Eastern Massasauga (Sisturus catenatus) Road Ecology and Population Dynamics in Michigan

Eastern massasauga rattlesnakes (EMR) are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. In 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) developed a statewide Programmatic Agreement (Programmatic) on the conservation and management of EMR in relation to road construction and maintenance projects. Presently, MDOT and County Road Commissions maintain roads through approximately 9,300 miles of EMR habitat (modeled as Tier I and Tier II; https://ecos.fws.gov/ipac/). These roadways and associated Right-of-Way (ROW) are subjected to a variety of development and maintenance activities that have the potential to affect EMRs. Due to many factors, including the secretive nature of the species and a lack of research, the potential effects of construction and maintenance activities are not understood. Yet, federal regulators require many best management practices (BMPs) to protect EMR during both construction and maintenance activities. These BMPs include silt fence installation, inspections, alternative erosion control measures, species surveys, and seasonal restrictions for mowing, clearing, culvert replacement, and ditching. Research and monitoring that addresses EMR use of ROW areas is needed to calibrate these BMPs, maintain compliance with the Endangered Species Act, and ensure the wise use of transportation funds.


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    • Status: Active
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Michigan Department of Transportation

      Van Wagoner Building
      425 W. Ottawa Street
      Lansing, MI  United States  48909
    • Performing Organizations:

      Michigan State University, East Lansing

      Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
      Institute for Community Development
      East Lansing, MI  United States  48824-1226
    • Start Date: 20191125
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230531
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    • TRT Terms: Wildlife
    • Subject Areas: Environment;

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01774514
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Michigan Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 2019‐1007
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jun 21 2021 11:38AM