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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Combining sea oats with beach rubble creates nesting habitat for seabirds

On St. George Island off Florida's Emerald Coast, migratory birds like the least tern, black skimmer, and American oystercatcher are benefiting from some simple erosion control measures. When the beach along the island's causeway was eroding into the roadway and Florida Department of Transportation crews fixed the problem by bracing the shoreline with shell, sand, and stone rubble and plantings of sea oats and other native grasses, they created the "roughened" environment these birds prefer for nesting. The birds immediately flew to the causeway site and built nests there, and the Department protected the baby birds with roadside silt fencing and signs keeping cars and people off the roadway shoulder. Eventually, when a new bridge is built connecting St. George Island to the mainland, the old bridge linking the causeway with the mainland will be removed and the causeway returned to the birds. Thanks to the routine shoreline-stabilizing activities, the birds are off to a good start.
 
--Apr 25, 2003

Natalie Kent, (805) 638-0250 ext 515 or natalie.kent@dot.state.fl.us

Native vegetation planted along St. George Island causeway
Florida Department of Transportation photo
Native vegetation planted along St. George Island causeway

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On or Along Waterways - Florida
Updated: 12/12/2012
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