Road management and development is a key stressor to habitat connectivity and species population health. Because of that, we are actively working to find strategies and approaches that can not only improve the plight of species and habitat BUT also be easily incorporated into road management practices by Public Works, construction companies and road planners alike.
Our hopes are to develop a solid Better Management Practices (BMPs) tool that is tailored to the ecological and road management needs of this region. Further, we hope to work with the people implementing the strategies to learn what is working and what isn’t and adapt them where necessary. As well, we will provide follow-up monitoring and assessment to determine if and how the BMP’s are working or if they need to be tweaked.
Road ecology is a significant focus of the overall work through the Community Nominated Priority Places project, and strong partnerships with Public Works departments and Lands Managers is an essential component. A key goal is that we want the BMP’s to be readily taken up and so we will work with road managers to develop an easy-access tool to Best Management Practice information pertaining to their roads and other work. Beyond a simple document, we’re developing a searchable database to better share and locate information as needed per project or per season.
At a broad scale, the Best Management Practices tool aims to address connectivity threats to species at risk. This tool will take an activity-based approach to presenting best management recommendations. We welcome input on how this can be implemented to better meet the needs of Land Managers and road crews.
Several excellent documents exist on road ecology and road maintenance best practice in the province. For those interested in doing a deeper dive into Road Ecology research and recommendations we suggest the following documents:
- A Guide to Road Ecology in Ontario – Ontario Road Ecology Group, Toronto Zoo
- BMP for Species at Risk Protection During Maintenance Activities* – Ministry of Transportation Ontario (* The species at risk mapping tool discussed in this document no longer exists)
- Best Management Practices for Mitigating the Effects of Roads on Amphibian and Reptile Species at Risk in Ontario – Ministry of Natural Resources and Forest