A few years ago the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department established "transition zones" - areas mowed only once a year - along non-Interstate highways and on approximately 200 Interstate interchanges. Creating these infrequently mowed, 25- to 75-foot-wide zones next to high-maintenance areas immediately adjacent to the roadside has increased habitat for ground-nesting birds such as Eastern meadowlarks, mourning doves, and ovenbirds (ground warblers known for their chant-like singing). There's new habitat, too, for rodents such as harvest mice, deer mice, and cotton rats, which provide food for predatory birds like the red-tailed hawk.
"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."