Let's green the freeway

I've been idly pondering on local stream re-naturalization, but that requires an absurd amount of planning because there's no accepted process or guidelines for making those sorts of changes. Why not set aside the hard task for a moment and think about re-naturalizing an area for which there is an existing process, guideline, and procedure?

I've been wondering why the triangles of land that are bounded by the freeway, the on ramps, and the off ramps aren't more thoughtfully landscaped. Put some native plants in there and you have an instant green and native fauna oasis in the midst of our drought. (Planted this fall, it would be at most two years and you could probably discontinue all supplemental watering with the right selection of native plants.)

Of course Caltrans is in charge of those areas. But wouldn't it be an easy way to green up the environment? I know that the ones I frequently use are at best covered in ice plant and at worst are parched deserts with nothing growing.

Caltrans has wildflower and tree and shrub guidelines for their Adopt-a-Highway program that call out drought tolerant and native species. There are minimum requirements to receive an Adopt-A-Highway sign, but they are relaxed if you don't want a sign.

In other news, Long Beach City gets it: take out your lawn to save water.

...a three-pronged drought—the lowest rainfall since Southern California started measuring it in 1877, eight years of below-normal precipitation in Northern California and Colorado, and environmental regulations that reduce the Southland’s take of other imported water.

The solution is to replace front lawns—as well as the landscaping around government buildings and the center dividers of roads—with California native plants. They use much less water, replace habitat, reduce pollution, and remind everybody about what Southern California really looks like.

“We can’t tell people they can’t have a grass lawn—at least, we don’t want to be in that position,” says Lyons. “Instead, we want to encourage people to have what we call a Beautiful Long Beach Landscape....”

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