b'Planning continues to curtail invasive plants along state roads and highwaysBy JEFF DEZORTTo prevent invasive plants from takingLands in Benton, Conway, Crawford, Franklin, over roadways in the Big Piney, Pleasant HillJohnson, Madison, Newton, Pope, Searcy, Van and Boston Mountain ranger districts of theBuren and Washington counties.Oark-St. Francis National Forests, a strat- According to the environmental assessment egy was proposed in 2018 to combat them.and the finding of no significant impact, the Full implementation of the project has beenproject area has approximately 158 miles of retarded due to a variety of constraints placedstate highways, 591 miles of county roads, on the agencies during the ongoing COVID- 520 miles of designated trails, 3,333 acres of 19 pandemic. administration sites and 4,598 miles of Forest The Non-Native Plant Species andService and private roads used to access the Roadside Vegetation Management Controlarea for a variety of purposes ranging from Project calls for using herbicides to controlforest management to recreational uses.vegetation for maintenance in and aroundIn addition, there are 1,168 miles of utility infrastructure improvements such as roads,corridors providing various amenities ranging trails, guard rails and signs. Herbicides willfrom natural gas to electricity.also be used to treat non-native invasive plantARDOT is working with the US Forest species as they appear across the three rangerService, but face to face meetings between districts. personnel on an implementation plan has not Kayti Ewing, Arkansas Department ofbeen able to happen during the pandemic, Transportation (ARDOT) botanist said theEwing said.project activities are located on National ForestThe vegetation contained within theFine Jewelry & Watches Custom Design Appraisals In-Store Jewelry Repair No Time Limit Layawaywww.DeyGemJewelry.com115 W. Industrial Park Rd. #5607131bHarrison, AR870-741-815040| Ozarks Magazine | Spring 2021 www.OzarksMag.com'