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Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

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Small measures protect a little fox - big time

Kit fox

The San Joaquin kit fox weighs only 5 pounds and is just 29 inches long (including its fluffy tail). It's also federally endangered. That's why the California Department of Transportation held pre-construction training sessions on the species. Engineers, contractors, and sub-contractors learned how to distinguish the kit fox from the red fox, gray fox, and coyote and how to identify potential kit fox dens and tracks. They also learned easy ways of protecting the kit fox - from removing food trash from the site each day to covering steep-walled holes and ditches to inspecting pipes wider than 4 inches. The training was repeated on lengthy jobs for new personnel. On job sites like State Route 99 near Bakersfield, where workers rightly guessed an enlarged squirrel hole was a kit fox den, a 24-hour on-call biologist came to the scene to seal the hole once the fox had left. About 60 kit foxes have been seen on central-California highway projects since the training, and none have been harmed by construction activities.

Zachary Parker, (559) 243-8196 or zachary_parker@dot.ca.gov



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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