Wildflowers and other native plants provide visual character that enhances the natural scenic beauty of our state's landscape. The growing concern for our natural heritage has generated an increasing interest in their restoration, preservation, and appreciation.
Our highways provide access to the splendors of nature as well as offer opportunities for natural beauty within their rights-of-way. The "Operation Wildflower" program and the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987 (STURAA) initiated the use of native wildflowers and other native vegetation along the rights-of-way to add natural character and diversity to the highway environment. These programs are the framework of Idaho Transportation Departmentís wildflower and native habitat restoration programs.
Since 2001, ITD's native plant program has reintroduced native species to thousands of road miles and incorporated native species into seed mixes and revegetation activities. Using native plants enhances biodiversity, preserves natural habitats, and restores native wildlife habitats.
Transportation planning and project development must reflect the desires of communities, and take into account the impacts on both the natural and human environments. Transportation projects are closely looked at to see how they might impact the community, the natural environment, and our health and welfare.
For additional information, contact Cathy Ford, Roadside Programs Coordinator, at (208) 334-8416.