Identification and Prioritization of Ecological Interface Zones on State Highways in Florida

Title: Identification and Prioritization of Ecological Interface Zones on State Highways in Florida
Author: Daniel J. Smith
Publication Date: 1999
Dewey Decimal Number: 639.9
Call Record: DIGITAL      639.9  Smith  1999


The Florida Department of Transportation has recently started a program to integrate road projects with statewide conservation objectives by installation of underpasses or culverts on a statewide level designed to restore landscape connectivity and processes. The economics of an effort of such large scope dictates the need for a method to identify and prioritize such projects.

A rule-based GIS model was used to perform this function. Factors for prioritizing relative impact of roads include chronic road-kill sites, focal species hot spots, riparian corridors, greenway linkages, strategic habitat conservation areas, existing and proposed conservation lands, and known or predicted movement/migration routes, among others.

The priorities determined by the model indicate significant focus toward road segments within nationally- and regionally- significant conservation areas and riparian corridors. Keys to mitigation of impacts of highways and automobile traffic on wildlife populations and ecologically sensitive areas include programming of road projects and identification of existing structures. Several road projects and suitable existing structures were identified within highly ranked ecological interface zones.

Through identification of priority ecological interface zones highway officials can program mitigative measures needed on state highways to counter negative impacts on wildlife and wildlife habitat and for restoration of important landscape-level processes.