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Desert tortoises, federally-listed as a threatened species, got a lucky break recently in San Bernardino County, California. When California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) biologists noticed construction riprap was preventing desert tortoises from using culverts next to an Interstate 15 widening project, they remedied the situation with a quick and easy solution: gravel. To keep tortoises near the culverts from falling into the holes between the riprap, Caltrans crews poured gravel into the holes, filling up the spaces between the rocks. Then they spread the gravel to make a flat, even surface. According to Caltrans' monitoring studies, desert tortoises using the culverts are moving along the "new and improved" surfaces just fine.
"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."