Skip to content U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway AdministrationU.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration
Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Sturdy fence cuts tortoise roadkill by 75%

Federally endangered desert tortoises of the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts spend most of their lives in underground burrows. When they emerge in the spring to migrate, their migration path often takes them across roads. Along a 2-mile stretch of Arizona State Route 86 on the Tohono O'odam Reservation, a simple fence has reduced the number of annual desert tortoise deaths by 75 percent. Arizona Department of Transportation maintenance crews installed the 24" welded-wire fencing onto the bottom of a right-of-way fence on both sides of the highway. Six inches of the new fence were buried below ground so migrating tortoises could not crawl under it, and the fence was secured to an existing culvert through which the tortoises could cross back and forth under the highway.
--Apr 25, 2003

Bruce Eilerts, (602) 712-7398 or

Sonoran Desert Tortoise
National Park Service photo
Sonoran Desert Tortoise

Along Roads - Arizona
Updated: 12/12/2012
HEP Home Planning Environment Real Estate
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000