Native Seedings and Plantings
About the measures
MnDOT projects using native seedings decreases construction impacts to the surrounding environment by providing structure to the soil which minimizes erosion and impacts of harsh seasonal weather. It is also an opportunity to re-introduce native species to Minnesota’s landscape. Roadside vegetation serves many critical functions in operating the transportation system including safety, drainage, erosion control, storm water treatment, and invasive species control. Because of underlying ecological principles, these objectives are often accomplished more effectively with diverse, locally adapted native species. Using native vegetation on roadsides can also provide several additional benefits such as improved aesthetics, wildlife habitat, carbon sequestration, and protection of biodiversity.
In 2022, 42% of acres on MnDOT projects were planted using native seeds. The percentage of acres planted with native seeds has historically fluctuated from year to year. Also in 2022, 65% of projects statewide were planted with native plantings, up from 50% in 2021. This is the third year this measure has been tracked.
Where we want to go
The agency has a target for 75% of acres to be planted with native seeds as part of large MnDOT projects and for 80% of projects in urban areas and 90% of projects in rural areas to be planted with native plantings. To achieve this goal, MnDOT environmental staff work with design, construction, and maintenance project managers to develop plans and procedures that support increased native vegetation. MnDOT provides manuals and recommendations to help project managers select the right native seed mix for their condition.