Environmental Review Toolkit
Water, Wetlands, and Wildlife

Ecosystem and Vegetation Management

Plants and Invasive Species

Managing vegetation along highways presents a serious challenge in preserving natural beauty along travel corridors and preventing the spread of invasive species.

Invasive Species – Invasive species have the potential to affect a wide range of human and natural activities and functions. Highways present an ideal path for species to spread out of their native environment. FHWA provides guidance and information resources to transportation and planning agencies in order to prevent the problems associated with native species.

  • Invasive Species Cover And Wildlife Use at Compensatory Mitigation Sites – This FHWA Study evaluates compliance with invasive species performance standards at state Department of Transportation (DOT) wetland mitigation sites by comparing invasive species cover and wildlife use at eight DOT mitigation sites and eight corresponding reference sites.
  • Federal Highway Administration Guidance on Invasive Species – This FHWA Guidance provides guidelines for State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) to address roadside vegetation management in order to prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species.
  • Field Guide to Common Roadside Invasive Species – This FHWA Field Guide identifies common roadside invasive grasses and forbs that appear on State noxious weed lists.
  • National Invasive Species Information Center – This U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) site provides information about invasive species for Federal, State, local, and international sources.
  • Executive Order 13112 – President Bill Clinton signed this Executive Order regarding Invasive Species on February 3, 1999 in order to "prevent the introduction of invasive species and provide for their control and to minimize the economic, ecological, and human health impacts that invasive species cause."
  • Federal Interagency Committee for the Management of Noxious and Exotic Weeds (FICMNEW) – As a formal partnership between sixteen Federal agencies, FICMNEW holds the responsibilities to manage and regulate invasive species across the United States.
  • "Dangerous Travelers: Controlling Invasive Plants Along America's Roadways" – As part of its efforts to prevent the spread of invasive species, the USDA Forest Service San Dimas Technology and Development Center, in partnership with the National Forest System Invasive Species Program, the Federal Highway Administration, the U.S. Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, has produced a training video designed to help road maintenance crews recognize and control invasive flora. The video may be accessed online or by contacting:
  • USDA Forest Service, San Dimas Technology and Development Center
    444 East Bonita Avenue
    San Dimas, CA 91773
    (909) 599-1267.
  • "Invasive Plants: What are they and how can we pull together to win the war on weeds!" – Presentation available for PowerPoint (7.5 MB) or in HTML.

Roadside Vegetation – What was once the FHWA Wildflower Program has evolved into a holistic roadside program. Roadside rights-of-way account for more than 10 million acres of land in the United States. This land requires care that assures water quality, improves erosion control, increases wildlife habitat, reduces mowing and spraying, enhances natural beauty, and protects natural heritage. The FHWA Roadside Vegetation Program serves as a technical resource for this care of the land.

  • "Roadside Use of Native Plants" – This glove-compartment size handbook is a reference for those who restore, design, or manage native plants. Its State by State organization of information is a beginning point in decision-making. To make site by site decisions within a State, local expertise will be necessary. This information is aimed at preserving the native remnants that still exist and restoring natural heritage where necessary. Hardcopy versions of the handbook are available online through Island Press or by calling (800) 828-1302.
  • Wildflowers – Overview of the use of wildflowers as roadside vegetation.
  • "Greener Roadsides" – Archived issues of FHWA's quarterly newsletter about vegetation management issues.
  • Vegetation Management: An Ecoregional Approach – This publication marks the third and final installment of an FHWA guidebook series on managing roadside ecology. It was designed as a quick-start guide for maintenance staff from State DOTs, as well as landscape, environmental services, and erosion control personnel.

For questions regarding roadside vegetation issues in a particular State, please refer to the list of Roadside Vegetation Contacts.

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

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