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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

"Baffling Beavers" Promises Continued Fish Passage Through Culverts

Photo of two workers standing in beaver pond near beaver dam working a post into the streambed

If you're driving on State Highway 9 along the Blue River south of Breckenridge, Colorado, you probably won't notice the perforated pipes inside the beaver dams at several culvert entrances. That's because they're painted to look like the surrounding environment. Colorado Department of Transportation crews inserted the pipes into the dams because the structures were causing water to back up and over-saturate the roadfill, threatening the road's stability. The low-cost, easy-to-install, simple-to-maintain "beaver bafflers" will help fish as well as protect the roadway. Since the pipes lower pond levels and let more water pass through the culvert than what the beaver dam allows, beavers are "baffled" into discontinuing the maintenance and expansion of dams at the pipe-locations. Thanks to the perforated pipes, fish of the future will not be threatened by expanded dams blocking their passage. As for the beavers&the industrious animals have found plenty of other spots for new dams.

Debra Angulski, (303) 365-7042 or debra.angulski@dot.state.co.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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