Nearly 5-km of fencing and 9 culverts installed along Long Point Road
By Alex Brockman, CBC News Posted: Oct 11, 2016 7:07 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 11, 2016 7:07 AM ET
Conservationists in southwestern Ontario credit culverts and fencing with reducing road mortality for reptiles on a deadly stretch of roadway.
Long Point Road is the only roadway connecting Long Point, Ont. with mainland Norfolk County. The causeway runs parallel to the Big Creek National Wildlife Area, making a deadly crossing for animals there.
Reptiles faced threats from vehicles travelling on the roadway for years, with 250 turtles and snakes crushed in 2008 alone. By 2015 that number dropped to 53.
That sharp drop can be credited to the 4.5 kilometres of fencing and nine culverts installed to make the roadway safer, explained Rick Levick, a spokesman for the Long Point Causeway Improvement Project. It’s the group responsible for installing the barriers.
“It was a community initiative, we said, ‘Enough’s enough. Let’s get together and do something about this,” Levick said.
With three more culverts and another kilometre of fencing planned, Levick said the goal is to reduce road mortality for reptiles is much as possible.
“We’ll never get road mortality down to 100 per cent because there are areas of the causeway we can’t fence off,” Levick said. “These critters are pretty artful at finding holes in the fence.”
Last week, biologist Jonathan Choquette recorded 91 dead snakes on a series of eight roads in one day near the Ojibway Prairie Complex in Windsor. At least 30 crushed snakes were designated species-at-risk, including the endangered Butler’s garter snake and the eastern fox snake.
Levick said public awareness of snakes and other reptiles is an easy way to begin reducing the number of reptiles killed on roads near wildlife preserves like the Ojibway Prairie Complex
“Just asking people to be careful, watch when the animals are moving and know this is a prime time for snakes looking for their winter habitat,” he said. “Just tell people to be careful and give the animals a chance.”