JACKSON HOLE, WYO - A new Wildlife Crossings Master Plan was presented to the Teton County Board of Commissioners recently. The work was the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) after it was awarded the contract in Fall 2016.\r\n\r\nWTI identified some 12 places where wildlife crossings would be of benefit. Those dozen sites were ranked according to priority. Topping the list were Highway 22\/390 intersection, Highway 22\/Spring Creek to Bar Y, and Camp Creek on Highway 191.\r\n\r\nAs part of the executive summary WTI authors wrote: \u201cTeton County is part of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, a uniquely intact ecosystem that is home to abundant and diverse wildlife species. At the same time, Teton County\u2019s human population, and its commuting workforce, have been growing rapidly, at times coming into conflict with wildlife. One consequence of human population and commuter increase is rising traffic volume and associated ecological impacts of roads.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u201cRoads can have a variety of impacts on wildlife species, including direct mortality (e.g. when animals get hit by cars), acting as partial or complete barriers to animal movements (both terrestrial and aquatic species), and reducing the habitat that is effectively available to wildlife. Vehicle collisions with large mammals also pose a substantial human safety problem and associated economic impact.\u201d\r\n\r\nResearchers used existing data on large-mammal-vehicle collisions to identify road sections that have a concentration of wildlife-vehicle collisions. Researchers had access to three data sets: wildlife-vehicle crash data collected by law enforcement personnel, carcass removal data collected by Wyoming Department of Transportation personnel, and a combination of all known sources for large-mammal-vehicle collisions maintained by Jackson Hole Nature Mapping\/Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation.\r\n\r\nBroadway through the town of Jackson, and the road section at the south end of Jackson have the greatest concentration of large mammal-vehicle collisions. Species specific data showed that mule deer are the most frequently reported species in wildlife-vehicle collisions. Mule deer are most frequently hit in Jackson (Broadway) and along several sections of US Hwy 26\/89\/191 between the south end of Jackson and Hoback Jct, and along US Hwy 89\/26 just west of Hoback Jct.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nElk are most frequently hit along US Hwy 26\/89\/191 south of Jackson (just south of Jackson and Game Creek area), US Hwy 189\/191 east of Hoback Jct, along US Hwy 26\/89\/191 north of Jackson (adjacent to the National Elk Refuge), and along WY 22 near the Teton Science School.\r\n\r\nMoose are most frequently hit along WY 22 and WY 390 near the Snake River, and along WY 22 west of Teton Pass (near Hungry Creek Rd).\r\n\r\nThe researchers also used existing data on migration routes, and important habitat for large ungulates and selected species that are considered of greatest concern to biological conservation in Teton County. A substantial portion of the highways in Teton County cut across important migration corridors and habitat for mule deer and elk.\r\n\r\nMoose habitat and movements are known to occur east of Moran Jct, Along WY 22 and 390 close to the Snake River, and along the ridge at the Teton Science School and the Sky Line Ranch.\r\n\r\nBighorn sheep are known to be on US Hwy 189\/191 near Camp Creek. High elevation areas along WY 22 (west of Wilson) and US Hwy 26\/287 (Togwotee Pass) were identified as important for rare large carnivores.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nThe researchers calculated the costs associated with large mammal-vehicle collisions along the highways in Teton County based on an existing cost-benefit model. The costs were calculated and compared to the economic thresholds that need to be met for different types and combinations of mitigation measures to pay for themselves.\r\n\r\nThe following highway sections have the highest costs associated with large wild mammal-vehicle collisions and would thus have the greatest economic benefits of implementing mitigation measures aimed at reducing collisions and providing safe crossing opportunities:\r\n\r\n \tUS Hwy 26\/89\/191 South end South Park Loop Rd - Jackson (Broadway).\r\n \tUS Hwy 26\/89\/191 Snake River- Game Creek area.\r\n \tUS Hwy 26\/89\/191 near Fish Hatchery.\r\n \tWY 22: Spring Gulch - west of Bar Y Rd.\r\n \tWY 22: Jct with WY 390.\r\n \tWY 22: Between weigh station and Trail Creek Campground.\r\n \tWY 390: Jct WY 22 \u2013 Andersen Ln.