Native landscape preservation and ecosystem connectivity are considered important factors in the development and sustainability of human infrastructure, particularly in relation to the estimated 13.5 million acres of highway roadsides throughout the nation. By collaborating on roadside design and management best practices, and standardized regional native seed and nursery specifications, State departments of transportation can inform and encourage local native plant restoration businesses on the future restoration needs of roadsides and other disturbed lands throughout the country. An example of this type of interstate collaboration was initiated in 2022 for the Pacific Northwestern states of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Idaho Transportation Dept. has developed a seed map for every ecoregion in Idaho that provides a native plant species list including bloom times and how to build a seed mix. Washington Department of Transportation developed seed mix/sourcing maps & Oregon Dept. of Transportation has experience and connections with the seed industry as a base for a research proposal. Together we (ITD, WSDOT & ODOT) hope to implement a tri-state project that would potentially map seed mixes and plant pallets for all roadsides in our regions. The seed and nursery industries are also supportive of this as it would create map-based detailed specifications they could fill for DOT restoration projects on the roadsides.