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A Texas Department of Transportation Bats and Bridges Study recognizes how bats benefit society by preying on flying pests and crop-eating insects. According to the study, more bats are likely to inhabit culverts in Webb County, Texas, than in any other county in the state. So in 1999, Department engineers modified plans for a drainage culvert under U.S. 83 in Webb County to Include bat roosts. The new design called for five recessed, square "domes" built into the ceiling of the culvert and a rough-textured roosting surface made with recycled plywood forms. The culvert, now built, houses about 200 Mexican free-tailed bats and may house as many as 200,000 bats once the species becomes familiar with the roosts. Retrofitting the culvert was easy, and planning ahead saved taxpayers more than $300,000.
"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."