Minnesota Department of Transportation

511 Travel Info

Environmental Stewardship

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Protected species

MnDOT incorporates measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate impacts to protected fish, wildlife and plant species into the design and construction of our transportation projects. 

MnDOT has established committed, close working relationships with our local, state and federal partners in order to facilitate the continued protection and improvement of these resources and to ensure compliance with federal and state rules and regulations.


  • Guidance and technical support to ensure compliance with state and federal rules and regulations governing protected species
  • Analysis of transportation-related impacts on protected species, including species under state and/or federal protection
  • Development of measures to avoid, minimize and mitigate transportation-related impacts to protected species
  • Development, implementation and evaluation of measures to increase permeability of transportation infrastructure to accommodate fish and wildlife movement
  • Coordination with natural resource agencies
  • Protected species surveys
  • Protected species permitting coordination
  • Negotiation of mitigation agreements



Federally threatened northern long-eared bats (Myotis septentrionalis) discovered during MnDOT bridge inspections. Bridge inspectors and MnDOT biologists are inspecting bridges across the state to document bridge use by bats. Photo by Christopher E. Smith.

Painted turtle

Painted turtle (Chrysemys picta) moving through a construction site. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and MnDOT have developed best practices to avoid and minimize impacts to small wildlife, including turtles, during construction. Photo by Peter Leete.


Most Minnesota birds, including the cliff swallows (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) using this bridge as nesting habitat, are protected by state and federal regulations. MnDOT uses best practices to deter such birds from nesting on upcoming work sites. Photo by Peter Leete.

Dakota skipper

The federally threatened Dakota skipper (Hesperia dacotae) is one of several imperiled pollinator species across the state that MnDOT considers before beginning construction projects. Photo by Christopher E. Smith.


Moose (Alces alces) populations have declined over the last decade in Minnesota. MnDOT incorporates wildlife passages into project designs where feasible, but motorists must stay wildlife aware to avoid collisions with this icon of the North Woods. Photo by Peter Leete.


MnDOT conducts mussel surveys ahead of projects that may affect imperiled mussel populations. When imperiled species are detected, MnDOT works with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to avoid, reduce, and mitigate the impacts of construction. Photo by Mike Davis.