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Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Mandating "natural" erosion control matting helps crawling critters

Requiring natural-fiber matting for temporary erosion control on Vermont's highway construction projects has given snakes, turtles, and even small mammals and birds a new lease on life. When Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) learned more than 50 Northern Water Snakes (a Vermont "Species of Greatest Conservation Need") had gotten caught in the inflexible plastic erosion control matting used on a town road project, they rewrote VTrans' standard specifications, requiring contractors to stop using plastic. Now contractors must use loosely woven, natural-fiber erosion control matting - a particular benefit to snakes, since they can't move backwards. Using a bio-degradable, non-petroleum-based product also leaves less of a footprint on the land. 
--Mar 25, 2009

Chris Slesar, (802) 828-5743 or

This photo shows a large snake trapped in the mesh of a plastic erosion control mat.
Photo by Photo by Chris Slesar.
Inflexible plastic erosion control matting can trap snakes and other reptiles and amphibians.

Along Roads - Vermont
Updated: 12/12/2012
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