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HF 498

as introduced - 93rd Legislature (2023 - 2024) Posted on 02/15/2023 11:37am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Bill Text Versions

Engrossments
Introduction Posted on 01/17/2023

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to transportation; establishing a highways for habitat program; appropriating
money for roadside vegetation and living snow fence purposes; proposing coding
for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 160.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [160.2325] HIGHWAYS FOR HABITAT PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms have
the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Integrated roadside vegetation management" means an approach to right-of-way
maintenance that combines a variety of techniques with sound ecological principles to
establish and maintain safe, healthy, and functional roadsides. Integrated roadside vegetation
management includes but is not limited to judicious use of herbicides, spot mowing,
biological control, prescribed burning, mechanical tree and brush removal, erosion prevention
and treatment, and prevention and treatment of other right-of-way disturbances.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Program" means the highways for habitat program established in this section.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Program establishment. new text end

new text begin The commissioner must establish a highways for
habitat program to enhance roadsides with pollinator and other wildlife habitat and vegetative
buffers.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin General requirements. new text end

new text begin In implementing the program, the commissioner must:
new text end

new text begin (1) identify and prioritize highways for habitat installations under an integrated roadside
vegetation management plan with priority given to new construction and reconstruction;
new text end

new text begin (2) develop and erect signage, where appropriate, that identifies highways for habitat
projects and clearly marks the habitat and management restrictions;
new text end

new text begin (3) develop and require training for department personnel and contractors that apply
pesticides and manage vegetation on the use of integrated roadside vegetation management
and native plant identification;
new text end

new text begin (4) assess, in consultation with the commissioners of natural resources and agriculture,
the categorization and management of noxious weeds to reduce the use of mowing and
pesticides;
new text end

new text begin (5) maintain a website that includes information on program implementation, program
funding and expenditures, integrated roadside vegetation management, and related best
management practices; and
new text end

new text begin (6) identify funding sources and develop proposals for ongoing funding for the program.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Management standards. new text end

new text begin (a) The commissioner, in consultation with the
commissioner of natural resources and the Board of Water and Soil Resources, must develop
standards and best management practices for integrated roadside vegetation management
plans under the program.
new text end

new text begin (b) The standards and best management practices must include:
new text end

new text begin (1) guidance on seed and vegetation selection based on the Board of Water and Soil
Resources' native vegetation establishment and enhancement guidelines;
new text end

new text begin (2) requirements for roadside vegetation management protocols that avoid the use of
pollinator lethal insecticides as defined under section 18H.02, subdivision 28a;
new text end

new text begin (3) practices that are designed to avoid habitat destruction and protect nesting birds,
pollinators, and other wildlife; and
new text end

new text begin (4) identification of appropriate right-of-way tracts for wildflower and native habitat
establishment.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginAPPROPRIATION; HIGHWAYS FOR HABITAT.
new text end

new text begin $1,000,000 in fiscal year 2024 is appropriated from the general fund to the commissioner
of transportation for the highways for habitat program under Minnesota Statutes, section
160.2325. This is a onetime appropriation.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATIONS; LIVING SNOW FENCES.
new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, "living snow fence implementation" means acquiring,
building, planting, and improving living snow fences consisting of trees, shrubs, native
grasses, and wildflowers. Living snow fence implementation includes costs of acquiring
and planting trees and shrubs that are climate adaptive to Minnesota, contracts, easements,
rental agreements, and program delivery.
new text end

new text begin (b) $2,000,000 in fiscal year 2024 is appropriated from the general fund to the
commissioner of transportation for living snow fence implementation under the state road
construction budget activity. This is a onetime appropriation.
new text end

new text begin (c) $330,000 in fiscal year 2024 and $330,000 in fiscal year 2025 are appropriated from
the trunk highway fund to the commissioner of transportation for living snow fence
implementation under the operations and maintenance budget activity. The base for operations
and maintenance is increased by $330,000 annually.
new text end