For two decades, the Wisconsin Society for Ornithology has worked with state and federal agencies and other conservation groups to find potential solutions for an especially deadly stretch of State Highway 49 across the north end of Horicon National Wildlife Refuge.
The groups have not always agreed and so far have not arrived at a solution.
In 2013, the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory, based in Belgium in Ozaukee County, asked students from UW-Milwaukee to examine the issue. To see their overview, go to: alternative crossings on the Western Great Lakes Bird and Bat Observatory website.
That study triggered a much larger one by the Western Transportation Institute at Montana State University. It aims to re-engage the federal wildlife agency and various non-profit organizations and get them to work toward solutions.
WSO's Conservation Committee has reviewed the report and is examining the feasibility of a study aimed at exploring the use of temporary barriers to prevent wildlife from crossing Highway 49 during high movement periods.
Vice President Michael John Jaeger is meeting with other stakeholders on this idea. The committee is also exploring the possibility of supporting a Masters level project on this subject through UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, while looking into the cost of the materials and installation and the difficulty of securing needed permits.