Paul Hood, Alyson Courtemanch, and Cory Hatch
Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation
Nature Mapping Jackson Hole Program
Wildlife-vehicle collisions (WVCs) are a serious safety concern for motorists and can be a significant source of mortality for wildlife. Teton County, Wyoming is renowned for its biodiversity and abundance of wildlife; however, many roadways cut across important wildlife habitat and migration corridors, putting both wildlife and motorists at risk for collisions. Understanding where and when WVCs occur, wildlife species involved, and trends over time are crucial in developing comprehensive mitigation strategies for future transportation planning and development. Many governmental agencies and non-profits in Teton County collect data on WVCs, but we have lacked a central, standardized database to house this information. To fill this need, the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation (JHWF) contracted Teton Science Schools Teton Research Institute to compile data from 7 existing WVC data sources, identify and remove duplicate observations and errors, and standardize the data into one format. The resulting Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Database contains 3,838 unique roadkill observations from 1990-2012. This database is now the most comprehensive and accurate source of WVC data for Teton County. There are 26 wildlife species represented in the database. Ungulate-vehicle collisions, including mule deer, elk, moose, white-tailed deer, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn, comprise 98% of observations. Of these, mule deer account for 69%. The number of annual WVCs has increased steadily from 1990 to 2012, with an average of 242 WVCs occurring each of the last 3 years. The majority of WVCs occur during the winter, in December and January. We performed a density analysis using this database for the purpose of locating road segments in Teton County that have consistently high densities of WVCs. We conducted this analysis for all species combined, and deer, elk, and moose separately. This analysis was similar to one produced by the Western Transportation Institute in 2011, but our analysis identified several additional hotspot locations due to our improved database. The Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Database is housed and administered by the JHWF. It is now available for requests associated with transportation planning, wildlife management, and research. The JHWF intends to update the Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Database annually.