We assessed natural movements of nontranslocated southern red-backed voles, North American deermice, and least chipmunks to determine whether individuals crossed the right-of-way. These movements were compared to movements of individuals at control sites.
Habitat preference (right-of-way, edge, forest) at powerline sites was determined using a chi-square test of independence.
Each powerline site was separated by [greater than or equal to] 150 m along the right-of-way, and each control site was [greater than or equal to] 300 m from the right-of-way.
Vegetation in the right-of-way included bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides), lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), common lupine (Lupinus argenteus), and several graminoids.
Selection of sites was based on successional stage of the right-of-way, accessibility, and permission from the United States Forest Service.
Although our study was limited to one season and suffers from a limited sample and the influence of riparian habitats, we believe that some general inferences can be made for management of small mammals along powerline right-of-ways. Retention of downed woody debris in ski runs benefits the southern red-backed vole (Hadley and Wilson, 2004b).
Powerline right-of-ways can form a barrier to movements of small mammals (Schreiber and Graves, 1977; Quarles, 1978; Gates, 1991; Goosem and Marsh, 1997).
Along powerline right-of-ways, small mammals generally are most abundant in species-specific habitats (Quarles, 1978; Johnson et al., 1979).
Dense vegetation in powerline right-of-ways previously have been shown to benefit small mammals by providing runways and nesting sites (Johnson et al., 1979).