Roadside maintenance is the final step in the revegetation timeline. It occurs when the revegetation efforts and responsibilities are transferred to the road maintenance staff for the long-term management of roadside vegetation. If the transfer is successful, revegetation objectives are carried out for many years with good results. The intended audience for this chapter is maintenance staff. In handing off a roadside revegetation project, it is helpful if the objectives and reasoning behind the revegetation plan are understood by maintenance staff. This may have occurred if maintenance staff were included during the planning phases of the revegetation plan. In such instances, maintenance staff can provide insights into the development of a vegetation management strategy (Section 3.2) and bring to the discussion a thorough understanding of how vegetation responds to various management activities specific to the project environment.
For the Designer
To ensure that revegetation objectives are carried through during the maintenance phase, maintenance staff should be informed of these objectives and how they relate to maintenance activities.
Many state departments of transportation have a statewide Integrated Vegetation Management (IVM) plan or an Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) plan. Some states have more detailed IVM plans for regions within the state. IVM plans are typically updated annually based on monitoring of the previous year's work.
The IRVM is "an approach to right-of-way maintenance that combines an array of management techniques with sound ecological principles to establish and maintain safe, healthy and functional roadsides" (Brant and others 2015). It applies many of the Integrated Pest Management concepts developed for agriculture, horticulture, and forestry to roadside vegetation management. IVM plans typically include sections on preventing the introduction of unwanted vegetation, protecting rare plants, preserving natural areas, and developing a decision-making process for treating vegetation.