Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management, Invasive Species Control and Native Plant Establishment Projects
Maryland State Highway Administration, Office of Environmental Design
The Maryland State Highway Administration Office of Environmental Design (OED) is in the process of developing a network of functional and healthy native roadside habitats that are both environmentally and fiscally sustainable. OED developed six projects as part of its initiative to promote integrated roadside vegetation management. These projects, currently underway and expected to be administered through 2015, cover 446 miles along 14 highways in 14 counties throughout Maryland, in addition to 31 wetland mitigation sites. The projects aim to remove invasive species and establish native habitats, including meadows and forest stands, along roadsides and medians. The six projects apply best management and stewardship practices and focus on roadside vegetation's environmental functionality rather than its aesthetic value. In addition, OED's roadside vegetation management projects incorporate invasive regeneration control to ensure the successful elimination of invasive plants, which can help to reduce future costs and environmental impacts.
To build on the success of these projects, OED is preparing to initiate 4 new projects that will support integrated roadside vegetation management activities for 249 additional miles of highway in Maryland. OED's continued dedication to establishing and maintaining healthy native habitats along its roadways serves as a strong model for other States and agencies interested in removing invasive species and reintroducing native plants to their roadsides.
The median of US-50 in Salisbury, Wicomico County, prior to OED's work in summer 2010, is shown here. Densely established invasive species grow in the median.
The median of US-50 in Salisbury, Wicomico County, after to OED's work in summer 2011 is shown above. Native meadow seedling has replaced the invasive plants previously there.