Minnesota Department of Transportation

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March 3, 2022

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Rejuvenation work to begin Monday at seven living snow fence sites

Hwy 212 snow fence area map
Hwy 212 snow fence area (View full-size Hwy 212 image)
Hwy 40 snow fence area map
Hwy 40 snow fence area (View full-size Hwy 40 image)
Hwy 68 snow fence area map
Hwy 68 snow fence area (View full-size Hwy 68 image)

WILLMAR, Minn. – Work to rejuvenate seven living snow fence sites in Southwest Minnesota begins Monday, March 7. The plantings were installed twenty years ago, and the work being done now will help ensure their survival for another twenty years. Four of the living snow fence sites are along Highway 40 in Lac Qui Parle County, between Madison and the South Dakota border. One site is on Highway 68 west of Canby in Yellow Medicine County. Two sites are along U.S. Highway 212, west of Bird Island in Renville County.

Crews will be working in the right of way and traffic will not be impacted; however, drivers should watch for workers and slow-moving equipment entering and exiting the roadway.

A living snow fence is made up of trees, shrubs, native grasses and/or wildflowers to trap snow as it blows across fields, piling it up before it reaches a bridge or roadway. "A living snow fence is more than landscaping and highway beautification, it serves a purpose," said Dan Gullickson, blowing snow control shared services program supervisor. "We use nature to control blowing snow and rejuvenating these living snow fence sites will safeguard the health and vitality of the plantings."

Living snow fences bring multiple benefits to a roadside, including the capacity to:

  • Prevent big snow drifts and icy roads
  • Improve driver visibility
  • Control soil erosion and reduce spring flooding
  • Lessen environmental impact with less salt use, fewer truck trips and less fuel consumption

Work will include pruning healthy trees and removing volunteer trees and shrubs, such as buckthorn. Work is done at this time of the year to better conserve Minnesota’s bat and bird diversity. Tree trimming and removals will be completed by March 31 and the project is scheduled to wrap up by April 15. The project cost is $75,500 and Carr’s Tree Service is the contractor.

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