Strategies to Reduce Burro-Vehicle Collisions in the Lake Pleasant Area

A large and growing population of wild burros lives in the vicinity of Lake Pleasant north of Phoenix, Arizona. Included in this region is the Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area (HMA). The burros are under the guardianship of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), as established by the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 (Public Law 92-195). BLM estimated the HMA’s burro population at 54 animals in 1974 and 366 in 2014. The HMA encompasses an area in the vicinity of Lake Pleasant. Burros are widely distributed in the region and affect portions of the state highway system (Interstate 17, State Route 74, and State Loop 303) and roads under the jurisdiction of Maricopa County, Phoenix, and Peoria. Burros enter roadways for reasons that are presently unclear. A partial and anecdotal explanation is that existing animal barriers are being compromised by human recreational users of public lands (fences are cut, gates are left open). The BLM reports that 85 burro-vehicular incidents occurred on the state highway system in the region in 2013 through 2015, resulting in the deaths of 41 burros and significant property damage, but no human fatalities. Nevertheless, the risk exists for burro-vehicle collisions, human injuries, and fatalities to occur. A complete understanding of burro movements has not been established. No studies on burro movements relevant to roads or vehicular collisions have been conducted. This research was proposed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) in cooperation with BLM. The research is managed by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and performed by AGFD; additional tasks, such as burro collaring and capture, are performed by BLM. The research team will: (1) document and analyze burro-vehicle collisions in the study area; (2) collect and document other relevant data, including ADOT’s fencing inventory; (3) identify and analyze burro movement, distribution, and road permeability in the Lake Pleasant HMA; (4) identify burros’ points of access to roadways and high-crossing locations; and (5) recommend data-driven strategies that ADOT can implement to restrict burros from the roadways and prevent collisions with vehicles.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • The Arizona Game and Fish Department, along with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, are contributing staff time.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $250,000
  • Contract Numbers:

    SPR-753

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Arizona Department of Transportation

    206 South 17th Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85007

    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    2221 West Greenway Road
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85023-4399

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    U.S. Bureau of Land Management

    1 North Central Avenue
    Suite 800
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85004
  • Managing Organizations:

    Arizona Department of Transportation

    206 South 17th Avenue
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85007
  • Project Managers:

    Phelan, Bernadette

  • Performing Organizations:

    Arizona Game and Fish Department

    2221 West Greenway Road
    Phoenix, AZ  United States  85023-4399
  • Principal Investigators:

    Gagnon, Jeff

  • Start Date: 20160927
  • Expected Completion Date: 20210802
  • Actual Completion Date: 0

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01615479
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Arizona Department of Transportation
  • Contract Numbers: SPR-753
  • Files: RiP, STATEDOT
  • Created Date: Oct 28 2016 6:57PM