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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Bird netting on fruit trees also protects cliff swallows on bridges

In this scene, Caltrans maintenance crews are installing exclusionary netting under the  Palo Verde bridge.  Abandoned and destroyed bird nests can be seen in the background.

On Riverside County, California's Pal Verde Bridge (a State Route 78 bridge scheduled to be demolished and replaced), Caltrans crews are successfully keeping migratory cliff swallows away from future construction activity using the same kind of bird-netting material commonly placed over fruit trees. The crews wrapped and securely taped the material around the bridge abutments and underneath the bridge deck where cliff swallows used to build their nests. Every few feet, wood-frame blocks (1"x12") were nailed to the edges of the netting material to further secure its placement. The exclusionary netting materials have been strong enough to prevent swallows from returning to the Palo Verde Bridge for the past several years. Since demolition of the old bridge has been delayed, the exclusionary device has also saved time and money by making it unnecessary for Caltrans crews to re-visit the bridge to remove abandoned cliff-swallow nests. As for the cliff swallows...they're resilient and resourceful. The birds have flown to other locations nearby to build their nests.

Mahmoud Sadeghi, (951) 383-6386 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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