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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Wood tops on deer fences reduce injury and death

Horizontal wood poles along top of right-of-way fence

In the past, when mule deer tried to jump over one of the high right-of-way fences along WYO 135 southeast of Riverton, Wyoming, they often misjudged the fence's height and jumped too low, hitting the fence full-force. Typically, the impact flipped the animals over and onto the ground, breaking their necks or severely injuring them. So the Wyoming Department of Transportation did the right thing - and a simple thing. Maintenance crews replaced the wire on top of the fences with horizontal wood poles. The highly visible wood tops enable the deer or antelope to correctly judge the height of each fence and to jump over it - or entirely avoid it - more easily.

Rod Vaughn, (307) 772-2004 or Rodney.Vaughn@fhwa.dot.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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