Highway Underpass Monitoring
Sudbury Valley Trustees has been working with the Town of Concord's Natural Resource Commission through the Concord Wildlife Passages Task Force to monitor wildlife use of underpasses beneath Route 2 in Concord.
Concord Wildlife Passages Task Force
The mission of the task force is to monitor wildlife use of the four wildlife underpasses installed by MassHighway along Route 2 in Concord. To evaluate the effectiveness of the underpasses in providing safe passage for wildlife under Route 2 and to implement measures to increase the effectiveness when possible. To recruit and manage volunteer participation in these efforts. To facilitate communication between town and state government departments pertaining to wildlife passages.
The task force is an appointed volunteer group of the Concord Natural Resources Commission. Current members include Concord residents, wildlife trackers, and SVT personnel. Members are Dave Kay, Ron McAdow, Bob Metcalfe, Lydia Rogers, Dan Stimson, and Bryan Windmiller. The group works with staff from Concord’s Division of Natural Resources.
The recent reconstruction of parts of Route 2 created an opportunity to mitigate the highway’s negative impacts on wildlife. Route 2 was built in the 1930s, and fragmented habitat for many wildlife. For years, the highway posed a daunting barrier to wildlife movement in the area, and crossing the busy road was the only available means to access habitat on both sides. With the addition of new retaining walls and median dividers, the barrier was expected to become even greater. The Town of Concord’s Natural Resource Commission used the opportunity to work with MassHighway to design wildlife underpasses that would enable animals to cross from one side of the highway to the other more safely. After MassHighway constructed the underpasses, the Wildlife Passages Task Force was formed in order to monitor and evaluate the underpasses.
Over the past two years, SVT as part of the Concord Wildlife Passages Task Force has been monitoring the wildlife use of 4 box culverts crossing underneath Route 2 in Concord. The group has used tracking beds, winter tracking work and automatically triggered cameras to determine the frequency and diversity of wildlife use through the culverts.
The Task Force has been continually impressed with the success of the structures. Although monitoring continues at the culverts, data has already shown that a great variety of species use the structures regularly. Some of the results from the camera monitoring of the structures are posted on our Nature Sightings Page.
Visit WBUR's web site to listen to a recent piece about the Concord Underpasses: Wildlife Tunnels are Super-Highways for Animals, by Sacha Pfeiffer.