Monday, February 16, 2009

A WisDOT proposal for futility

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation is proposing to, by 2013,"develop a more robust program related to the restoration and preservation of high-priority plant communities" on DOT-owned property and rights-of-way, according to its Connections 2030 draft plan.

Such a program is much-needed. Inexplicably, though, the department is proposing to wait until 2014-19 to "cooperate with DNR to develop and implement a rapid-detection and early response program to better control non-native invasive species."

WisDOT hasn't made much effort to control invasive species for a few years now, and it shows in their rapid spread along highways (transportation routes very nicely facilitate the spread of invasives) and beyond. A decision by WisDOT to try to restore native plants, but not to try to control invasives at the same time is pure folly and a waste of time and money. The invasives will (again) wipe out the native plants and march on.

WisDOT already likely has cause millions of dollars in environmental damage through its hands-off (non)treatment of invasives. It's proposal to wait five more years before doing any real work to control them will have devastating consequences.

The public has a chance to weigh in on this and all the proposals in the plan. WisDOT is accepting public comment through Feb. 27. You can email them to connections2030@dot.state.wi.us or send them by snail mail to:

Connections 2030
WisDOT Bureau of Planning
P.O. Box 7913, Room 901
Madison, WI 53707-7913

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