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Four-toed salamander

Wildlife Crossing Guards

Modeling healthier habitats on managed lands

by Oak Ridge National Laboratory
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Oak Ridge National Laboratory researchers developed a model framework that identifies ways to ensure wildlife can safely navigate their habitats while not unduly affecting infrastructure.

The project centered on the 32,000-acre Oak Ridge Reservation in Tennessee, home to Department of Energy facilities and several at-risk species like the four-toed salamander.

Scientists identified habitats and simulated solutions like conservation buffers and open-bottom culverts to allow safe passage for salamanders and other wildlife, which cost far less than large-scale barrier removal and similarly boost ecological connectivity.

“Development and environmental sustainability don’t have to be at odds,” said ORNL’s Evin Carter. “Our collaborative approach with project managers and engineers shows wildlife management can be an integral part of land-use planning without introducing undue cost or delays.”

- This press release was originally published on the Oak Ridge National Laboratory website