The State of Indiana has announced a new conservation program called CORRIDORS (Conservation On Rivers and Roadways Intended to Develop Opportunities for Resources and Species). The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has 3 partner agencies, Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) & Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. The IN DNR will provide techinical advice and some payments for landowners who sign onto the habitat enhancement and conservation program. INDOT is restructuring its right of way management. They will remove invasive species, establish or encourage native plants and reduce mowing and spraying to preserve habitat and wildlife. The NCRS will provide technical assistance for efforts to improve water quality and wildlife habitat. Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever has Farm Bill money from the Federal Government to improve habitat quality.
For INDOT mowing and spraying is expensive and energy intensive. Maintenance expenses can be reduced by more selective mowing [both areas mowed and timing of mowing]. This will hopefully free funds for other parts of the conservation effort. Although some citizens will complain about the reduced mowing, the program can be a win-win for taxpayers and conservationists. Although narrow, right of ways occupy substantial areas of land that are not otherwise developed. If managed with conservation in mind, these right of ways can be habitat for many insects including bee pollinators and Monarch Butterflies. Changes in mowing practices is one recommendation for providing more food plants and habitat for Monarchs.