Riparian and Riverine Wildlife Response to a Newly Created Bridge Crossing


Construction of man-made objects such as roads and bridges can influence wildlife presence and abundance. We investtigated waterbirds, songbirds, anurans, turtles, small mammals, and furbearers along the Ohio River, WV, at a new bridge crossing, a 45-year old bridge, and 1 or 2 islands with no bridge and at 3 distances from the bridge or center point at each site (0 m,100 m, and300 m). We sampled 19 waterbird, 60 songbird, 7 anuran, 5 turtle, 9 small mammal, and 4 furbearer species. Great blue heron (Ardea herodias) abundances were greater at the site with no bridge. Songbird composition differed among sites and between transects under and away from the bridge with higher abundances or association of rock pigeon (Columba livia) and cliff swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) under the bridges and lower abundances ofCarolinawren (Thryothorus ludovicianus) and common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) under the bridges. Total small mammal abundance, diversity, and richness were lower under the new bridge compared to other sites and distances. We conclude that overall the new bridge is causing minimal relative abundance impacts to wildlife. However, great blue heron abundance may be altered due to noise and activity from the presence of the bridge and minor short-term impacts to some songbirds and small mammals directly under the bridge in the form of habitat conversion, fragmentation, and loss due to removal of vegetation is apparent.

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J. Vance, N. Angus and J. Anderson, "Riparian and Riverine Wildlife Response to a Newly Created Bridge Crossing," Natural Resources, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2012, pp. 213-228. doi: 10.4236/nr.2012.34029.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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