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

A "fence" made of boulders keeps elk off a busy highway

This photo shows a line of large boulders with gaps filled in by smaller boulders. The "rock fence" leads to a wildlife underpass (not seen).

Elk and other hooved ungulates can't navigate boulders without slipping off of them, so when Arizona Department of transportation environmental staff were looking for low-maintenance alternatives to elk fencing, they experimented with elk riprap along State Route 260's Christopher Creek Section. Large boulders were placed close together. Gaps were filled-in with smaller boulders hand-carried to the site by Arizona Game and Fish crews. So far, the riprap has proven as effective as fencing in deterring elk from getting onto the highway and into the path of oncoming vehicles. Instead of trying to cross the barrier, elk are following the boulders to nearby wildlife underpasses. And the slightly higher initial investment in the elk riprap will lead to significant savings long term.

Bruce Eilerts, (602) 712-7398 or beilerts@dot.state.az.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
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000