Top Stories April 3, 2019

Wilson Moose Collared for New Study

by Jackson Hole Radio News

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department, along with the help of local landowners and other volunteers deployed GPS collars on ten adult moose in the Wilson area recently. The moose were primarily collared on private lands in the vicinity of the intersection of highways 22 and 390 between Jackson and Wilson.

The Wyoming Game and Fish Department and Wyoming Department of Transportation have initiated the new research project to evaluate both daily and seasonal movements of moose in this area to identify locations moose select, or avoid, as crossing locations. Results will be used in design of the new highway and Snake River bridge reconstruction scheduled to begin in 2022. Biologists noted that there were already two successful highway crossings by two different moose in the first two weeks of being collared. The tracking collars are programmed to fall off the animals in July of 2021.

The area along highways 22 and 390 from the Town of Jackson to the Idaho-Wyoming state line is one of the highest documented moose-vehicle collision areas in Wyoming. The high daily number of vehicles and the high density of moose presents a significant challenge to ensure the safety of motorists and wildlife. Teton County, with the cooperation of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation, Teton Conservation District, Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance, Wyoming Department of Transportation, Wyoming Game and Fish Department, and many other private citizens and groups have initiated the effort to address moose-vehicle collisions during the planning phase of Highway 22/390 reconstruction and Snake River bridge replacement.

In 2017, Teton County initiated an unprecedented public collaborative effort to fully understand the dynamic of how the county’s wildlife interacted with the network of roads and highways in Teton County. To further complement and refine this effort, Teton County formulated a citizen advisory group. This group enlisted the assistance of the Western Transportation Initiative (WTI) in a collaborative process that identified recommendations to Teton County on how the impacts of vehicles to localized and migratory wildlife populations along segments of the county’s roadways could be mitigated. Teton County developed a prioritized ranking of the roadways that may prove suitable for wildlife crossing structures – Teton County Wildlife Crossings Master Plan, Action Summary. This plan identified the highway 22 and 390 intersection, and associated Snake River bridge, as the highest priority highway in Teton County to construct a wildlife crossing structure(s).