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Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)

Wildlife Protection

Keeping It Simple: Easy Ways to Help Wildlife Along Roads

Featured Project

Turning Old Bridges into Coral-Reef Fish Habitat

photo of a coral reef community of sponges and fish

Picture enormous cranes lifting the iron truss sections of an old bridge onto the top of large round poles on the deck of a barge. Then picture tugboats towing the barge to a predetermined site in the Gulf of Mexico approximately 3 miles south of Mobile. There, ballasts on the barge are partially filled with sea water. When the barge lists to one side, the trusses roll off into the water, aided by the "roller effect" of the round poles. Since 1995 the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT) has been cleaning truss bridges scheduled for replacement and "recycling" them to artificial reefs, because there are no natural reefs off Alabama's coast. So far, the ALDOT has created three reefs, and according to the Division of Marine Fisheries in the State's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, each reef has been highly successful, attracting large numbers of coral fish and replacing declining or degraded coral-reef fish habitat.

John Shill, (334) 242-6132 or

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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