Our Highways and Wildlife Protection

The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) and the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Appalachian Lab partnered to study wildlife use of existing highway structures. The study demonstrated that many species of wildlife use variously sized structures to cross under Maryland highways. Most of these structures are underpasses, which are associated with stream valleys.



A fox shown using a cylinder culvert   Wildlife tracks going through underpasses


MD 200 - the Intercounty Connector (ICC) - and Wildlife Preservation

The ICC has 44 bridges and culverts designed to provide safe passage for deer and small mammals. Culverts carrying streams are also designed to provide aquatic species passage. ICC bridges over parks and streams are longer than normal to lessen the amount of environmental impact in these sensitive areas and to allow greater clearance for wildlife and vegetation.



Culvert carries a stream   Culvert accessible by aquatic and land wildlife


Deterring Wildlife from Highways

Specially designed fencing excludes wildlife from the highway and direct the animals to wildlife crossings. Deer exclusion fencing is eight-feet tall, with an additional one foot buried below ground. An additional three-feet tall, small-mammal exclusion fencing is also attached. Deer escape ramps are designed to encourage deer to leave the roadside if they get inside the fence.



Specially designed fencing   Wildlife escape ramp



Wildlife Relocation Efforts

Over 900 Eastern Box Turtles were relocated from the highway construction area to parks with suitable habitat. MDOT SHA partnered with the Towson University Biology Department to study the effectiveness of the relocation efforts. Relocated turtles adapted to their new locations.




Professional biologists worked with volunteers and
students to collect data on relocated turtles



Click here to view Responses, Movements and Survival of Relocated Box Turtles During Construction of the Intercounty Connector Highway in Maryland.

Click here to view An Investigation into the Use of Road Drainage Structures by Wildlife in Maryland.