Wildlife Movement and Habitat Connectivity

Preserving and enhancing habitat connectivity — that is, enabling wildlife species to travel between different habitats — is one of the keys to healthy biodiversity.

baby snapping turtle on side of road

Many native wildlife species actively move between different habitats (forests and wetlands, for example) at different times of year for breeding, foraging or hibernation.

Toronto and region is expected to continue urbanizing as the population grows over the next decade, necessitating further construction, expansion and upgrading of roadways and railways.

This transportation infrastructure reduces habitat size and severs the connections between different habitats, limiting the ability of species to access resources and leading to population isolation.

Applied Research on Wildlife Movement
and Habitat Connectivity

Applied research on wildlife movement and habitat connectivity examines several factors:

  • Construction or alteration of road crossings over valley and stream corridors
  • Risks to roadways from long-term erosion
  • Movement and connectivity of biodiversity that supports ecosystem function and health
  • Development of decision support tools to effectively complete the study requirements to public and private proponents of crossing structures
  • Development and maintenance of valley and stream corridor crossing guidelines for road and rail crossings in TRCA watersheds based on the best available science and data for proponents
  • Identification of priority crossing areas within TRCA watersheds
  • Applied research to validate the efficacy of guidelines

please brake for snakes sign in TRCA conservation area

The applied research program includes consultation with municipal partners and private proponents in the development of TRCA crossing guidelines. It also engages academic researchers in the investigation of the environmental and economic costs and benefits of valley and stream corridor crossings in TRCA watersheds.

This research will support partner municipalities in processes related to the placement, mitigation, and design of alternatives. And it includes the evaluation and long-term maintenance related to the impacts of transportation infrastructure on wildlife movement outside of valley and stream corridors.

Related Documents


TRCA Watershed Planning and Ecosystem Science: wpes@trca.ca