USGS Migration Collar Data
USGS Migration Route Data. Notice Interstate Locations.
USGS Migration Collar Data
USGS Migration Route Data. Notice Interstate Locations and Migration Barriers.

We hear all the time about urban sprawl affecting mule deer populations. I think the average hunter, (me included) usually only thinks about habitat destruction directly related to communities, homes, and businesses. We don’t even consider the road system that link all of these communities together and the impact roadways have on wildlife, especially mule deer.  Of course when we do think about roads and wildlife, the first thing that comes to mind is wildlife-auto collisions, but it is much more complex than that. In fact those collisions we see are a drop in the bucket when we compare it to the loss of historic migration routes, and loss of access to habitat that comes with migration.

Change has been everywhere you look nearly over the past half a century. It wasn’t until 1956, that the Interstate Highway System was dreamed up under the Eisenhower administration. The speed limit on the highway during the 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s was 55 MPH, of course now, we would all lose our minds if we had to drive that slow.

The big question- How has this complex system of multi-lane highways, changes in speed limits, and road noise affected the wildlife in the State of Utah, and around the west, particularly the mule deer herds?

Here to address some of those questions, and many more is Matt Howard, the Utah Department of Transportations Natural Resource Manager. Matt is a biologist by definition, and a guy that studies “Road Ecology”, which is a fairly new science. He explains what the State of Utah is doing to help reduce wildlife fatalities, improve migration corridors, and mitigate wildlife and automobile collisions.

Route 66
Constructing “Main Street of America” Route 66

To learn more on Utah Migrations-

The rest of the United States (besides Montana for some reason)

If you enjoyed this episode and want to learn more about different episodes, you can check here for detailed show notes and overviews. Rokcast Podcast

Another great Rokcast on Migration Routes. ROKCAST MIGRATION