Conservation Project Brightens Highway

Native grasses grow and wild flowers bloom in median of Interstate 29 near South Dakota-North Dakota border.

Published on: Aug 1, 2013

A unique conservation project greets travelers on Interstate 29 near the South Dakota-North Dakota border.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service and other groups teamed up to plant two miles of wildflowers and native grasses in the interstate median.

The main focus was to establish a variety of perennial and annual wildflowers for a showy season-long blooming color with consideration to the height of the plants in the median for visibility, safety and wildlife habitat. The goal was to beautify the landscape and welcome travelers to South Dakota. The native plants also improve precipitation infiltration compared to invasive species and provide a source of food for pollinators and nesting habitat for ground nesting birds.

Native flowers bloom in the median of Interstate 29 near the North Dakota-South Dakota border. Photos: Thomas Tran, NRCS soil conservationist, Sisseton, S.D.
Native flowers bloom in the median of Interstate 29 near the North Dakota-South Dakota border. Photos: Thomas Tran, NRCS soil conservationist, Sisseton, S.D.

Selected species were sideoats grama, prairie junegrass, little bluestem, shell Leaf penstemon, blackeyed susan, prairie coneflower, lewis flax,  plains coreopsis, purple coneflower, Illinois bundleflower, blanket flower, thickspike gayfeather and greyhead coneflower.

The project was a cooperative effort of the Roberts Conservation District, NRCS Sisseton Field Office, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate, the South Dakota Department of Transportation and several businesses.

Source: NRCS