Welcome to the Oregon Roadkill Survey

For those who have joined, I would like to welcome you to the Oregon Roadkill Survey. In this post, I'm going to explain a few things about the project in more depth and how you can contribute better to the project.

The Purpose of the Project

One of the comments I got prior to creating this project, is why the groups "GLOBAL Roadkill Observations" or "Roadkill". I think the first project I mentioned is the most similar to why I created this, "reduce this loss and the first step is to understand where it is occurring." (GLOBAL Roadkill Observations -- About)

That is why goes through my mind when I think about documenting roadkill. I live near Ladd Marsh Wildlife Management Area in northeastern Oregon and I find it outstanding how many animals are killed on Oregon Highway 203. In the spring when waters are high, a new duck dead on the road every day was not unusual. At night there's always a cat or raccoon dead. In fall, farm pheasants are released for the hunting season and I swear more get run over than hunted. Recently, I found the first dead elk. Great Horned Owls, Red-tailed Hawks, ground squirrels, turtles, you name it but it's a corridor of death. To me, to have this happen on land that's dedicated to the conservation of these animals and how the deaths easily outnumber any other road in the county is unaccepted. In this project, I am doing nearly exactly what GLOBAL Roadkill Observations are doing, trying to minimize the victims of the road.

My second reason for performing this project is because GLOBAL Roadkill Observations have too much on their plate. However if you contribute to this project, I will ensure it will get transfer to the global project. And that is because for any project, company or government to work, is if you have subdivisions. Our goal is the same, we're just a subdivision focused on a smaller area to help them get better and more accurate information. In an iNaturalist sense, we are the traditional project and GLOBAL Roadkill Observations is the umbrella project, combining all the subdivisions information into one wrap-up sheet. And lastly, roadkill in Oregon is going to much different from South Carolina or Quebec roadkill, hence another reason to have the project.

Observation Requirements

If you've tried adding an observation already to project, you may have realized you received a form that needs to be filled out before your observation is added to the project. That's because I want a little more information than just the animal was dead here. These fields I want you to fill out are:

  1. Roadkill Condition: I want to know the state of which the carcass was when you found it. The options below are:
    a. Fresh: The victim was just hit. Signs that it is fresh includes; still bleeding, doesn't look very mashed up and if you really want to, if the body is still warm or the body is limp.
    b. Stiff: Fresh victim but enough time has passed so that the body is stiff and body parts won't move. Because I'm not expecting you to actually touch the carcass (because I personally wouldn't) I believe 'fresh' and 'stiff' can be interchangeable and you are decider on what to call it.
    c. Partially Decomposed: Victim has been dead for a while and the process of decomposition is starting to take place. So the animal may appear shrunken and ribs are starting to show, fleshly parts like eyes and tongue are rotted away. In the carcass is being scavenged upon, you may use this as your condition or the next depending on what's left with the animal.
    d. Heavily Decomposed: Use this attribute to any roadkill where most, if not all internal organs have rotten away, giving the carcass an unnaturally skinny look; ribs are showing, abdomen is shrunken to nothing. Use this attribute also for any roadkill where skin has decomposed and skeleton is left or roadkill so damaged, they may not be identifiable.

  2. Direction of Travel: Not much is needed to explain this; what possible direction was the victim going. I'm hoping information like this can help us decide how the animal was hit such as, was it just entering the road when it was hit or when it was nearly across. Though there could be a lot of disinformation due to animals being spun when hit, maybe we can still get an idea on how these animals are getting hit. Just add the direction the head of the animal was facing.
  3. Which Lane? This is the complicated attribute I require but it helps give an idea of where the victim died on the road. Here's a brief overview of placement on the road.
    a. Direction Bound: The first four attributes are direction bound lanes. These apply to any US or Oregon Highway, or the two-lane highways with one lane in each direction. If the animal is in the middle of the lane, use this attribute and the direction. Let's say you are on US Highway 197 going to The Dalles. That is a northbound lane and you would use that. REMEBER! If the highway is an odd number (example US 197) it is a north-south and if it is even (example OR 82) it is a west-east highway.
    b. Inside or Outside: The next eight attributes apply to all Interstates and two-lane highways. The attribute will start with the direction bound and then which of the two lanes it was in. Let's say I'm on I-84 heading westbound to Portland. I see a roadkill victim on the left lane. That's the inside lane and therefore I will use the attribute "WB Inside" as the location. If you don't know the bound, remember Interstates also follow the odd and even number rule as US and state highways.
    c. Non-Painted Paved Road: Only one attribute under this category. This applies to any road that is paved but has no center stripe. So this includes neighborhood roads or backroads. Any road with no painted lines fall under this category.
    d. Dirt Road: Need I explain, any road that is not paved.
    e. Center Stripe: If the roadkill is on the yellow line, this is the attribute to use.
    f. Median: Another self-explanatory attribute. If the roadkill is the median of a divided highway, use this.
    g. Shoulder: The next four attributes cover the shoulder. If the roadkill is on pavement but on the other side of the white line (so therefore not in the lane), use this attribute. Remember that the shoulder attributes needs a direction bound as well, so I see a dead animal is on your shoulder of US 97 heading north into Bend, it's the northbound shoulder.
    h. Ditch or Bank: Next four attributes are dedicated to the ditch or bank. That means any roadkill that is to the side of the road but not on pavement. And just like the shoulder, add a direction bound.
    i. Turn Lanes: The next two attributes go to turn lanes. If you see the roadkill on the right turn lane before an intersection, use that.
    j. Intersection: That's self-explanatory.

And there's are the 3 fields you have to fill out to have your observation added to the project. I know it looks daunting but I hope you take the chance to go through with it. You can also tag me or any other manager in the project to help.

Other Project Rules

The last thing I wanted to go over is the other notes and comments towards the volunteers of the project.

  1. Safety is the most important thing of the project. Do NOT take unnecessary risks to photograph roadkill. I will recommend to either: a. never exit your vehicle in a high traffic zone. b. try to photo from your vehicle and c. don't be afraid to add a casual no photo observation. This would be one of the few cases a casual marked sighting can be useful. If you do decide to use that method if there is no way to safely acquire a photo, just fill out the form and make sure the location is accurate.
  2. Try Not to Be Bias The point of this project is that it is a survey to figure out how many animals are becoming victim to roadkill and which species and how to prevent it. So if you photograph one roadkill victim on a road, try to obtain photos (or casual no photo observations) of every roadkill you encounter. So don't photograph the barn owl because it's sad a bird like that lost its life but ignore the fox squirrel later on because it's non-native or it's not worth the photo.
  3. Grow Our Community The only way to acquire the information I would like to see is if you encourage others to join the project (or iNaturalist) to help in gathering data.

So if you've read to this point, I would like to think you again for joining the project and committing to gathering data on wildlife/vehicle collisions. I hope you enjoy being a part of this as we help animals.

Publicado el noviembre 27, 2019 04:23 MAÑANA por birdwhisperer birdwhisperer


I wonder how much is gained from the three extra fields versus how much data is lost from the added difficulty for adding them, and the inherent uncertainty? Since I rarely stop and get out to examine the roadkill, your guess is as good as mine from the photos as to whether it is fresh or stiff, or whether it is stiff or starting to partially decompose. Then for direction the animal was traveling, that seems like heavy conjecture. If a mammal gets hit it could easily get whipped around and face the other direction, or if it isn't a quick kill then it could crawl a ways, or scavengers could have moved it. The last one seems the easiest, but could also be prone to error for the same reasons -- currently the carcass is in the N-bound lane, but did it get hit on the S-bound side and bounce over or get moved? I also tend to add my stuff in batches and not via the mobile app, so if it has been a week or more, a lot of the details are fuzzy and I feel like I have to make it up.

It's your group, but if it were me, I would make those optional and not mandatory. And if you can get the freshness of the kill from the photos, you might be better off doing it yourself to have it more standardized. Either way, I'll do what I can to fill in information for Harney County and from my travels around the State since I moved to Burns.

Publicado por peterolsoy hace alrededor de 1 año

@peterolsoy The fact I mentioned most of your concerns above says a lot. I understand the data I'm trying to collect is going to be completely accurate, but at least it's a starting point. If anything, you have to play detective when reporting to the project, because just like an investigator, you have to follow the clues to come to the conclusion of what might've happened. But will your conclusions match up 100% to what happened? Probably not, so it's not something I would too be worried about. Just report what you can, and we'll see if it produces anything useful, especially since this project was started out by a "I wonder if the community can help" rather than an intense scientific study.

Publicado por birdwhisperer hace alrededor de 1 año

Fair enough, as I said, I'll do what I can. But I maintain that you'll get a lot less observations with the added barrier, and without a lot of added effort by you to vet the accuracy of each field, I don't know how much it gains you. I think something like this could be really valuable if you or the State could pay people who were trained to collect that data (or train specific volunteers for a project).

Publicado por peterolsoy hace alrededor de 1 año

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