An Integrated Approach to Establishing Native Plants and Pollinator Habitat

2.1 Introduction

Incorporating ecological concepts into all aspects of road design, construction, modification and maintenance is a goal of the transportation community (NRC 2005; Forman and others 2003). The Federal Highway Administration, state departments of transportation, and other federal, state, and county agencies that are responsible for road infrastructure all strive to achieve this goal. One successful approach for meeting this goal is to integrate issues of native plant revegetation (including protection of existing vegetation) into the larger design and construction processes of road projects. Revegetation planning is now an integral part of road planning and is an important aspect of road projects that can achieve a higher level of success and project benefits when incorporated early in project design. Experts recommend (as illustrated on the timeline Figure 2-1) that the implementation phase of revegetation begins while the overall project development process is still underway. Waiting until construction begins reduces the likelihood that locally-adapted native plant materials in the quantities needed, will be able to be propagated in advance.

To increase the opportunity for successful integration of revegetation issues within the overall road project, the designer of a revegetation plan can identify the cooperators and agencies involved, discover how their processes and timelines work, and coordinate at the appropriate times and with the appropriate people. The revegetation plan designer can add greater project value if involved in planning and construction processes whenever soil and vegetation disturbances are planned. Agency schedules, milestones, and budgetary issues are commonly defined in the planning process to effectively synchronize the revegetation efforts with road development and construction.

For the Designer
It is beyond the scope of this manual to cover all the specific procedures and processes for every agency involved in road projects. However, this chapter provides a general overview.

Road projects may be administered from local, state, or federal levels, or sometimes from a combination of all three levels. In terms of timing, road projects can be complex and span many years, whereas other projects are streamlined and on a compressed timeline. It is beyond the scope of this manual to cover all the specific procedures and processes for every agency involved in road projects. This chapter, however, provides an overview to successfully navigate the various processes for a project. Designer involvement and input is important from the inception of a project through completion. The earlier one can get involved, the more input provided. The preliminary steps for initial involvement include:

  • Defining cooperators, processes, timelines, and milestones.
  • Defining objectives: What is the project trying to accomplish?

For the Designer
Incorporation of revegetation planning very early on in road project development can benefit project coordination, schedule, and budget.

This chapter provides an overview of each of these steps, followed by a discussion of typical road development processes which include key points of involvement. This chapter also discusses the technical content, interpretation and use of road project plans and views.