Connecting Transportation Infrastructure and Habitat

Transportation infrastructure and habitat are integrally related because both transportation networks and ecosystems are regional and their persistence depends on connectivity between origins and destinations. The linear nature of roads often results in a direct loss of habitat and the presence of wildlife travel corridors in turn pose a safety risk for drivers and passengers. Through its enhanced scoping, planning and design processes, MaineDOT relies heavily on spatial information gathered and depicted on GIS layers by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This data has been compiled through the Beginning with Habitat (BwH) program. The BwH program will map overland habitat connections that will help target infrastructure investments and conservation funds to improve and protect wildlife crossings and reduce animal-vehicle collisions. This is a two year effort focusing on some rare species including the northern black racer snake, the New England cottontail and others. Mapping and modeling will be completed.