In December of 2017, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game began a roadkill study on US Highway 20 and State Highway 87 in Fremont County. Largely conducted by citizen science volunteers, the study focuses on these two highway sections because they bisect known big game migration routes. The study’s data is stored in the online “Idaho Fish and Wildlife Information System” (IFWIS) database, and aids Fish and Game with its wildlife management mission, which includes understanding big game movements throughout the state. IFWIS roadkill data is also available to state and federal agencies and interested publics.
In February 2019, Fish and Game applied to the Forest Service for a $25,000 Citizen Science Grant to reimburse volunteer mileage and fund a wildlife technician coordinating the study through December 2019. The Ashton/Island Park Ranger District will manage the grant and use the data for land-use planning on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
The original grant application also indicated that study analyses could inform Idaho Transportation Department decisions about wildlife crossings. Fish and Game has since heard from citizens and County Commissioners that there is no interest in constructing wildlife crossings in Fremont County. A modification to the grant agreement will therefore clarify that the study’s focus is wildlife management per the following goals.
- Inform Forest Service land-use planning, travel planning, and project specific analyses on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest.
- Contribute to the statewide IFWIS database.
- Facilitate community engagement locally and statewide.
- Refine data collection protocols for other similar studies.