Burrowing owls (a "species of special concern" in California) aren't nocturnal, and don't live in trees. They nest and roost in underground burrows abandoned by other animals, and these natural homes are becoming increasingly scarce. Even though transportation impacts to burrowing owl habitat have not occurred and mitigation of such impacts is not required, the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has built 21 artificial burrowing owl nest boxes on the Johnson Canyon Restoration Site--a 52-acre site on Otay Mesa established to restore vernal pools and create new habitat for the federally endangered Quino checkerspot butterfly. To mimic natural burrows, crews used low-cost hardware-store materials (a hollow irrigation box for the artificial nest and two corrugated plastic pipes for entrance and exit tunnels). Owl-inhabitants are protected from noise, heat, and flooding. Their human-made homes even offer natural perches with "open views." And yes, the burrowing owls-including at least one pair of chicks-are starting to move in!
"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."