In October of 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) began a 5-year project to conduct research to inform Best Management Practices (BMPs) for amphibian and reptile crossing and barrier systems in California. To inform future conservation and transportation planning, this project involved identification of species at highest risk of negative road impacts, creation of geodatabase and spatial mapping tools that crosswalk with California Essential Habitat Connectivity Planning, and field research to address information gaps in the efficacy of reptile and amphibian passage and barrier systems.
Per the agreement with California Department of Transportation (Caltrans; agreement 65A0553), this project was part of a broader collaborative effort between the Western Transportation Institute (WTI) of Montana State University and USGS Western Ecological Research Center (WERC). As part of this broader project, WTI conducted a worldwide literature review and gap analysis and produced the BMP manual for herpetofauna in California. WTI and USGS were contracted separately although we worked closely together throughout this broader effort and each brought particular expertise to the project. WTI has expertise in highways, the attributes of the highway environment, and has broad international experience with road ecology and herpetofauna connectivity systems worldwide. USGS WERC has expertise with California amphibian and reptile species and their ecology, study design and implementation, as well as expertise in landscape connectivity and road ecology.