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10 Best Management Practices That Work

1. UTAH INCORPORATES INVASIVE POLICY - In 2000, the UDOT Quality Improvement Team was formed to dtermine appropriate strategies to implement the 1999 EO 13112. The team included folks from maintenance, construction, design, and environmental divisions. Potential invasives impacts are now included in environmental documentation. Also included are Best Management Practices (BMPs) to deal with invasives. Early analysis, Special Provisions, equipment cleaning, and revegetation of bare soils are some of those practices.

Wisconsin2. WISCONSIN WRITES A Wildflower Waiver
- Instead of trying to find a loophole to plant less native plants, the Wisconsin DOT found a way to plant more. Working with their FHWA Division office, they combined the 1987 STURAA with common sense to increase the use and preservation of native plants. They created a waiver agreement which allows them to avoid planting native wildflowers where they are not appropriate, but bank the unused dollars for larger projects in the future. They also agreed to bank any preserved plant communities that are possible during the highway design process.

- Concerned about the increase of weed pests in the West, WDOT worked with other State agencies to develop legislation requiring weed-free forage or mulches on highway projects. Many neighboring State DOTs have joined forces to stop this mode of spread in a dramatic way. They are now part of the effort through the North American Weed Management Association (NAWMA) to develop standards that can be used nationally.

Vermont4. VERMONT PURSUES PURPLE LOOSESTRIFE - Recently, the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT) partnered with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). Using ANR's statewide mappings of purple loosestrife, the AOT has set up research sites to learn which purple loosestrife control methods are most successful in New England over time.

5. NEW MEXICO JOINS OTHERS IN THE WAR ON WEEDS - In 2001 The DOT and 32 groups signed an MOU that set up Coordinated Weed Management Areas (CWMAs) throughout New Mexico. The partners agree to inventory, manage, prevent, and eradicate whenever possible, plants designated as noxious pursuant to New Mexico weed law. The partnership includes military lands, tribal Councils and State agencies.

- Because of good growing conditions and international connections, Florida has been overrun by alien plant species. The FDOT continues to seek ways to stop their spread and protect their natural environment. The FDOT has worked with the State Department of Agriculture to craft a certification program that rewards the propagation of weed-free sods. Florida now requires weed-free sods in its construction, landscape, and erosion-control projects.

7. WISCONSIN REDUCES MOWING - The Wisconsin DOT adopted a Natural Roadsides philosophy in the 1950's when it became apparent that it would be fiscally impractical to mow the entire highway rights-of-way on the new 4-land divided highways that were being built. A limited mowing policy was written. That policy, with some modifications, is still in place today. The policy allows much of the natural vegetation to regenerate naturally. Generally the vegetation is mowed to a minimum height of six inches for fifteen feet on outside shoulders and five feet on median shoulders. As a result a recovery zone is assured, costs are reduced, and Wisconsin's natural beauty is preserved. (Michigan and Minnesota also have reduced mowing laws.)

Caltrans8. CALTRANS - PROTECTS NATIVE PLANT COMMUNITY REMNANTS - The California Department of Transportation began a plant community preservation program in 1994. Working with conservation groups, they identified more than 20 quality remnants on highway ROW. These valuable pieces of natural heritage are called Biological Management Areas. Each is signed and has its own management plan. Ironically roadsides are sometimes the last refuge of unique plant communities and/or plant species.

- In a creative effort to control weed invasions, the Oregon DOT is part of an unusual partnership, crossing many political boundaries, just like those pesky plants. Together with the Bureau of Land Management and Malheur County, the DOT shares equipment and personnel to spot spray weeds on all agency lands, and adjacent landowners on request. This on-the-ground weed control team is a practical answer to dwindling resources on all levels.

10. VIRGINIA RESTORES RARE PLANTS - VDOT has reintroduced native yellow pitcher plants (Sarracenia flava L.) at a time when only 100 plants are known to occur in the wild in that State. VDOT partnered with the Meadowview Biological Research Station of Woodford, Virginia to propagate these plants from seed and then plant on a wet site along the interstate. Other rare wetland plants complete the association. Being good stewards of the Commonwelth's property, VDOT is striving to make a difference both aesthetically and ecologically on their roadsides.

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This page last modified on August 4, 2004

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