The ecological effects of roads impact about 15% of the land area of the US—an area equivalent in size to all the protected areas of the country combined. The ecological health of roadsides and road-impacted areas has not been adequately addressed. Most road projects today involve modifications to existing roads rather than new construction. As roads are modified section by section, a tremendous opportunity arises to remedy the oversights of the past, improving conditions for healthier ecosystems. The challenge is to move beyond regulation-driven mitigation approaches and into proactive environmental stewardship. Native plants are a foundation of ecological health and function. Revegetating with native plants is a key practice for managing environmental impacts. To be successful, native vegetation issues cannot be considered as an afterthought to larger road planning and construction processes. Instead, they must be an integral part of the process of designing and constructing roads. A partnership between the Federal Highway Administration and the USDA Forest Service has developed an approach to revegetation that is goal-oriented, context-sensitive, and collaborative. This is an interdisciplinary, interagency team approach with early (3-y minimum) collaboration, shared objectives, and clear guidelines. Cooperation allows time and funding for growers to produce the quality and quantity of native plant materials required. Two new publications, Roadside Revegetation: An Integrated Approach to Establishing Native Plants and A Manager’s Guide to Roadside Revegetation Using Native Plants are available.


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Print ISSN
pp. 267-277
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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