The question isn’t why the turtle crossed the road, but how. In 2004, at the Rivergate Industrial Park in north Portland, the Port built an undercrossing beneath a busy stretch of road to help western painted turtles and other wildlife species move between wetland areas without having to compete with car, truck and train traffic.
A motion-controlled, infrared camera initially showed rodents and raccoons accessing the undercrossing. A flood in 2006 interrupted the collection of data; the sensors that triggered the camera were reconfigured to avoid water problems in the future. In 2007, the pictures started to change: throughout the spring and summer, the camera caught coyotes, beaver, turtles and wood ducks moving freely between the two connected habitats.
The undercrossing is just one way we try to manage our industrial lands in ways that benefit wildlife and promote ecosystem connectivity.
This project was the winner of the 2008 American Association of Port Authorities award for Environmental Enhancement.
Carrie Butler, mitigation site specialist, 503.415.6319