The Big Sur Land Trust-CA Central Coast Connectivty Project
Big Sur Land Trust: Principal Investigator for the California Central Coast Connectivity Project with Project Managers, Joanna Devers & Rachel Saunders. This research project involves performing a mutli-species connectivity analyses to design an optimum linkage to facilitate movement of species in Northern Monterey County and between the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Gabilan Range.
This research has demonstrated that mulitple species are moving through linkage areas to adjacent lands and habitats.
The continuation of the study and expansion into other conservation priority sites in Monterey and San Benito County has also revealed additional data about wildlife use including breeding and rearing activity, species preferences of utilizing man-made structures such as bridges and culverts, predator-prey interactions at linkage sites, seasonality of various species at study locations, and utilization of linkages by various species.
Through wildlife surveys which include, data collected by field camera stations, wildlife track and sign surveys, and documented road-kill incidents combined with Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping, field data is integrated into focal species habitat suitability maps, which include areas wildlife are moving through and also barriers to wildlife movement.
Field work involves monitoring wildlife movement throughout the landscape, with particular emphasis on road crossing locations such as culverts and bridges to provide a report on wildlife crossing locations and maintenance needed to improve the permeability for wildlife to move throughout the landscape. Beginning 3/07-present.
In the Monterey Coast-Sierra de Salinas study area, at the Marks Ranch-Hwy 68 El Toro Creek Underpass-Fort Ord National Monument study site, funding was obtained from the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) to protect habitat that was shown to be a linkage for mountain lions.