When small mammals and amphibians are moving along a stream and come up to a culvert, they have to crawl up the road fill and cross the highway to get around the culvert. Often, they're killed as they try to cross the highway. At numerous highway-stream crossings throughout Oregon - for example, an unnamed tributary of the Siuslaw River west of Eugene - the Oregon Department of Transportation is creating a way for these small animals to go through the culvert rather than around it. Along one side of a culvert spanning the width of the stream, contractors are building a natural rock ledge that's wide enough for both small and medium-sized animals. They're using rock because it's "natural," close to the culvert, and doesn't need to be attached to the culvert wall. Shrews and raccoons have been observed on the ledges, and bobcats, tree frogs, western pond turtles, and other species may also be using them to move up and down the stream corridor. They stay dry as they move along the ledge or only get a little wet - and they don't run the risk of a collision with a vehicle on the highway above.
"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."