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Environmental Science and Policy
L. David Smith
Habitat fragmentation caused by roads threatens amphibians that must cross during annual migrations, and their declining population numbers can be detrimental to overall ecosystem health. In Amherst, Massachusetts, two wildlife tunnels were installed in 1987 under Henry Street to reduce road mortality rates for the Spotted Salamander, and have since been maintained and supported by volunteers and local organizations. The current conditions of the migration system however, consisting of both the ecological infrastructure itself and community involvement, do not provide complete support and safety for the local salamander population. As a result of having a less involved community compared to previous years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the general knowledge, and perhaps support, of the salamander habitat has subsequently lowered. Due to these concerns the Hitchcock Center–a local organization for environmental education that currently oversees the tunnels–has tasked our team with determining the next steps to improve the salamander migration system.
© The Authors
Ali, Asli; Borger, Julianne; Callanan, Rose; and Wiese, Sadie, "Why Did the Salamander Cross the Road? Improving the Amherst Amphibian Tunnels Through Community Engagement and Physical Infrastructure" (2021). Capstone, Smith College, Northampton, MA.
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