In West Virginia, construction of new highways used to begin with "clearing and grubbing" - getting rid of woody material above and below the ground - all along the new right of way. Because of the state's rugged topography and irregular configuration of rural property parcels, rights-of-way acquired for new highway projects often far exceeded the actual land needed for construction, and the extra clearing and grubbing resulted in loss of habitat for black bears, whitetail deer, barred owls, and many other wildlife species. A few years ago, the West Virginia Department of Transportation discontinued the practice. Today, construction crews limit the clearing and grubbing to only the area needed for construction. This simple revision of a highway operations practice has preserved wildlife habitat throughout the state - habitat that would otherwise be lost.
--Apr 25, 2003
|Photo by Martha DoByns, Michael Baker Jr., Inc.|
|Less clearing preserves habitat along Appalachian Corridor H|