Title

The Role of Citizen Participation in Wildlife-Sensitive Transportation Projects

Date of Award

3-10-2006

Document Type

Capstone Project

Disciplines

Environmental Policy And Management

Degree Name

Master of Environmental Policy And Management

Department

Environmental Policy And Management

Advisor

Harold Tyus

Keywords

Citizen Advocacy; Citizen Participation; Conservation of natural resources -- United States -- Citizen participation; Environmental protection -- United States -- Citizen participation; Roadkill -- United States; Roads -- Environmental aspects -- United States; Transportation -- Environmental aspects; Wildlife and Transportation; Wildlife

Abstract

An extensive and growing road system in the United States bisects vital wildlife habitat and is causing deleterious ecological effects on many wildlife species. The primary impacts include collisions between wildlife and vehicles, altered movement patterns within habitat, and/or the complete blockage of movements between vital habitats. The increasing size of the road network and number of vehicles will only intensify the problem unless proactive wildlife mitigation measures are developed to minimize these adverse effects. Therefore, this capstone project examines the role of citizen advocacy for promoting wildlife protection in the planning and development of wildlife-sensitive transportation projects in the United States. Based upon a data analysis of 21 questionnaires from qualified participants, it was determined that citizen participation is an important component associated with the development of wildlife-sensitive transportation projects. However, four major barriers to facilitating effective citizen participation processes were identified. 1) A lack of awareness. Citizens are only minimally aware of wildlife and transportation issues, including: a) the ecological impacts of roads, b) the solutions available to mitigate these impacts, and c) the opportunities to advocate for the protection of wildlife during transportation planning processes; 2) Public apathy or a lack of citizen interest in wildlife and transportation issues; 3) Ineffective citizen participation techniques and processes; and 4) Poor communication with citizens. Four recommendations were provided to assist in overcoming these barriers and to help define a better role for citizen advocacy in protecting wildlife from the growing road network.

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