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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Clearing vegetation protects red-legged frog

California red-legged frog

Urban and rural development, introduced predators like the bull frog, human disturbances to watersheds, and other factors have caused the federally endangered California red-legged frog to disappear from 99% of its habitat in California's Central Valley. So when U.S. Highway 50 had to be bridged over a creek near Placerville, California, the California Department of Transportation took a simple and proactive step. Although no frogs had been seen on the construction site, they had been spotted within 5 miles of the site, so maintenance crews removed vegetation (blackberry shrubs and non-native grasses) that might have attracted the frogs to the construction site where foundation-drilling would have put them at risk of injury or death. Drill rigs were not brought in until the entire area was cleared, and drill crews checked under their equipment before starting work. No red-legged frogs were ever seen on the site.

Chris Collison, (530) 741-4481 or chris_collison@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
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