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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Native plant poles and plugs help protect minnow habitat

Rio Grande chub

When replacement of three bridges over the Rio San Jose in Cibola County, New Mexico threatened prime habitat for a minnow called the Rio Grande chub, crews from the New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department protected the minnow's habitat with more than the usual erosion control measures. On the steep slopes they hand-planted a combination of native riparian, wetland, and upland species - a combination known to stabilize soils. They planted native willow and cottonwood poles, fencing each pole to protect it from beavers, and they planted seedlings of wild rose and other native woody species. The crews also used native plant "plugs" - tiny plantings of rushes, watercress, salt grass, and other herbaceous species. All the plantings survived, and within a year the new vegetation was flourishing and the banks were stable.

Steve Reed, (505) 827-5254 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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