Georgia DOT’s Prescribed Burns Help Pitcher Plant

A recent video posted by the Georgia Department of Transportation details how the agency is helping “rejuvenate” a rare species of vegetation commonly known as the “​Pitcher Plant” along State Route 177 on the way to Okefenokee Swamp Park by using “prescribed burns.”

[Above photo by Georgia DOT]

The closely monitored burn occurred in 2022 during the winter on roadside right-of-way and mimics nature’s own cycle of rejuvenation. It’s also the first time Georgia DOT has used a prescribed burn to manage vegetation in this way.

The agency noted that such prescribed burns are conducted under strict safety regulations and in partnership with the Georgia Forestry Commission and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

The Georgia DOT added in a blog post that the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in Sou​theast Georgia is a vast, mysterious wilderness of bogs, forests and swampy prairies, home to wild species that evoke fauna and flora of primeval times. Rare carnivorous plants like the Sarracenia, or “Pitcher Plant,” entrap insects and use digestive enzymes to dissolve prey.

[Editor’s note: A 2021 episode of the Environmental Technical Assistance Program or ETAP Podcast featured Matthew Quirey – a  landscape design and research fellow with The Ray – discussing how roadside landscapes, more often termed the “right-of-way,” are now being viewed as “habitat assets” instead of maintenance burdens among state departments of transportation.]

Okefenokee – a 438,000-acre wetland that is the largest blackwater wetland in North America – draws around 100,000 visitors from around the globe each year.

To reach its entrance, visitors must travel along a four-mile stretch of SR 177 that is becoming a Georgia DOT living laboratory for innovative vegetative management practices designed to protect plants in the environmentally sensitive area while simultaneously ensuring public safety.

The agency has been involved in a number of plant and pollinator support efforts in recent years.

For example, in 2021, Georgia DOT the Georgia Association of Conservation Districts or GACD installed 15 pollinator habitat sites in designated locations as part of a joint effort to educate state residents about the important role “pollinators” such as bees, butterflies, and other insects play in Georgia’s agricultural sector.

WSDOT Salutes 79-Year-Old Adopt A Highway Volunteer

The Washington Department of Transportation recently devoted a blog post to 79-year-old Paul Hampton, who has been cleaning up debris along state roadways as an Adopt-A-Highway volunteer for the last 27 years.

[Above photo by WSDOT]

Hampton originally decided to volunteer his time to pick up litter as part of the Adopt-A-Highway program in his community in 1996 – joining a volunteer litter cleanup crew organized by the Forks Elks Lodge.

Paul Hampton, second from left. Photo by WSDOT.

Hampton moved to Washington State from Florida in 1980 and began getting involved in his local Elks Lodge, attracted to the group’s vision for ongoing community service.

He soon learned about WSDOT’s Adopt-A-Highway program and decided the Forks Elks Lodge needed to adopt a local stretch of highway in town to help keep their little corner of the Evergreen State clean and welcoming to visitors.

“It started as a group of people picking up trash along US 101 in town,” Hampton explained. “Then the local hospital thought it was a good idea to adopt a small stretch too.”

The community soon rallied around the idea of being part of something bigger and committed to routine litter cleanups. Before Hampton knew it, he said people from all across the Olympic Peninsula recognized the value in picking up litter.

“A group of women decided to participate in the Adopt-A-Highway program, so we had a friendly competition going with them too,” he pointed out.

Why do all this? Hampton explained that it’s part of the creed he lives by as a retired Navy veteran and from working for the Washington State Department of Natural Resources – “help people and make the world a better place,” he said.

WSDOT noted that in 2022 alone, agency crews, partners, and volunteers collected 1,402 tons of trash along state highway rights of way – roughly 152,500 bags of litter.

As of July 20, 202023, WSDOT said that – again, along with its partners and volunteers – it has collected 1,800 tons of trash and expects to surpass the total amount of trash gathered in 2022.

Environmental News Highlights – August 2, 2023


Governors Discuss Infrastructure Issues at Annual Meeting -AASHTO Journal

Federal agencies plan to spend $770M ramping up their electric vehicle usage this year -Nextgov/FCW

Rural States, Groups Tell EPA of Emissions Proposal Concerns -Transport Topics

Americans prefer cars to walking, other transportation –NewsNation

Infrastructure remains a top priority for cities -Route Fifty

Transportation Engineer’s Solution to America’s Worst Bottleneck -Wall Street Journal (video)



Illinois DOT Staff Rally for Town’s Tornado Recovery Effort -AASHTO Journal

Huge amounts of hazardous materials pass through Midwest every day. How safe are residents? -Indianapolis Star

Purdue University Engineers Develop Pothole Detection Sensors -WWBL Radio

After East Palestine Derailment, Are Railroads Any Safer? -NPR’s Consider This

A New Class of Heavy-Duty Vehicle Goes Electric in Hawaii -Government Technology

Sensory Overload And The Case For Quieter Airports -Runway Girl Network (op-ed)



People are using Google Maps to cut down tailpipe pollution -The Verge

Sacramento Region Greenhouse Gas Reduction Pilot Program – Sacramento Area Council of Governments (media release)



Poor infrastructure in Houston’s Black neighborhoods has caused a disproportionate number of pedestrian crashes, new study says -Houston Public Media

Agencies propose 3 new wildlife bridges in northern Arizona to reduce accidents -KTVK/KPHO-TV

33 Years of the ADA – Connecting New Yorkers One Subway Station at a Time -Mass Transit (commentary)

Amtrak Invests $770 Million to Advance Accessibility Projects Across the Country – Amtrak (media release)



Mass. denies Pilgrim nuclear plant wastewater discharge plan -WBTS-TV

Illegal firewood collectors fined -New South Wales Government


Could historic preservation be a tool for environmental justice? Richmond to find out. -Greater Greater Washington


Lyft, the Largest Bikeshare Operator in North America, Wants Out of the Business –Vice

Granbury hopeful for grant to improve transportation, recreation -Hood County News

Old Railroad Infrastructure Removed as Work on Humboldt Bay Trail South Continues in California -Lost Coast Outpost

San Antonio grapples with alarming rate of pedestrian involved accidents -WOAI-TV

Miami Beach puzzles over how bikes and pedestrians can share a path -Miami Today

As e-bikes proliferate, so do deadly fires blamed on exploding lithium-ion batteries –AP



Assessing Air Pollution Dispersion Models for Emissions Regulation –NCHRP

Recycled Plastics in Infrastructure: Current Practices, Understanding, and Opportunities –TRB

TRB Webinar: Climate-Resilient, Low-Volume Road Design and Management –TRB

Using Traffic Signals to Decongest Cities May Be Simpler Than We Thought -National Institute for Congestion Reduction (webinar)



Notice of Intent To Prepare an Integrated Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement for the San Francisco Waterfront Coastal Flood Study, San Francisco County, California -Army Corps of Engineers (Notice)

Sunshine Act Meetings; Agency Holding the Meetings: Mississippi River Commission -Army Corps of Engineers (Notice)

Approval and Promulgation of Implementation Plans; Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan; San Francisco Bay Area -EPA (Proposed rule)

Federal ‘‘Good Neighbor Plan’’ for the 2015 Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards; Response to Judicial Stays of SIP Disapproval Action for Certain States -EPA (Interim final rule; request for comment)

Women of Trucking Advisory Board (WOTAB); Notice of Public Meeting -Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (Notice)

National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Regulations Revisions Phase 2 -Council on Environmental Quality (Notice of proposed rulemaking)

Preservation Technology and Training Board Notice of Public Meeting -National Park Service (Notice)

Public Meeting of the Glen Canyon Dam Adaptive Management Work Group -Bureau of Reclamation (Notice)