In North Dakota, spawning Northern pike and other fish often run up feeder creeks fed by runoff from melting snow. Although the volume of this runoff can be quite large, it usually doesn't last long, so highway drainage structures sized for spring flows can become a barrier to spawned fish once the runoff has subsided and water levels are low. To correct this situation at Turtle Creek south of Washburn, North Dakota, the North Dakota Department of Transportation installed a 6-inch "lip" in one barrel of a two-barrel box culvert. The lip diverts low flows into the other barrel, maximizing the water depth to allow fish passage. Thanks to this simple measure, the culverts neither restrict the passage of spawning fish nor prevent young fry from returning to the Missouri River.
"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."