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News Release

September 29, 2008



Minnesota Department of Transportation
501 S. Victory Drive
Mankato, MN 56001

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Prairie reconstruction on I-90 begins with weed control this fall



MANKATO, Minn. -- Prairie reconstruction will begin this fall on a seven-mile stretch of roadside along Interstate 90 between Blue Earth and Guckeen, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

The three-year process will begin with an herbicide application this fall to eliminate existing vegetation. Weed control work will continue next spring, after which native grasses and wildflowers will be planted in May 2009. During the following three years, the prairie grasses and wildflowers will be managed with carefully timed mowing, spot-spraying of invasive weeds and prescribed fire.

As the native grasses and wildflowers become established on the roadside, they will provide many benefits, including:
• Improved quality of storm-water runoff entering the Blue Earth River
• A wildlife habitat corridor between the Blue Earth River and Guckeen Wildlife Management Area
• Scenic beautification of the roadside and the Blue Earth rest areas
• Potential reduction in the invasion of noxious weeds along the roadside
• Removal of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storage of carbon in the soil

This stretch of I-90 borders Minnesota’s portion of the Prairie Passage route, a national corridor that highlights the influence of the tall grass prairie on the natural and cultural heritage of the Midwest. The national route travels through six states, from Texas through Minnesota. In Minnesota, the Prairie Passage is located along I-35 from Iowa north to I-90, then follows I-90 west to Luverne, and finally runs north to Canada along various highways in western Minnesota. Numerous parks, preserves and historic sites along this route provide opportunities to experience the prairie heritage that helped shape Minnesota.

This project is being paid for with federal funds that are dedicated for non-traditional projects that enhance the existing transportation network.

For more information about this project or the Prairie Passage route, contact Ken Graeve, Mn/DOT Office of Environmental Services, 651-366-3613.






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