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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Rock-brush piles create safe home for little snake

Northern red-bellied snake

The small, crimson-colored Northern Red-bellied Snake never bites. When this threatened non-poisonous snake is around, it's the sign of a healthy environment. So when the City of Leavenworth made plans to build the 20th Street Trafficway through potential Redbelly habitat, city officials purchased a nearby large tract of land with high potential as snake habitat. There, the City worked with the Kansas Department of Transportation to enhance existing snake habitat and create new habitat. They put in three lines of flat rocks (from 4-foot boulders to 12-inch stones) and filled in the crevices with tree debris gathered from felled trees on the construction site. The rock-brush piles protect the little snake from predators and allow it to crawl below the frostline for its winter den. The land was fenced and added to the list of parks managed by the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department, protecting it as a sanctuary.

Mike McDonald, (913) 684-0375 or mmcdonald@firstcity.org



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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