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Blasting rock for bridge or highway construction results in ground vibrations that can cause baby bats in nearby caves to fall to the cave floor and die. If the blasts cause cracks in the walls or create a wider opening to the cave, the resulting change in the constant temperatures inside the cave can also cause baby bats to die. So when Tennessee Department of Transportation biologists learned that caves with maternity colonies of federally endangered gray bats were located near planned construction on the State Route 30 bridge over Town Creek in Rhea County, they took a critical and simple step to protect the baby bats. They restricted blasting so vibrations would not be felt beyond 600 feet from the project limits. Thanks to this precaution, no bats were hurt by the blasting.
"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."