The Road Ecology Program seeks to provide national leadership in understanding the interaction between roads, natural resources, and the environment. We strive to develop and implement solutions through research, education, outreach, and communications.
To succeed, our program works to ensure:
- State-of-the-art science is applied in the development and restoration of surface transportation systems across the nation;
- Transportation policies are developed and programmatically applied to protect the environment;
- Road ecology is an established multidisciplinary academic field at Montana State University and other higher education institutions;
- Environmentally sound transportation systems are recognized by society as an important component of America’s quality of life.
DEFINITION: Road ecology is the study of the complex interaction between roads and the environment over scales of space and time.
About the Road Ecology Program
In 2001, the Western Transportation Institute launched "Transportation Systems–Wildlife Ecology Interactions" as a research focus area to reflect our growing interest and expertise in the field of road ecology. The program expanded further, beginning in 2005, to include wildlife, aquatic, landscape and plant ecology. We have nine staff dedicated to exploring a diversity of solutions for reducing the impacts of highways on the natural environment.
Today, the Road Ecology Program strives to develop and implement science-based solutions through:
- Research, so that state-of-the-art science is applied in the development and restoration of transportation systems across the nation.
- Education, to put into action courses, seminars, curricula, programs, and research opportunities for students in higher education, as well as K-12.
- Outreach and technology transfer, to share our research findings and expertise with transportation professionals, allied agencies, the private sector, and other constituencies interested in reducing the impacts of surface transportation systems on nature.
- Communications, to assure environmentally sound transportation systems are recognized by society as an important component of America’s quality of life.
Rob Ament, M.Sc., Biology, is the Road Ecology Program Manager. He has more than 25 years of experience in plant ecology, natural resource management, environmental policy, and organizational development. He manages over 20 active road ecology research projects throughout North America and currently serves on five national and international committees and boards.
James Begley, M.Sc., Resource Management, is a Research Associate with over 15 years of experience in a wide variety of wildlife research and monitoring studies. He is currently assisting WTI’s efforts in the central Cascades of Washington, where his primary interests include wildlife monitoring, survey design, statistical analyses, and landscape permeability modeling. James also has interests in avian ecology and conservation, dry forest management, and he participates in community planning/politics for the city of Roslyn, Washington
Matt Blank, Ph.D., Civil Engineering, is a Research Scientist studying road and stream interactions with an emphasis on synthesizing geology, hydrology, hydraulics and fisheries aspects. He has over 12 years of experience in the environmental arena, with a focus on aquatic passage over the last five years. He recently joined WTI to expand the road ecology program to include transportation interactions with aquatic ecosystems.
Anthony (Tony) Clevenger, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology, is a Senior Wildlife Research Scientist specializing in identifying factors influencing wildlife crossing performance and analyzing factors contributing to wildlife-vehicle collisions. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee on Effects of Highways on Natural Communities and Ecosystems. He has published over 40 articles in peer-reviewed scientific journals and co-authored three books including, Road Ecology: Science and Solutions (Island Press, 2003).
Adam T. Ford, M.Sc., Biology, is a Research Associate with six years of experience in conservation, ecology and international community development. His work has taken him from the South Pacific to Eastern Africa, and from the temperate rainforests of western Vancouver Island to the native short-grass prairie of eastern Alberta. Currently, he is based in the Rocky Mountains of Banff National Park with research interests in the effects of roads on wildlife, mammal ecology, and the effects of landscape structure on animal movement.
Marcel Huijser, Ph.D., Wildlife Ecology, is a Research Ecologist with over 10 years experience working as an applied ecologist in Europe and the United States, specializing in road-wildlife interactions with an emphasis on evaluating and documenting methods and technologies that reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions. Dr. Huijser serves as a committee member of the Transportation Research Board’s Taskforce on Ecology and Transportation, and is the co-chair for the Subcommittee on Animal-Vehicle Collisions.
Angela Kociolek, M.Sc., Biological Sciences, is a Research Associate with more than 14 years of conservation-related experience. Her interdisciplinary background ranges from biogeographical and ecological research, avian and lichenological field biology, integrated environmental education, community outreach, visual arts, and writing. Currently, Angela is actively engaged in the field components of wildlife crossing and wildlife-vehicle collision studies.
Robert Long, Ph.D., Natural Resources, is a Research Ecologist with over 16 years of experience studying a variety of wildlife species. His research interests include carnivore ecology and conservation, landscape permeability for wildlife, and wildlife monitoring and survey design. Dr. Long currently coordinates wildlife monitoring efforts for WTI in the central Cascades of Washington State, where he also holds an adjunct faculty position in the Biology Department at Central Washington University.
Paula MacKay, B.A.., Psychology, Graduate Studies, is a Research Associate with almost 20 years of experience in wildlife conservation and research. Her diverse background includes the study of terrestrial and marine species, with a recent emphasis on large carnivores. She is currently assisting WTI’s wildlife monitoring efforts in the central Cascades of Washington, where her primary interests lie in enhancing habitat connectivity for wide-ranging mammals. An experienced writer, Paula served as the managing editor for a book entitled Noninvasive Survey Methods for Carnivores (Island Press, 2008).
Tiffany Allen, M.Sc., Biological Sciences, is a Research Scientist with nearly 10 years of experience in ecology and wildlife research and over 5 years of experience in road ecology. She enjoys an interdisciplinary approach to research, enriched by her diverse background in music theory, teaching, and wildlife research. Her experience spans a wide variety of species, from herpetofauna (reptiles of a particular region) to large mammals, and a wide variety of organizations, from non-profits to state and federal agencies. Her recent research focused on the effectiveness of crossing structures and wildlife guards.
Contact: Rob Ament 406-994-6423
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