New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office recommendations for project proposals involving Highway Improvement and/or Construction

With highway improvement and/or construction projects, the New Mexico Ecological Services Field Office is particularly concerned about habitat fragmentation, the loss of connectivity for wildlife populations, and direct wildlife mortality. Ridges, draws, riparian areas, and arroyos are corridors frequently used by wildlife for movement and dispersal. When constructing or modifying highways, we recommend that structures be included at regular intervals to allow wildlife to safely pass from one side to the other. Such structures include large culverts, overpasses, underpasses, and tunnels. Because some species of wildlife will not move through confined openings, structures providing connectivity should be as large as possible. Bridges should be as tall as possible and the abutments as far apart as possible to allow safe passage under the bridge and along riparian corridors adjacent to the stream. Prior to removing old bridges, we recommend that you undertake surveys to determine if they are being used as bat roosts, and when constructing or modifying bridges, we suggest that you design the undersides to provide bat roosting areas.