Manatees have been around for millions of years, and on Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) projects, they're getting the help they need with just a little training. The large, gentle herbivores are federally protected under both the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Finding the slow-moving animals in the turbid waters of coastal Georgia isn't always easy, especially since manatees can stay underwater for several minutes, but GDOT personnel are getting clues on how to spot manatees in a short course taught by Georgia Department of Natural Resources staff. They also learn facts about the manatee's biology and natural history (for example, the manatee's unique ability among mammals to continuously replace its six teeth)...current threats to the species' survival (for example, motorized watercraft and loss of reliable warm-water habitat)...and signage and other relevant provisions in the construction contract.
"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."