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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Keeping out carp protects a lake

Looking upstream into culvert that presents a barrier to carp migration

Freshwater carp severely reduce the numbers of aquatic plants and animals in lakes like the one along Highway 5 near Chanhassen, Minnesota. When feeding carp root around in the shallow waters of the lake, they stir up the mud on the lake bottom. The disturbance clouds the water, making it harder for fish to see the beetles, crustaceans, and other plants and animals they need for survival. So to keep carp from migrating into the lake, Minnesota Department of Transportation workers constructed an insurmountable gradient in the stream entering the lake. The carp can't swim over this concrete "hill," the water quality is improved, and thanks to increased sunlight penetrating the water, there's a greater diversity of aquatic plants and animals for the resident bass, bluegill, and other fish species.

Frank Pafko, (651) 366-3602 or

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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