Black racer snakes are rare in Vermont, so when highway construction was going to introduce drains with holes big enough for the snakes to fall into, the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife asked for a fix. Drain covers with smaller holes were not possible. So the Vermont Agency of Transportation fashioned snake-sized ladders and attached them to the drains. It turns out that black racers are excellent climbers, so it is expected that the snakes will rescue themselves if they fall into the drain. A poster on the unusual solution was presented at the Northeastern Transportation and Wildlife Conference, being held this week (Sept. 21 – 24) in Burlington, Vermont.
In other news from the conference: Now that fish and wildlife departments and transportation agencies are getting along so well together, what is the next step? Bringing urban and land-use planning into the fold. This will be trickier, because while transportation and wildlife function on the state level, planning happens at the local level. In Vermont, several speakers noted, just two percent of all development was subject to state review. (And Vermont has a strong state-level development law.)