Costs and Benefits of Living Snow Fences

Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 1:30pm

About the Event

Blowing and drifting snow are costly realities for transportation agencies in regions with significant snowfall. Large, heavy drifts can require extra snowplow trips or the use of specialized removal equipment to keep roadways passable. Living snow fences—plantings of trees or shrubs set back from the right-of-way—can be used to minimize blowing and drifting problems on a roadway. The fences can also decrease travel time and reduce the number and severity of snow-related crashes.

In this seminar, Gary Wyatt highlighted a benefit and cost analysis tool developed to help the Minnesota Department of Transportation evaluate its living snow fence program. The tool calculates global and site-specific economic, transportation, and environmental benefits of the fences as well as the costs to landowners. Wyatt also outlined how the tool helps prioritize problem areas and develop landowner payment programs.

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Gary Wyatt is an agroforestry educator and professor with the University of Minnesota Extension in Mankato. Wyatt promotes sustainable agroforestry practices that are economical and protect the soil, water, wildlife, and natural resources.