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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Higher bridge rails mean safer flying for purple martins

Photo shows chain link fence mounted on top of bridge rail along both sides of brige

Like the cliff swallows in the song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano," graceful purple martins return every spring to favorite, familiar places. They roost on steel beams under bridges such as the US 190 Bridge over Trinity River in Polk County, Texas. In the past, as the birds flew up and over this bridge, many cleared the bridge rail only to be hit by oncoming traffic. Not anymore. The Texas Department of Transportation added a 6-foot-high chain link fence to the top of the bridge rail on both sides of the bridge. Thanks to this simple solution, the bridge's purple martins now fly high and safe.

Robert Allen, (936) 633-4302 or rallen3@dot.state.tx.us



Picture of various animals

Doing the right thing - simply

"Keeping it simple" is more than a concept. It's a commitment.

It means using simple solutions when simple solutions will work.

It involves going beyond "compliance" to identify easy ways of helping wildlife and fish.

It means doing the right thing just because it's the right thing to do and because one has an opportunity to do it.

"We can build bat roosts in pre-fab bridge concrete or extend the right-of-way fence to create elkproof fencing," says April Marchese, Director of FHWA's Office of Natural and Human Environment. "Simple measures like these link habitats, reduce roadkill, and save taxpayer dollars."

This website highlights more than 100 simple, successful projects from all 50 states and beyond. Each is "easy." Most are low- or no-cost. All benefit wildlife, fish, or their habitats.

Many projects were completed only once - to protect specific species in specific environmental conditions. Others have been repeated numerous times and have become "routine."

Some projects are undertaken regularly because research has proven them effective. Others are new innovations, "best practices," or state-of-the-art strategies.

Some projects - for example, modifying mowing cycles and installing oversized culverts in streams - are common to a large number of states. Others represent a simple solution to a site-specific environmental challenge.

We invite you to explore them all. We encourage you to find out for yourselves, through this website, how transportation professionals are working with others to do the right thing for wildlife and--wherever possible--to do it "simply."

Updated: 12/12/2012
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