Incorporation of Pollinator Plantings to Enhance Ecosystem Functions and Durability of Transportation Right-of-Way Infrastructure

Highway right-of-ways (ROWs) provide numerous ecosystem services beyond erosion control. Incorporation of native grasses and flowering plants into ROW plantings can further increase the services by providing habitat for endangered native pollinators while improving aesthetics, erosion control, and stormwater filtration. However, highway ROWs are not natural habitats. The roadway itself alters the micro-climate of the roadside, and safety considerations require much of the ROW to be maintained as grassland or scrubland. In New England these are early succession ecosystems and must be regularly mowed or otherwise disturbed. Many New England wildflowers are not adapted to the roadside environment, while wildflowers used on roadsides in other regions are not native in New England and may not be adapted to the soils or climate. This project will use vegetation surveys and adaptation trials to identify native and naturalized flowering plants adapted to the highway ROW environment, and will create trial plantings in the highway ROW to identify best practices for establishing native grasses and forbs from seed on the roadside. Roadsides have been successfully maintained as habitat for native plants, pollinators, small animals and birds in other regions but very little management of roadside for habitat has occurred in New England. Best practices from other regions need to be tested to determine whether they are appropriate in New England since soils, climate, and native species differ. Trial plantings will be established in partnership with RIDOT Maintenance to ensure that the establishment methods used are possible with the equipment and employee skills available.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $324765
  • Contract Numbers:

    69A3551847101

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

    University of Maine
    Orono, ME  United States  04469

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881

    Rhode Island Department of Transportation

    Two Capitol Hill
    Providence, RI  United States  02903-1124
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

    University of Maine
    Orono, ME  United States  04469

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881
  • Project Managers:

    Dunn, Denise

  • Performing Organizations:

    Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center

    University of Maine
    Orono, ME  United States  04469

    University of Rhode Island, Kingston

    Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Kingston, RI  United States  02881
  • Principal Investigators:

    Brown, Rebecca

  • Start Date: 20211001
  • Expected Completion Date: 20230830
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01780659
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Infrastructure Durability Center
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551847101
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: Aug 27 2021 10:44AM