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Cultivating Connectivity: A Short History of America's Long Road to Making Highways Safer and More Permeable for Wildlife

Friday, August 28
11:15–12:00 PM PT
 | 2:15–3:00 PM ET

About the Session

Facilitating the adaptation of entire ecosystems and wildlife populations to a changing world, the quest for landscape level habitat defragmentation is emerging as one of the most critical, yet achievable challenges in the 21st century. From the subtropical swamps of our southeast to the alpine climes of the northwest, and from the iconic deserts of the arid west, to the temperate forests of our northeast comes a history of persistence and persuasiveness for roadside conservation in the United States. Though we're a nation associated with enormous resources, a diverse culture, and economic prowess, this presentation looks at how initiative in one corner of the United States has grown across the North American continent is just over two decades. Along this journey, dismissive attitudes are steadily eroded by science, advocacy, and a conviction to jointly improve human safety, ecosystem functions, and connected landscapes. Research and education professionals, government officials, conservationists, planners, engineers, and even a handful of politicians are using grassroots resolve to advance meaningful research and are steadily achieving sustainable policies and practices. An overview of the history of looking to our international neighbors and the building of advocacy through allied forums will be included in this look-back at our nation’s journey to achieve landscape connectivity at multiple scales through an evolving and enduring community-of-practice. Thriving at the roots of the American movement are stalwart conservation advocates who are rallying to the cause of improving the environmental quality of transportation infrastructure for the mobility of both two and four-legged stakeholders.


  • Ecological Restoration

About the Speaker


Alexander Levy

Alex Levy is a senior ecologist and certified Professional Wetland Scientist with a B.L.A in Landscape Architecture. He leads the growing team of ecologists for VHB’s Atlanta office.  Mr. Levy has three decades of professional experience performing wetland determinations, protected species investigations, and general ecology studies for transportation, utility and site development projects, including impact planning, permitting, and National Environmental Policy Act documentation. His broad project experience includes conducting general habitat assessments, Section 7 Consultations under the Endangered Species Act, Section 401 and 404 Clean Water Act permitting coordination, wetland and stream impact mitigation, and post-construction monitoring for hundreds of miles of energy, rail, and highway projects, as well as numerous other land development initiatives throughout the southeastern United States. A former technology- transfer and research liaison for the Federal Highway Administration, Mr. Levy was also a founding member of the Georgia NAEP Chapter.  He currently serves on the steering committee for the International Conference on Ecology and Transportation. For the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, andMedicine, Alex formerly served in an appointment as Chair of the standing Committee on Ecology and Transportation (ADC30), and currently serves as a member of the standing Committee on Environmental Analysis in Transportation (ADC10).  Mr. Levy originally presented on the emerging wildlife habitat connectivity practices and policies at the 2004 NAEP Annual meeting in Portland Oregon.

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