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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Metal bridge poles cut seabird deaths by nearly 64%

Metal poles on Sebastian Inlet Bridge

Marine birds wintering in southeast Florida near Melbourne Beach fly safely over a high bridge across Sebastian Inlet at the juncture of Brevard and Indian River Counties, but that hasn't always been the case. From 1989 to 1992 roadkill surveys documented bridge deaths of at least 84 royal terns, 11 brown pelicans, two sandwich terns, and one black skimmer. Most of the dead birds were about six-months old - too young to judge safe flying heights. To prevent further roadkill of the migratory birds, the Florida Department of Transportation partnered with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection to attach 122 vertical metal poles, each 9.3 feet long, to both sides of the bridge. The silver-colored poles were placed close together to discourage the birds from flying between them. Although a few of the poles were lost to tropical storms, hurricanes, and metal stress, the remaining poles successfully directed marine birds over and away from traffic. In fact, studies show the poles have reduced deaths by close to 64 percent.

Alice Bard, (407) 884-2000 or alice.bard@dep.state.fl.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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