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Study Will Track Movement of Deer on I-280

In early December, 15 deer will be captured and tagged to track their movements to understand how to keep them from crossing the highway.

 

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is informing motorists of a study that will take place in early December that will involve the capture of deer along I-280.

The CalTrans-funded project will be carried out by UC Davis and will study the movement and activity of deer in the area for an 18-month period.

The purpose of the study is to learn how to reduce deer-vehicle collisions along I-280. Upon completion, researchers will submit a recommended action plan to CalTrans.

The California Department of Fish and Game (DFG) will aid UC Davis in capturing deer and fitting them with radio collars to track their movements and better understand how to keep deer from crossing the highway.

Capture dates will be December 2-December 11, 2011. During that time 15 deer will be captured using tranquilizer dart guns and walk-in net traps. The collars will automatically drop off the animals approximately six months later, and another set of 15 deer will be collared.

Due to the nature of the study, the deer captures must be conducted relatively close to the I-280. According to the CHP, motorists may see a DFG vehicle pulled over on the freeway (to check nearby traps) or possibly witness dart gunning in action on a nearby road.

All captures will be conducted from specially marked California Department of Fish and Game vehicles, but at a glance the dart guns may look like rifles and the CHP does not want to alarm motorists.

For more information on the study, contact Clara Laursen or Rose Isarose at 280Connectivity@gmail.com.

JA November 22, 2011 at 12:02 AM
Really? A study to find out if deer are crossing 280? Let me guess what they are going to find out....deer cross 280. And short of placing fencing for miles along each side of the freeway what ingenious plan might they come up with using the data from the study to prevent deers from crossing the road? Great use of funds, CalTrans and CDFG. How about we use that money to keep schools and libraries open. In other news, bears continue to use our state parks as bathrooms...
Rose November 22, 2011 at 07:13 AM
Thank you for your thoughts. The goal of this project is to reduce collisions between people and wildlife, "if” they're crossing isn't the question, Caltrans wouldn’t have considered this project for a potential grant recipient without first receiving undisputable proof that the issue needed attention. Answers to when, where, and why will prompt site-specific solutions intended to make for a safer drive on this beautiful highway. You're correct that fences are part of the solution, you also likely know I280 is long and complex, because of this we will most likely use a variety of solutions, the list of which grows as other Wildlife Connectivity projects prove successful throughout the US, many parts of Europe, and Canada. Transportation Enhancement (“TE”) grant funds were used to fund this project. A small percent of pennies from our gas taxes support this multi-million dollar nationwide TE grant program. Talk to your local road authority if you would like them to take action in your area on any 1 of the 12 categories supported through the TE Program. http://www.enhancements.org/ The TE grant for this project employs many local citizens collaborating across 3 agencies for 18 months for very little money, relatively speaking. It was made possible only after the year of in-kind hours (weekends / lunches) put in amongst the agencies months before a grant was ever awarded. Email 280Connectivity@gmail.com for more info.
TM November 22, 2011 at 08:43 PM
Would it be less expensive to spray the scent of mountain lions along I280, thereby skipping the costly step of a 'study?' It seems these days the governnent spends as much money on studies as it does on physical actions. So what if it employs people from 3 different agencies. Are you saying we need to give these desk jockies something 'worthy' to do? And I'm guessing your "little money" is more than I make in a couple of years. I agree, if we can't get a verbal dialogue going with the deer, then let's put that money toward the communities that can actually tell us what expected services are hurting. We put a red flashing nose on Rudolf, do these deer need a collar?
JA November 22, 2011 at 11:00 PM
Well said TM. Grant money turns into tax money that turns into complete folly when after exhaustive studies and expensive solutions put in place deer continue to cross 280 both from the east and the west....from San Bruno all the way down to Cupertino...because that's what deer do (as well as racoons, mountain lions, skunks, squirrels, coyote, salamanders...why are we not tagging them? Got something against the other animals?). I love deer as much as the next person but there must be better, more important uses of transportation grant funds and ultimately taxpayer dollars than this boondoggle.
Tess November 23, 2011 at 02:28 AM
Because I love animals as much as the next guy, I hope this study helps to prevent deer from getting injured or killed -- however, I do think statistics on how many humans are involved in accidents, injuries and deaths due to the crossing deer are needed to justify spending tax dollars. I'm sure the numbers are there - can they be shared with us please? TM - good cheap idea about the big cat spray.
Steve Hayes November 23, 2011 at 03:12 AM
I wonder if the Davis folks plan to bring Lt. Pike with them to capture the deer - he will attempt to subdue them with pepper spray no doubt.
Rose November 23, 2011 at 04:26 AM
Tess - I have links for you... Steve - I just laughed out loud!
Rose November 23, 2011 at 04:55 AM
TM - Thank you for your thoughts! I really appreciate your input, your mind is going, I love it. "Olfactory repellents" is a good idea, but does need repeat application, I280 is long and exposed to elements, an expense. I hear you about "pointless studies," so you should know, I am a citizen of Santa Clara County, I set out to solve this issue so a) my daughter would never have to experience a large mammal crashing through her windshield b) neither would you and c) the animals on the road broke my heart, and I'm not done until this road has gone through succesful mitigative measures which significantly reduce the likelihood of drivers striking an animal. I didn't get this far because I was a push over who would be content with reading a study after 18 months, neither were those who gave me their time to help get this off the ground. -Reduction of collisions by improving connectivity is the overriding goal- You make an excellent point, I want our results to be transorfmed into action for the betterment of Lifekind, period. As for "Desk jockeys," all I can say to that is we're researchers out in the field, students working towards their degree's and Ph'd's, processing the massive data collected, meeting with public to spur collaboration (I.e. local schools at no cost to them, obviously), etc. Yes, we sit down to work, but not as you've assumed. Lastly, verbal dialogue with deer. For some reason I couldn't get them to learn to speak English (or Spanish), so I spoke for them.
Rose November 23, 2011 at 05:06 AM
JA - I appreciate your thoughts as well. I can relate in that there are many things I wish my taxes didn't go to. And you speak to the length of the road, it's definately a complex area, thus, our solutions will likely be diverse based on the fact this road is very long, rural and sometimes developed...as I understand it, some local communities are accustomed to living amongst the wildlife. This is why giving the animals appropriate places to get across without risk of injury is key, since we can't just shove 'em to one side. If you'd rather see TE funds go elsewhere, go to the site, check it out. There are 12 different categories, pick up the phone. I can help you get started, just shoot me an email. 280Connectivity@gmail.com Lastly, we are monitoring all species, it mis-speaks when mentioning deer only in the article, they are just the ones getting collars. Thank you for thinking of ALL of the wildlife! I love that. This is a very serious issue of safety, my team is necassary and works (for less than the average secretary) to determine how we can, together, create a safer roadway. Email me directly anytime with questions or venting needs.
Joe November 24, 2011 at 04:42 AM
This whole study is a joke and a waste of tax payer dollars. Deer cross 280 for feed, water and sex. plain and simple. Use the money to put up deer proof fences if you want to keep the deer off 280 and to keep them from getting hit by cars. The money would be better spent on fences than another study to study another study. Put up the fences.

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