Monday, January 7, 2019

Sustainable Transportation: Preserving, restoring and revegetating habitats

By Meagan Lott

As part of a sustainable transportation system we not only strive to support the economy, enhance equity and quality of life in our communities, but preserve the environment.

Across the state we are integrating habitat preservation into roadside development and operations as well as including other habitat features into project revegetation and restoration plans.
We’re replanting native vegetation in the I-90 Snoqualmie Pass East project area to restore habitat impacted by the project.

One example is the work done earlier this fall at the Scatter Creek Rest Area off of Interstate 5 north of Centralia. A variety of seed mixes were planted utilizing a seed drill for the rest area and a variety of soil preparation methods with hand seeding at nearby research plots. This site will be monitored for successful establishment and flowering of plants and pollinator activity. As a result, soil preparation and seed mix performance will inform restoration and maintenance practices to provide future habitat for pollinators along our roadsides.

Another example is the work to provide improvements to Edgecomb Creek under State Route 531 near Arlington. As part of the latest fish passage project, vegetation was installed to provide bank stabilization, high flow roughness mitigation and shading and habitat for juvenile salmonid.
Vegetation installed at Edgecomb Creek near Arlington provide slope stabilization and shading and habitat for wildlife.

On I-90 just east of Snoqualmie Pass, we teamed up with the US Forest Service to collect native seeds and cuttings from the Snoqualmie Pass East project area to grow at local nurseries. Once the plants matured, we planted them along the project area to restore the habitat we impacted during the first phases of the project.
We’ve teamed with the US Forest Service to collect native seeds and cuttings from the Snoqualmie East project to grow at nurseries and re-plant in the area.

Through these innovative methods to preserve and restore native habitats we are providing a more reliable, responsible and sustainable transportation system now and into the future.