America's Highways: A Potential Conservation Opportunity

Aug 10, 2016

Credit usgs.gov

You probably don’t think much about all those grassy strips and medians you pass on the highway during your morning commute. But, as PRI reports, those medians are providing shelter to a whole world of critters.

America’s roadsides are actually vital habitats for many small animals, as well as pollinators such as bees, butterflies and birds. If you add up all of the medians and roadside areas in the US, the total amounts to over 17 million acres of land. And that’s a huge conservation opportunity.

Restoration ecologist Bonnie Harper-Lore sees roadsides as a great opportunity to benefit wildlife. Harper-Lore would like see a complete inventory of the nation’s roadside vegetation. She says you’d be surprised how many remnants of old forests, old prairies and wetlands still exist alongside our nation’s thoroughfares.