Improving Habitat Connectivity for the Endangered Santa Cruz Long-toed Salamander

District 5 Central Coast Biology Branch implemented innovation focused on a collaborative approach with partners and experts on a wildlife crossing on Highway 1 in Santa Cruz County, and is presenting our process in a ArcGIS StoryMap. We collaborated with external partners including, the Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County (RCDSCC), the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to study the feasibility, of constructing a wildlife undercrossing on Highway 1 for Santa Cruz long-toed salamander and other wildlife to safely travel under the highway between protected habitat lands.

To program transportation projects, Caltrans must request funds through the California Transportation Commission. To request funding, Caltrans must prepare a Project Initiation Document (PID) identifying the project's purpose and need, estimated cost, and provide a preliminary environmental analysis and preliminary design alternatives. Caltrans committed to developing the PID during the grant term of a Wildlife Conservation Board grant, applied for in collaboration with our external partners. The RCDSCC, CDFW, and USFWS then became members of the Caltrans' Project Development Team for the proposed amphibian crossing. Grant funds allowed our partners to carry out specialized studies and inform and bolster the PID process. Partners also facilitated a technical advisory committee review of the PID, and outreach to local stakeholders and landowners. This project is the critical first step in creating CEQA-ready engineering designs to make a Santa Cruz long-toed salamander and other wildlife undercrossing a reality. 

Submitted by:
Larissa Clarke, California Department of Transportation
Morgan Robertson, California Department of Transportation
Jennifer Moonjian, California Department of Transportation
Chad Mitcham, US Fish and Wildlife Service
Kelli Camara, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
Daniel Nylen, Resource Conservation District of Santa Cruz County
Terris Kasteen, California Department of Fish and Wildlife
Cheryl Brehme, US Geological Survey 

For more information, contact Larissa Clarke at [email protected].


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Story Map

Project Guide

Click on the image to access the story map on improving the habitat connectivity on California Highway 1 for the endangered Santa Cruz Long-Toed Salamander