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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Fixing Wildlife-Crossing "Ledges to Nowhere"

Photo of embankment with expanded ledge

In three Florida counties, formerly "useless" wildlife-crossing ledges now keep animals off the roadway and lead them into surrounding habitats, thanks to repairs made by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). At an Orange County box culvert, where animals would have had to jump 3 feet to reach the ledge inside the culvert, FDOT contractors put up temporary planks connecting the ledges with the ground. At two bridge locations in Osceola and Brevard Counties, FDOT crews relocated wildlife fencing that had stopped short of the bridge structure, leaving gaps through which animals could get onto the road. When they discovered the ledges underneath each bridge ended at the edges of the bridge, they used equipment already onsite to extend the ledges around the corners of the abutments to the ground. No more escapes onto the highway here. No more attempted "high jumps" at the culvert or "ropewalking" around a bridge abutment; instead, turtles, opossums, and other wildlife species are using the temporary planks and completed ledges to get safely across the road.

Stephen Tonjes, (386) 943-5394 or stephen.tonjes@dot.state.fl.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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