Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration

Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
PlanningEnvironmentReal Estate

HEP Events Guidance Publications Awards Contacts

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Median-Barrier Gaps Let Animals Cross the Highway

photo of median barriers offset to create gap for wildlife

In San Diego, California, deer, foxes, coyotes, and countless small mammals have a safer crossing on 2 miles of State Route 52, thanks to "openings" along the concrete barrier dividing the eight-lane highway. This stretch of SR 52 bypassing Mission Trails Regional Park and crossing through Miramar Marine Corps Air Station was a known hotspot for animal-vehicle collisions and the scene of several cross-median traffic accidents. California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) crews met both challenges with a single action. They installed barriers on the highway median and left a 1-meter-wide gap between barrier sections, offsetting each new section to meet safety requirements. The gaps keep cars from crossing over the median into oncoming traffic. They help protect wildlife by preventing animals from becoming "trapped" on the highway as they run across it and by allowing them to keep moving and therefore get to habitats on the other side of the roadway. Area roadkill monitoring suggests the wildlife-crossing gaps are working. Deer can be seen on both sides of the highway, and no deerkill has been reported.

Bruce April,, (619) 688-0107 or bruce.april@dot.ca.gov



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
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000