Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM)
IRVM is a decision-making and quality management process for maintaining roadside vegetation that integrated the following...
- the needs of local communities and highway users
- the knowledge of plant ecology and natural processes
- design, construction, and maintenance considerations
- monitoring and evaluation procedures
- government statutes and regulations
...with cultural, biological, mechanical, and chemical pest control methods to economically manage roadsides for safety plus environmental and visual quality (NVRMA, 1997).
In Minnesota, each of MnDOT's District/Maintenance Areas are encouraged to prepare annual IRVM plans for guiding management on state roadsides. IRVM plans are a proactive way of addressing many of Minnesota's Laws such as:
- Minnesota Noxious Weed Law (Laws of Minnesota, Chapter 18, Sections 18.75-18.88) and Rules (Rules of Minnesota, Chapter 1505.0730-1505.0760)
- State Mowing Law (Minnesota State Statue 160.232) This law pertains to mowing ditches outside cities. The law protects nesting habitat for game birds and songbirds during critical times of the year by directing the extent and timing of mowing operations
- Groundwater Protection Law (Minnesota State Statutes, Chapter 103H)
It is the goal of the state that groundwater be maintained in its natural condition, free from any degradation caused by human activities. It is recognized that for some human
activities this degradation prevention goal cannot be practicably achieved. However, where prevention is practicable, it is intended that it be achieved. Where it is not currently practicable, the development of methods and technology that will make prevention practicable is encouraged.
- State Uses of Pesticides and Nutrients (Minnesota State Statutes, Chapter 18B, Section .063)
The state shall use integrated pest management techniques in its management of public lands, including roadside rights-of-way, parks, and forests; and shall use planting regimes that minimize the need for pesticides and added nutrients.
- Minnesota Invasive Species Advisory Council (MISAC)—This council was formed in response to Presidential Executive Order #13112 on invasive species that requested states to develop invasive species councils. The Minnesota Departments of Agriculture and Natural Resources are responsible for coordinating the management of invasive species in the state. Mn/DOT desires to cooperate in control efforts to minimize the spread of invasive species.
- Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act (Rules of Minnesota Chapter 8420.0540 and 8420.0541) The purpose of the Wetland Conservation Act (WCA) is to achieve a no net loss in the quantity, quality, and biological diversity of Minnesota’s existing wetlands by maintaining and protecting Minnesota’s wetlands and the public benefits they provide. The WCA requires anyone proposing to drain, fill or excavate a wetland first to try to avoid disturbing the wetland; second, to try to minimize any impact on the wetland; and, finally, to replace any lost wetland acres, functions, and values. Integral to the development of wetland replacement sites is the establishment of “permanent, native, noninvasive vegetation,” as well as the requirement for a “five-year vegetation establishment and management plan, including seeding rates, planting methods, seed and plant mixes, herbicide treatments, and control of noxious weeds and invasive or nonnative species.”