A few citizen scientist volunteers were out collecting data along Highway 93 in the Bitterroot last week documenting the number and kinds of animals that could be found killed on or beside the road between Hamilton and Florence.
Making the ride through the Bitterroot last Thursday, were local cyclist Heather Hicks and Spokane wildlife enthusiast Elise Rose accompanied by award-winning environmental journalist, Ben Goldfarb. Goldfarb is researching a book about the science of road ecology and how roads affect the natural world. The data on roadkill, as well as detailed environmental observations, will be submitted to the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the Montana Department of Transportation to aid in their efforts at protecting wildlife.
According to Hicks, more than 365 million animals are killed, 29,000 humans injured, and $8.4 billion in damages is incurred every year in the United States as a result of wildlife-vehicle collisions and Montana has the second-highest incidence in the nation.
From 2019 to 2022, Adventure Scientists volunteers will cycle 11,000+ miles of Montana’s roads, recording all roadkill they encounter
“Our partners at the Montana Department of Transportation and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks will use the data to add value to a suite of other data sources to make informed decisions on the planning and implementation of wildlife accommodations intended to reduce wildlife-vehicle conflicts and reduce transportation-related barriers to wildlife movement,” said Hicks.