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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Old Guide Rail is "Guide Fence" for Traveling Salamanders

Labrador Hollow in Onondaga County, New York, looks rather like a rain forest in Borneo. Its extensive wetlands and big tracts of forest are ideal habitat for spotted salamanders. But every year after the first warm spring rains, the brightly spotted little amphibians have to cross a busy highway--State Route 91--to get to breeding ponds and pools on the other side. The area is one of the hottest spots for salamander roadkill in central New York.

To help protect the salamanders, New York State Department of Transportation maintenance crews and volunteers from SUNY's College of Environmental Science and Forestry installed a salamander-culvert fence using guide rail which had been hit and was sitting in a maintenance-yard scrap pile. The fence was staked down with old rebar and angled towards a pipe-culvert underneath the highway. Since the salamanders have to cross a ditch along the fence, there's a second roadside fence to guide any salamanders that go off course. Preliminary walking surveys show that salamanders as well as wood frogs and American toads are moving along the fence and through the culvert.
 
--Aug 21, 2006

Timothy Baker, (315) 448-7366 or tbaker@dot.state.ny.us

close-up of a salamander
NYSDOT photo
The salamanders chance of survival is increased thanks to the culvert.

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Along Roads - New York
Updated: 12/12/2012
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