Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

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Roadside Use of Native Plants

Questions and Answers on Invasive Plant Species

Where can we get more information about weed control?

Most State DOTS have an annual herbicide applicators' training session. Always check first with your State's Department of Agriculture and Department of Natural Resources or similar agencies for applicable regulations and technical information. Include the herbicide industry and their research results for control information on your State's target species. Your University and Extension Service should be included also. Check websites, such as that of the Federal Interagency Committee for Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW). Through this homepage, you can link to related sites for additional information and contacts. Finally, consult the 1999 FHWA handbook, Roadside Use of Native Plants, for more information.

What can the National Invasive Species Council do for us?

The Council is intended to avoid overlap and redundancy of work being done on invasive species control. By combining research projects, training efforts, public awareness tactics, cooperative agreements, and other resources, we all can avoid wasting precious time and funds in the battle against invasive plants. Its national view and participation should encourage beneficial connections and new partnerships. In the long run, this unprecedented cooperation should save money and diminish the impacts caused by invasive species.

What kinds of research will be supported?

The FHWA will support applied research projects that would apply to many States, develop innovative methods for control of key invasive plants, characterize roadside environments, benefit wildlife habitat, improve water quality, integrate vegetation management tools, improve native plant restoration techniques for rights-of-way, and increase public awareness about non-native invasive and native vegetation.

What technical support can we expect?

The FHWA will continue as a technical resource to each State Highway Agency. The FHWA will share recent research products and fund new research. The FHWA will cooperate with other Federal and State agencies in meaningful partnerships. The FHWA will publish invasive species information in its quarterly newsletter, Greener Roadsides. The FHWA will offer training workshops at our four Resource Centers. The FHWA will act as part of your network and connection to other related networks. An FHWA Vegetation Management website at http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment will be on line in the near future to make these connections. The FHWA will encourage roadside vegetation reviews by State and FHWA in 3 years to determine the results of the Executive Order's intent in each State.

How will environmental documents be affected?

Since the spread of invasive plant species is somewhat predictable and avoidable on construction and related projects, an analysis of site conditions and a plan for minimizing weed introduction and spread could be accomplished during the environmental process. On projects where the potential exists for the introduction or spread of invasive species, the environmental document should include a discussion of the potential impact of these species and any anticipated prevention or control measures to be taken.

Will State Vegetation Management Plans be required?

No. There is no requirement in Executive Order 13112 for State DOT vegetation management plans. Under the Order, the National Invasive Species Council has 18 months to provide a national plan. A State may wish to develop their own plan to specifically deal with species of concern. State DOTS should be involved in the development of any State plans and should be prepared to offer their own vegetation management objectives and solutions.

How can States use native plants as much as practicable as called for by the Presidential Memorandum on beneficial landscaping?

The use of native plants is practicable only when native plants and/or seed are reasonably available in the State. Some creativity will be necessary i.e., salvaging native plants in the way of construction, harvesting native plant seed from the project locality, notifying existing growers of your upcoming needs as far in advance as possible, and contract-growing native plants and native seed whenever you can prove cost-effectiveness as alternative to low bid.

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Questions and feedback should be directed to Deirdre Remley (deirdre.remley@dot.gov, 202-366-0524).

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