Drainage culverts as habitat linkages and factors affecting passage by mammals

  • Published source details Clevenger A.P., Chruszcz B. & Gunson K. (2001) Drainage culverts as habitat linkages and factors affecting passage by mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology, 38, 1340–1349.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Install tunnels/culverts/underpass under roads

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Install tunnels/culverts/underpass under roads

    A replicated study in 1999–2000 along two highways in Alberta, Canada (Clevenger et al. 2001) found that drainage culverts were used by at least nine mammal species. A total of 618 crossings were recorded. Species recorded were coyote Canis latrans (1% of crossings), American marten Martes americana (12%), weasel Mustela ermine and Mustela frenata (28%), snowshoe hare Lepus americanus (3%), red squirrel Tamiasciurus hudsonicus (4%), bushy-tailed wood rat Neotoma cinerea (15%), shrew spp. Sorex spp. (8%), deer mouse Peromyscus maniculatus (28%) and vole spp. Arvicolinae (0.5%). Culvert use was positively correlated with traffic volume (for hare, squirrel and marten), culvert openness (marten), culvert height (weasel), through-culvert visibility (hare) and adjacent shrub cover (hare). A range of factors negatively affected culvert use by mammals (see paper for details). Thirty-six drainage culverts were monitored along a 55-km section of the Trans-Canada highway (two- and four-lane sections, with and without central reservation) and a 24-km section of highway 1A (two lanes, no central reservation). Crossings were determined from sooted track-plates (75 × 30 cm) in each culvert, checked weekly in January–April of 1999–2000 (≥ 12 times/culvert) and tracks in adjacent snow indicating culvert use.

    (Summarised by: Rebecca K. Smith)

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