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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Fence with an "angle" protects gopher tortoises

Gopher tortoise

Constructing the State Route 63 Bypass around the City of Lucedale, Mississippi, meant protecting a nearby colony of gopher tortoises - a federally threatened species. To keep the tortoises from leaving their sandy habitat and wandering onto the four-lane highway, Mississippi Department of Transportation contractors placed a three-foot-high chain-link fence at the edge of the highway right-of-way. They buried one foot of the fence in the ground and used a fence made of heavy gauge wire so it would last a long time. To redirect tortoises back into the area from which they had come, a "turnaround" was constructed at each end of the fence with the first corner placed on a 90-degree angle and the second on a 45-degree angle. State Route 63 is monitored frequently and not a single gopher-tortoise casualty has been recorded.

Chuck Walters, (601) 544-6511 or

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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