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U.S. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, Office of the Secretary, Office of Public Affairs, Washington, DC 20590

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 15, 2003
Contact: Bill Outlaw
Telephone: 202-366-0660
FHWA 16-03

Federal Highway Promotes Simpler and Smarter Ways to Protect Wildlife

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) today announced the start of a first-of-its-kind website that highlights examples of simple and low cost methods and techniques being used to protect wildlife and fish on transportation projects.

"Secretary Mineta has asked us to create a safer, simpler and smarter national transportation system for all Americans," FHWA Administrator Mary E. Peters said. "This new website provides countless examples of how states are practicing sound stewardship by finding simple ways to reduce the effects of highways on wildlife."

The website is called KEEPING IT SIMPLE: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads. It includes more than 100 "success stories" from all 50 states. The exemplary activities and processes featured range from installing nesting boxes to modifying maintenance schedules to placing wood-top rails on deer fences. Users can search the site by state and by one of four categories: "Along Roads," "On or Near Bridges," "On or Along Waterways," and "On Wetlands and Uplands."

One example is Arizona's "Watch out for Elk" signs used to get motorists to slow down. If you drive along the heavily forested mountain segments of State Route 260 between Payson and Show Low, AZ, you'll notice this four-part warning sign: "Keep your eyes open and your speed slow. Watch out for elk as you go." To increase motorist awareness about a high elk population along this stretch of SR 260 and to decrease the spiraling number of vehicle-wildlife accidents, the Arizona Department of Transportation placed Burma Shave-style signs on both sides of the highway, each message 500 feet from the next. The slogans, created by the department and local school children, have reduced driving speeds on this mountain road and have helped decrease the number of vehicle accidents involving elk and other large game animals.

Not only do these methods protect wildlife, they also improve highway safety for motorists nationwide. Crashes between motor vehicles and animals account for a large percentage of the total crashes in many areas, and the number has been increasing over the years. An estimated 200 people die each year from crashes involving wildlife.

Find the KEEPING IT SIMPLE website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/wildlifeprotection

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