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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

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No roadside mowing during nesting season protects game birds

Sharp-tailed grouse

In South Dakota, native sharp-tailed grouse and prairie chickens and non-native Hungarian partridges and Chinese ring-necked pheasants build their nests in the tall, dense grass that grows along highways. Thanks to a policy that restricts mowing on public roads until the end of the nesting season, the nests of these upland game birds are protected. The South Dakota Department of Transportation limits mowing on all state highways and interstates - a distance of more than 8,000 miles. East of the Missouri River, mowing cannot occur along the right-of-way until after July 10; west of the Missouri, mowing is not permitted until after June 15.

Dave Graves, (605) 773-5727 or dave.graves@state.sd.us



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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