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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Not a Single Turtle Death on This Highway, Thanks to Turtle Fencing

photo of tutle fence along highway right-of-way

Turtle mortality is never an issue on Arkansas' State Highway 440 between I-40 and US 167 across Rixey Bayou. That's because Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department maintenance crews have put up a fence along the route which keeps the Bayou's many turtles from getting onto the new six-lane interstate with its center concrete barrier wall. Installation was easy, quick, and inexpensive. The crews worked in late winter, when they had some downtime, using standard 3-foot-high, heavy-gauge pony wire. After placing the wire in a 1-foot-deep trench dug by a "ditch witch," they inserted rebar-stick posts into the wire and attached the wire and posts to existing right-of-way fencing leading to wildlife crossings under the highway (box culverts originally built on mammal trails). Since the turtle fence is located approximately halfway up the road embankment, there's plenty of nesting space for stinkpots, red-eared sliders, ornate boxes, and other common Arkansas River Valley turtles.

John Fleming, (501) 569-2522 or John.Fleming@arkansashighways.com



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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