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Reducing Wildlife Collisions: What is working in Northeastern Ontario


Wildlife/vehicle collisions pose a serious safety risk for motorists across Canada, and
they are increasing annually. In Ontario alone, there are approximately 14 000
wildlife/vehicle collisions reported each year, with many more unreported. In
Northeastern Ontario, wildlife collisions are even more frequent, and can account for as
high as 50% of the total number of collisions along some highways. This paper
describes the mitigation efforts on two major highways (Highways 11 and 69) over the
past few decades. Prior to the last decade, wildlife collision reduction efforts in Ontario
were primarily limited to installing wildlife warning signs and no discernable reduction in
wildlife collisions was observed. In 2005, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation (MTO),
Northeastern Region, commenced a more proactive approach to reducing
wildlife/vehicle collisions by installing emerging mitigation methods such as crossing
structures and fencing on both Highway 11 and 69. To date, the most extensive
mitigation in Ontario is on Highway 69 between Parry Sound and Sudbury, where
highway expansion and upgrades are currently being completed and one wildlife
overpass, one underpass, twenty-seven one-way gates, two texas gates, and 10 km of
fencing have been installed. In September 2011, mitigation effectiveness monitoring
was initiated on this section of highway. Key results have shown that more species are
using the wildlife overpass over time and that most animals, such as Moose and Deer
prefer the wildlife overpass to the wildlife underpass. Preliminary data has shown a
reduction in wildlife/vehicle collisions in the fenced section, and no Moose and Elk have
breached the fencing system. Long-term monitoring is required to assess overall
effectiveness of the crossing structure and fencing systems for all wildlife populations in
the study area. Monitoring efforts are ongoing and are expected to produce additional
results prior to the 2014 TAC Conference, such as an assessment of black bear
population-level use of wildlife crossings through DNA analysis conducted on hair and
scat samples. 

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Environmental Assessment and Protection - How We Got to Where We Are Today
A. Healy
K.E. Gunson
Environmental issues, Environmental legislation