|The California High-Speed Rail Authority and the Federal Railroad Administration are teaming to construct an 800-mile high-speed train system connecting the Bay Area to San Diego, with a spur to Sacramento. Trains will travel at speeds of 220-mph and require fenced separation to avoid collisions with humans and wildlife.
The Bakersfield to Palmdale Section passes through a regionally significant wildlife habitat linkage, the Tehachapi Connection. As part of the Wildlife Connectivity Assessment (WCA) used to analyze potential project effects to wildlife movement, a Local Permeability Analysis (LPA) was developed to quantify the change in relative movement cost for nine focal species: mountain lion, desert tortoise, mule deer, western gray squirrel, American badger, Tipton kangaroo rat, San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard, and desert kit fox. Unlike most regional least-cost corridor analysis, the LPA evaluated wildlife movement at a local scale along the entire length of the project alignment. The LPA analyzed movement cost rasters for each focal species, developed from topography, elevation, land cover, and road density GIS raster data. This modeling approach has application on other regionally significant transportation projects for analyzing impacts to wildlife movement and justify mitigation options.