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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Patience and Resourcefulness Protect Mexican Free-Tail Bats

The bat boxes mounted on the building.

What do you do when bats use the front door to enter a building and when they nest under rest-area picnic tables? At the Van Horn Maintenance Shop owned by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), Mexican free-tail bats calling it "home" used to enter by the employees' door. When TxDOT purchased a bat house from Bat Conservation International and hung it on the north side wall, the bats ignored it, and they managed to find their way past foam-sealed holes back into the cinder-block walls. TxDOT sealed off wall holes two more times and waited. Finally the bats discovered the bat house and have been living in it ever since. A 2nd bat house installed on the east side wall was immediately occupied. At the Wild Horse Rest Area on US 62/180, TxDOT faced a different "bat challenge"...the bats relied on the rest area for their food supply since the location was the only well-lit spot for miles around. A nearby cattle tank provided a source of water. Covered picnic tables in the rest area offered safe shelter, but travelers were naturally reluctant to share their tables with the bats. A bat house was hung on the pump house wall, and like the second Van Horn bat house, it was occupied right away.

Ron Groves, (915) 790-4387 or RGROVES@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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