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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Rough pond-bottoms and inverted root wads increase wildlife diversity on wetlands

Inverted root wad in wetland

Typically when water quality treatment ponds are constructed, an effort is made to smooth the bottom and sides to get rid of ruts, bulldozer tracks, and bucket scars. However, the Minnesota Department of Transportation leaves the ponds they build in a rough condition to increase the ponds' bottom-surface area and to encourage the growth of a wide variety of wetland plants and resulting wildlife diversity. Minnesota Department of Transportation biologists used this technique on Highway 10 and County Road H wetlands sites in Mounds View, Minnesota. They also put inverted tree-root wads on the sites for songbirds to use as perches and geese to use as nesting habitat. Trees cut off 5-6 feet above ground were the starting point. The biologists pushed the remaining stumps from the soil, placing them upside down in the wetland.

Dwayne Stenlund, (651) 366-3625 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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