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MnDOT | Protecting Small Animals along Minnesota Roadways

MnDOT | Protecting Small Animals along Minnesota Roadways


My name is Chris Smith and I work at the MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship and I’m a Wildlife Ecologist. This project is focusing on small animals and within that kind of large category, we’re most interested in turtles. We’re trying to reduce female turtle road mortality to better sustain those populations long-term. We have some fence going in. This is a fairly standard rightaway fence, but with a few differences and so we have the fence actually buried about 10 to 12 inches in the ground. This is so small animals cannot burrow underneath the fence and then we also have a special end treatment which we could go look at in a bit it actually turns the small animals around if they’re moving along the fence they hit the end it turns them around and redirects them back towards the fence and then on this stretch of road. We have a couple of culverts (tunnels) and so we try to get the critters to go underneath the road through the culvert. I’m Trisha Marco I’m a Wildlife Conservation Specialist with the Minnesota Zoo. Turtles really serve an important ecosystem function. They help to keep our wetlands really clean and healthy. They consume dead and dying plant and animal matter you can kind of think of them as the janitors of the wetland so they’re clearing out all the gunk you might find in lakes and really reducing disease. We had some MnDOT staff who are aware of a desire to expand our conservation program in state. MnDOT staff they had this proposal for doing these small animal exclusion fences and what they’re looking for is the zoo to help contribute to the research end of it so MnDOT could cover the cost of the fences and of the staff but they needed somebody who could actually initiate the research and see if this is effective. And then we can use that data from the study to determine if it’s something that we want to move forward with and apply larger scale statewide. The Office of Environmental Stewardship we develop some kind of special provisions and standard plates for this small animal specific fencing and so we really hope to you know take what we’ve learned from this project modify those to make the fencing more effective so that our engineers and project designers can take that right off the shelf and incorporate these in the projects when appropriate. [Music] [Music]

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