Monarch Conservation Toolbox

Incentive Programs

Living Snow Fences

Minnesota Department of Transportation

Country
United States

Region
Minnesota

Land Use / Land Cover
Multiple Categories

Agency Type
State

Target or Affiliated Species or Habitat
Pollinators

Publication Type
Report, Website/web hub

Original Language
English

Years of Implementation
Ongoing

The Minnesota Department of Transportation makes local or state cost-share and incentive payments available to landowners interested in providing living snow fences to protect state highways from snow drift during winter (MnDOT 2016). Living snow fences are barriers provided by plantings of trees, shrubs, and native grasses that trap snow and function to prevent drifts from reaching roads. Establishing living snow fences has the potential to reduce road maintenance costs associated with snow removal and can improve driver visibility. In addition to planting native vegetation, agricultural landowners are encouraged through the program to leave standing corn rows on farms, to act as a windbreak by trapping drifting snow (UM 2016).

A secondary benefit of some living snow fence designs is the enhancement of wildlife habitat, including habitat for native pollinators. Guidance and site-specific advice is available from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to install living snow fence plantings to benefit native pollinators (MnDOT 2016). “Landowners receive an annual payment which represents a combination of payments from MnDOT, CRP and EQIP depending on each specific situation.

The annual payment is decided based on the FSA county land rental rate in the sign up year of the agreement. In 2011, the FSA published land rents per acre varied from a low of US$55 [per 0.4 hectare (1 acre)] in northern Minnesota to a high of US$215 [per 0.4 hectare (1 acre)] in southern Minnesota. In addition to the land rental rate, MnDOT provides a payment package to compensate landowners for storing snow and for the inconvenience of farming around the living snow fence or standing corn rows” (Wyatt 2012).

Amount of the Incentive
Annual rental payments are established during the sign up year of an agreement. Rates are based on FSA’s county land rental. MnDOT also compensates landowners in the form of a payment package.

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