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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Composting Roadkilled Deer Keeps Scavengers at Bay

photo of sign (Deer Compost 2) protruding from a large pile of wood mulch

For years, ranchers and farmers have been composting their dead livestock. Now the New York State Department of Transportation composts roadkilled deer across the State, following a successful 2002-2003 pilot project by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation. Composting replaces traditional methods of burying roadkilled deer in landfills or in off-road wooded areas or pits along roads. Pit burial decomposes the body ineffectively and may contaminate groundwater, and dragging carcasses into the woods can attract coyotes and other scavenger animals to the highway, putting them in harm's way. New York's solution is fast, inexpensive, and odor-free, and it can be conducted year-round. The composting process is simple too, involving materials readily available to a highway facility: an asphalt or concrete pad, wood chips, water (rain!), a thermometer, and a loader. Within months, high temperatures produced by the composting process "cook" the carcass and destroy common pathogens. End products are used to start new compost piles and may eventually be used to enhance or stabilize soils on highway rights-of-way. For a manual on how to compost roadkilled deer, contact:

Elisabeth Kolb, (845) 575-6158 or ekolb@dot.state.ny.us



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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