Promoting Native Roadside Plant Communities and Ensuring Successful Vegetation Establishment Practices

Loss of vegetation due to roadside activities can lead to erosion and increased sediment load in stormwater ponds. Current Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) procedures regarding approved seed blends and establishment practices have led to inconsistent vegetation establishment and are heavily reliant on exotic species. Growing concerns regarding the threat of exotic, invasive species has led groups such as the Federal Highway Administration, VA Departments of Conservation and Environmental Quality, and partnerships such as Blue Ridge Prism to question the use of exotic seed blends on Virginia roadsides. The purpose for this study is to (1) identify and document procedural improvements for successful roadside vegetation establishment and (2) propose candidate native seed blends that promote native roadside plant communities and improved vegetation establishment success at sites disturbed by highway projects or maintenance activities. This project aims to assess and compile plant communities with respect to native and exotic forbs and grasses on various Virginia roadsides, across ecoregions, and temporally during the growing season. These plant community data, along with a review of departmental procedures and literature regarding native plant establishment on roadsides, will be used to develop candidate seed mixtures that promote native plants while offering cost, safety, and infrastructure preservation competitive with current practices. The plant community assessment will also be used to determine the base-line population distribution of milkweed species along Virginia roadways.


    • English


    • Status: Active
    • Funding: $296965
    • Contract Numbers:


    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Virginia Transportation Research Council

      530 Edgemont Road
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Managing Organizations:

      Virginia Transportation Research Council

      530 Edgemont Road
      Charlottesville, VA  United States  22903
    • Project Managers:

      Donaldson, Bridget

    • Performing Organizations:

      Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

      Department of Fisheries & Wildlife Sciences
      100 Cheatham Hall Mail Code 0321
      Blacksburg, VA  United States  24061
    • Principal Investigators:

      Askew, Shawn

      Goatley, Mike

    • Start Date: 20210203
    • Expected Completion Date: 20230831
    • Actual Completion Date: 0

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01763378
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Virginia Department of Transportation
    • Contract Numbers: 118543
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Feb 4 2021 10:28AM