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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

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Not trimming palm fronds saves baby bats

Southern yellow bat on palm frond

Sometimes not doing a particular thing is the best way to protect wildlife species or wildlife habitat. The Texas Department of Transportation is protecting baby southern yellow bats by not trimming palm fronds inhabited by the threatened species. The southern yellow bat likes to nest on Sabal and Washington palms - palms found along US 77, 83, and 281 in Cameron County, Texas. When the fronds on these palm trees are about to die, they hug the tree, creating the dark habitat bats prefer. The palms also house insects, which the bats eat. Leaving fronds with nesting bats untrimmed keeps the young bat families safe - and the trimming of other palm fronds nearby does not disturb them.

Juan Alcazar, (956) 702-6182 or jalcazar@dot.state.tx.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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