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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

"Critter Barrier" Protects Prairie Reptiles, Amphibians, and Small Mammals

Photo of mesh fence along country roadway

Screen doors keep mosquitoes out, screen fences keep turtles in. For $3.64/linear foot, Iowa Department of Transportation maintenance crews attached 1/8-inch-grid mesh or "hardware cloth" to right-of-way fencing along the new Eddyville Bypass (US 63). The 3.77-mile highway passes through a 250-acre sand prairie preserve harboring such unique animals as the eastern hognose snake and the State-listed as threatened Blanding's turtle and ornate box turtle. Since 12 inches of the wire mesh lie below ground, the animals can't burrow underneath the fence and onto the roadway. Nor can they puncture the strong mesh fabric. The turtles continue to lay their eggs on the sand prairie, as they have done for centuries, and no roadkill has been reported on the Bypass.

Scott Marler, (515) 239-1225 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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