USFWS
Wildlife & Sport Fish Restoration Program
Alaska Region   

 

Moose-Vehicle Collisions in the Mat-Su Valley

Moose off the side of the road.  Photo Credit: Alaska Department of Fish and Game

 

Project Cost and Matching Funds:

$459,345   Federal
$165,364   Non-Federal Match
$624,709   Total

Partners:

Alaska Department of Transportation
Alaska Moose Federation
Utah State University

Increases in Wildlife Restoration (WR) funds have allowed Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) to experiment new and innovative approaches to manage wildlife populations.  While moose are an Alaskan icon, their presence in the vicinity of well-traveled roads poses a human safety concern as well as foregone hunting and viewing opportunities.  ADF&G conducts on-site data collection of moose-vehicle collisions (MVCs) generally within 24 hours.  Moose mortalities and characteristics of both the collision and nearby non-collision sites are sampled to develop a model of high probability collision sites.  Moose residing near roadways during the winter months are being collared and their movements tracked.  These data will be modeled to evaluate strategies for reducing MVCs, including targeted moose hunts.  A graduate study through Utah State University is being utilized to analyze and evaluate this information.

Nearly 10,000 MVCs occurred in Alaska during 2000-2012. These collisions resulted in: 23 human fatalities, 118 incapacitating injuries, approximately 1,400 non-life threatening injuries, thousands of moose fatalities, and an average cost of approximately $17 thousand/accident.  These collisions are most common in the Mat-Su and Kenai Boroughs as well as Anchorage, where high vehicle traffic overlaps with high moose densities.  Signage is largely ineffective.  Roadway lighting, clearing, and fencing are more effective deterrents, but expensive and must be strategically implemented.  The ADF&G has authority to target moose hunts to address MVCs, but has little supporting information.

This multi-year project is in only its first year of operation.  Data has been successfully collected on over 250 MVCs.  Sixty moose will be captured and collared in March 2017. 

MVCs are a significant safety issue and information from this project will inform transportation and resource managers on how to reduce MVCs.  Reduced MVCs and targeted hunts will increase hunting opportunity.

We believe that effective wildlife management addresses both benefits and unintended consequences of healthy wildlife populations.  This project complements more established projects to provide healthy moose populations for hunting and viewing opportunities by fulfilling the need to address and reduce a real human safety concern.

 

 

Last updated: March 2017

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