Wildlife population impacts
  • Economic losses

Landscape Connectivity

  • Population and habitat fragmentation
  • Decreased juvenile dispersal and genetic interchange
  • Protected and game species

Image: Photo of a truck damaged due to a wildlife collision

Slide 20: State Route 260 - Elk and Deer Habitat

  • 12-mile stretch, high WVC, widened in phases
  • Added 11 wildlife underpasses, 6 large bridges
  • Long-term monitoring and adaptive management

Image: Photo of an elk in a roadway and a wildlife underpass

Slide 21: SR (State Road) 260 Preacher Canyon Segment (3.1 miles)

Elk-Vehicle Collisions Before and After Fencing

Image: Bar chart showing a 97% reduction in elk-vehicle collisions after fencing and crosswalk project implemented (Graphic courtesy of Norris Dodd)

Slide 22: R 260 Preacher Canyon Segment

Elk-Vehicle Collisions Before and After Fencing

Economic benefit from reduced elk-vehicle collisions on Preacher Canyon Segment: $62,000/mile/year

  • Recovered the cost of the entire fencing enhancement project in 4 years

Benefit for the entire SR 260 project (11.8 miles) for elk- and deer-vehicle collisions: $87,500/mile/year

ADOT Research Center Report 603, December 2012

Slide 23: Planning for Statewide Connectivity

Arizona's Wildlife Linkage Workgroup and Assessment (2004-2006)

  • Grew from partnership for the SR 260 corridor
  • Stakeholders recruited
  • Two day workshop led by ADOT, AGFD (Arizona Game & Fish Department), FHWA
  • Follow up meetings to refine and prioritize linkages
  • Final report

Image: Map of Arizona's wildlife linkages

Slide 24: Stakeholder Involvement

Arizona's Wildlife Linkages Assessment

  • Participation and formal acceptance by federal, state and NGO (non-governmental organization) partners
  • Baseline for determining connectivity concerns and highest priority linkage areas

Image: Logos of the following agencies: ADOT, Arizona Game & Fish, Bureau of Land Management, Northern Arizona University School of Forestry, Sky Island Alliance, Federal Highway Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Wildlands Project
Image: Photo collage of a bobcat, an elk, a prairie dog, and a hawk

Slide 25: Use in ADOT Project Planning

  1. Identify wildlife connectivity opportunities
    • Large-scale corridor assessments
    • Planned construction projects
  2. Allows time for data collection
    • Crossing locations
    • Baseline data
  3. Prioritization
    • Most effective use of $$
  4. Pursue alternate funding

Image: Covers of Arizona long-range transportation planning documents

Slide 26: Environmental Review of Projects

  • During early project review, we check:
    • Is the project in a linkage?
    • Could the scope of work affect connectivity?
  • Consider mitigation of impacts and opportunities for retrofit of fences, removal of riprap, etc.
  • Allows time for minor modifications to scope and plan for analysis in the biology document

Image: ADOT Environmental Planning Project data sheet

Slide 27: Additional Data Sources

  • Monitoring of existing structures
  • Wildlife-vehicle collision patterns
  • GPS (Global Positioning System) data for tracking movement, crossing attempts and successes
  • Traffic relationships from Automatic Traffic Recorder traffic counts
  • Regional and detailed studies

Image: Photo of deer using an under-bridge wildlife crossing
Image: Photo of a truck damaged from a wildlife collision
Image: Photo of a person releasing a deer from a trap
Image: Photo of a roadside monitoring device on a pole

Slide 28: Regional and Detailed Studies

Image: Covers of PIMA County reports

Slide 29: Wildlife-Vehicle Crash Data (2004-2013)

Image: Arizona map of wildlife crash incidence occurrences
Image: Arizona map of wildlife crashes as a proportion of all crashes

Slide 30: GPS Data - Ungulates

  • Arizona Game and Fish studies of ungulates (deer, elk, sheep)
  • Capture animals to put on collars
  • GPS collars record animal location every 2 hours for 18-30 months
  • Retrieve collars after they drop off

Image: Map of elk locations along I-17 near Munds Park
Image: Picture of a collared elk

Slide 31: GPS Data - Desert Tortoises

  • Arizona Game and Fish tortoise studies
  • Capture animals to cement on VHF and GPS transmitters
  • Battery allows GPS to record locations for ~30 days
  • VHF transmitter used to locate tortoise as needed
  • Replace GPS monthly during active season

Images: Photos of tortoises carrying transmitters and a map marked with transmitter-carrying tortoises' travels

Slide 32: Kitt Peak Linkage Case Study

Proactive Endangered Species Management using:

  • Cooperation
  • Science-based Connectivity Strategy
  • Dedicated Funding

Image: Background photo of a vast field with mountains in the background
Image: Photo of a leopard
Image: The ADOT logo, the great seal of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) logo

Slide 33: Kitt Peak Linkage

Image: Map of Arizona's 152 wildlife linkages
Image: Blown up map of Arizona's Linkage 86
Image: Reproduction of Arizona's Linkage 86 data sheet

Slide 34: Kitt Peak Linkage

Connectivity for highly mobile wildlife species

  • Desert bighorn sheep
  • Mule deer
  • Mountain lion

Image: Map of Kitt Peak's wildlife linkages
Image: Photo collage of bighorn sheep, a mule deer, and a mountain lion

Slide 35: Kitt Peak Linkage Corridor Design Model

Image: Map of Pima County's wildlife linkages
Image: Report cover for Pima County Detailed Linkages - Kitt Peak Linkage Design, August 2012

Slide 36: State Route 86 Wildlife-Vehicle Collisions

Image: Vertical bar chart showing number of wildlife-vehicle collisions between mileposts 120-140 on State Road 86 between 2000-2013. The highest number of collisions occurred at Milepost 132 (7) and is labelled Wildlife-Vehicle Collision “Hot Spot.”
Image: Photo of a deer wildlife-vehicle collision fatality
Image: Photo of a mountain lion wildlife-vehicle collision fatality

Slide 37: Kitt Peak Linkage Connectivity Strategy

Funded by RTA; $45M over 20 years for projects in Pima County

Image: Map showing 2 sites of proposed highway overpasses and 2 sites of constructed highway underpasses

Slide 38: Kitt Peak Linkage - 1st Photo

Image: Photo of a mountain lion in the desert scrub

Slide 39: Kitt Peak Linkage Case Study

Image: Map showing proposed but not designated as jaguar Critical Habitat and designated jaguar Critical Habitat
Image: Close-up photo of a jaguar

Slide 40: Kitt Peak Linkage Case Study

The Kitt Peak Linkage area was excluded from the final Critical Habitat for the jaguar due to proactive planning

  • Wildlife management by the Tohono O'odham Nation
  • Comprehensive regional conservation planning in Pima County
  • Wildlife connectivity funding through the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA)
  • Partnering with ADOT/FHWA on wildlife elements in widening projects

Image: Photo of a jaguar

Slide 41: Benefits of Statewide Assessment

  • Systematic approach to safety
  • Wildlife stewardship
  • Avoid species listings
  • Identify and plan for opportunities
    • Partnerships
    • Alternate funding sources
  • Prioritization
    • Direct funds to most effective use
    • Agreement that some areas are lower priority

Image: Photo collage of a truck damaged due to a wildlife collision, a mountain goat, and a desert tortoise

Slide 42: Acknowledgements

The reports, studies, photos and maps in this presentation were generated as a result of work and support of many ADOT and AGFD employees, including:

  • Norris Dodd
  • Jeff Gagnon
  • Daniel Leavitt
  • Ray Schweinsburg
  • Scott Sprague
  • Justin White
  • Todd Williams

Image: Photo collage of desert deer

Slide 43: Arizona Wildlife Connectivity Resources

Linkage Reports



Justin White
Biology Program Manager, 602-399-3233

Kris Gade
Roadside Resources Specialist, 602-292-0301

Image: Photo of a woman sitting behind a desert tortoise

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Colorado DOT: Implementing Eco-Logical through Strong Partnerships, Processes, and Data

The slides in this presentation are branded with the CDOT logo.

Slide 44: Environmental Planning

Colorado Department of Transportation

Eco-logical Community of Practice Webinar: Wildlife and Transportation
Implementing Eco-logical through Strong Partnerships, Processes, and Data
March 30,2016

Image: Photo of a road with mountains in the background

Slide 45: Agenda

  1. Context & Corridor Challenges
  2. Consensus Agreement & Preferred Alternative
  3. Adaptive Management and Context Sensitive Solutions
  4. Corridor Specific Wildlife toolkit
  5. Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening
  6. Updating the vision and Lesson Learned

Slide 46: I-70 Mountain Corridor

Image: Small map of Colorado, marked to show the I-70 Mountain Corridor
Image: Close-up map of the I-70 Mountain Corridor marked to highlight the location of the Twin Tunnels (Eisenhower-Johnson Memorial Tunnels - EJMT) improvements
Image: Photo of vehicles traveling on I-70 on a sunny day with snowcapped mountains in the background

Slide 47: Narrow Canyons, Rock Cuts, and Tunnels

Image: Photo collage of various sections of the I-70 Mountain Corridor

Slide 48: Weather and Trraffic Challenges

Image: Photo collage of snow covered roads, roads damaged by rock slides, and roads with traffic congestion

Slide 49: Sensitive Environment

Image: Photo collage of rural environments and wildlife

Slide 50: The I-70 Mountain Corridor Challenge: Consensus Agreement & NEPA

  • Studied for more than twenty years
  • Collaborative Effort’s Consensus Recommendation (2008)
  • Tier 1: Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement & Record of Decision (2011)

Image: Photo of CDOT staff in front of CDOT headquarters

Slide 51: The I-70 Mountain Corridor Vision

I-70 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement's (PEIS) Preferred Alternative includes three components:

  • A multimodal solution
  • Highway (Infrastructure) Improvements
  • Operational Improvements

Slide 52: Adaptive Management

  • This corridor will be improved incrementally over the next generation
  • Minimum program vs Maximum program
  • Interim and ultimate improvements
  • Periodic check-ins

Image: Photo of a mountain waterfall

Slide 53: Context Sensitive Solution Approach

  • 6 step process for decision making
  • Tools to navigate through the steps, including:
    • Design criteria
    • Aesthetic guidelines
    • Areas of Special Attention
    • Multi-agency agreements related to wildlife mobility, historic resources and districts, water quality and overall creek health

Image: Photo of a road alongside the lower edge of a mountain within a mountain range

Slide 54: CSS Process: Core Values

  • Safety
  • Mobility
  • Aesthetics
  • Wildlife
  • Creek Health
  • History
  • Constructability
  • Decision Making
  • Community Values

Slide 55: Wildlife Mobility Toolkit

A Landscape Level Inventory of Valued Ecosystem (ALIVE):

  • Stakeholder committee including CDOT, FHWA, USFS, USFWS, BLM, Colorado Parks & Wildlife
  • Establish a program of cooperation to improve permeability for future highway projects
  • Memorandum of Understanding (2008)

Image: Photo of a moose
Image: Photo of a longhorn sheep

Slide 56: Wildlife Mobility Toolkit

Eco-logical Framework - Gathered Corridor-wide from:

  • Roadway Inventory
  • Agencies
  • Field survey
  • Camera Monitoring
  • Animal Vehicle Collisions
  • Public Input/observation

Image: Photo of a bobcat
Image: Photo of a small herd of elk

Slide 57: Wildlife Mobility Toolkit

Eco-logical Framework:

  • Linkage Interference Zones (LIZ): 17 segments spanning 65 miles
  • Site Specific recommendations
  • Early enhancement Opportunities
  • BMPs for Permeability

Image: Photo of a black bear
Image: Partial view of a reproduction of a CDOT document page: Recommendations for Enhancing Connectivity for Terrestrial and Aquatic Wildlife along the I-70 Mountain Corridor

Slide 58: Linkage Interference Zones (LIZ)

Image: Map of linkage interference zones

Slide 59: Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening

Image: Photo of the I-70 Mountain Corridor twin tunnels

Slide 60: Twin Tunnels Widening

Purpose: Improve eastbound highway safety, operations and travel time reliability in the Twin Tunnels area of the I-70 Mountain Corridor at the east end of Idaho Springs.

Image: Photo of the I-70 Mountain Corridor twin tunnels

Slide 61: Twin Tunnels Widening

Image: Photo of a section of I-70
Image: Map of the project marked with the following locations: East Idaho Springs Interchange, Twin Tunnels, Hidden Valley Interchange, and US 6 Interchange

Slide 62: Twin Tunnels Widening

Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) Process:

  • Endorse of tools and process
  • Identify recommendations from previous REF
  • Balance all core values

Image: Photo showing twin tunnels widening construction

Slide 63: Twin Tunnels Widening

Decision Making:

  • Multi-disciplinary teams
  • Involving a full range of stakeholders
  • Understanding the landscape, community, and valued resources
  • Reaching consensus on approaches and alternatives
  • Open, honest, and continuous communication
  • No backtracking

Image: Photo showing aerial view of twin tunnels widening construction

Slide 64: CSS Process: Issues Tracking

Image: Gantt chart spanning May 2012 to May 2013 showing Twin Tunnels widening issues for technical team preliminary schedule

Slide 65: Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening

Fair-Better-Best Rating System

  1. Proposed by Project Team
  2. Augmented by the Technical Team
  3. Utilized by the Project Team to develop solutions
  4. Results presented to Technical Team
  5. Technical Team offers feedback
  6. As necessary, Project Team incorporates refinements

Image: Photo of six members of the Project Team on-site

Slide 66: Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening

  • Project Benefits:
    • Improved mobility
    • Improved safety
    • Accelerated delivery
    • Improved water quality & aquatic habitat
    • New trailhead & greenway facilities
    • Improved aesthetics

Image: Photo showing the completed, widened east bound tunnel

Slide 67: Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening

Permeability Solutions:

  • Widened bridge with bench for wildlife
  • Cut and approach along retaining wall
  • Culvert approach
  • Wildlife friendly fencing

Slide 68: Implementation: Twin Tunnels Widening

Image: Photo showing the project roadway

Slide 69: Adaptive Management (Revisited)

  • Document Project successes and lessons learned
  • Update CSS website
  • Periodic check-ins
  • 10 year reassessment of assumptions, vision, needs

Image: Photo showing I-70 through the mountains

Slide 70: Eco-logical Framework Successes

  • Commitment to setting up the rules and not wavering from the process
  • Stakeholders and CDOT knew the rules
    • How the CSS process is used to aid in making decisions
    • Understanding of what CSS is not; an authority for making decisions
    • Commitment to continue moving forward without “Back Tracking”

Slide 71: Eco-logical Framework Successes

  • Significant stakeholder involvement and resource/staff commitment from multiple agencies and industry
  • Find ambassadors for the process and projects
  • Demonstrate connections between Ecological and familiar transportation terms.

Image: Photo showing construction inside one of the tunnels

Slide 72: Eco-logical Framework Successes

  • Upfront investment to establish tools allows projects to move quickly through NEPA, final design, construction. Four years of successful implementation has fostered trust between Stakeholders and CDOT
  • Adaptive management and continuous improvement focus of PEIS and CSS process

Slide 73: Thank you

Slide 74: Eco-Logical Community of Practice


Image: Collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects report

Slide 75: Eco-Logical Community of Practice

Wildlife and Transportation

Contact information:
Kate Kurgan,
David Williams,
Daniel Buford,
Kris Gade,
Justin White,
David Singer,

Images: AASHTO logo, SHRP2 Solutions | Tools for the Road Ahead logo, and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration logo
Image: Collage of colored photographs of a bridge, a deer, a fish, and a curved rural road from the cover of the Eco-Logical: An Ecosystem Approach to Developing Infrastructure Projects report

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