Use of a GIS-Based Model of Habitat Cores and Landscape Corridors for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Project Planning and Environmental Scoping

As important habitats are being lost to human development, transportation agencies are facing increased expectations that their road projects avoid or minimize further habitat destruction and adverse effects on wildlife populations. Wildlife linkage or landscape corridor analyses are being conducted in an increasing number of states, and more transportation agencies are using this information during the planning of proposed road projects. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Natural Heritage Program is creating a geographic information system (GIS) tool, the Virginia Natural Landscape Assessment (VANLA), that identifies large patches of natural land cover (habitat cores) and the habitat linkages connecting these areas (landscape corridors). This analysis can be integrated into the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT's) existing GIS applications for access by staff involved with transportation planning and environmental scoping activities. Analyzing a proposed project in the early stages of project development would allow VDOT to identify important natural resource areas and habitat corridors to avoid or for which mitigation may be appropriate or necessary. This can result in fewer project delays, promote collaboration between VDOT and state natural resource and regulatory agencies, and meet the directives of the new habitat conservation provision in the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, and Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU), the federal transportation legislation. In addition, basing particular project decisions on a project’s location relative to a habitat corridor can decrease the risk of costly animal-vehicle collisions.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Edition: Final Report
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 25p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01044295
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: FHWA/VTRC 07-R14, VTRC 07-R14
  • Contract Numbers: 79242
  • Created Date: Mar 11 2007 8:01AM