Georgia DOT Complaints about Georgia Gardener Newsletter
Below is an exact copy of the email that was sent by the Georgia DOT to Walter Reeves on August 30. Keep in mind,
they did not send this email to me or even copy me. I have removed the name of the person that sent the email and the last
paragraph which was an unrelated note to Walter.
Design Tip Article of August 23, 2007 (Landscaping a Slope)
As any state agency, Georgia DOT appreciates healthy, professional exchanges that address organizational processes and procedures. As a public entity, we regularly engage and encourage public discussion in regards to numerous projects statewide to promote taxpayer stewardship. However, in the 8/23 issue of “The Georgia Gardener,” Georgia DOT landscaping tactics and strategies were attacked in an unprofessional manner by a colleague.
In the piece, Ms. Theresa Schrum is addressing plant growth on slopes in Georgia, a very helpful and informative topic. In the last portion of the article, she highlights “slope no-nos” listing various species that the author feels should be avoided. The article ends with the statement: /These plants are used by the "geniuses" at the Georgia Department of Transportation. (Sentence is verbatim from copy.)/
While we understand Ms. Schrum’s passion about the use of native plants, we feel that this less than professional approach impacts the integrity of the publication and the brand.
With that said, we’d also like to provide insight into our use of Weeping Love Grass and Lespedeza and the environmental regulations GDOT incurs. Georgia DOT is under strict mandate from EPA and EPD to quickly establish a cover crop as soon as possible to eliminate erosion. Usually, Lespedeza and Love Grass germinate in 2 weeks to 60 days depending on time of year. It is also very adaptive to the poor soil conditions typically found on DOT right of way.
These quick-growing stands of groundcover control silt runoff that can:
- Cause damage to private property in areas nearby transportation projects;
- Invade streams and creeks causing environmental damage; and,
- Impact drainage on interstates and compromise the safety of the traveling public.
Additionally, these two types of groundcovers are not listed as invasive in Georgia, as they are in states north of Georgia. We have not observed these groundcovers migrating onto private property from the right-of-way. However, Georgia DOT personnel are researching various alternatives. And, the options that we’ve discovered – Broomsedge and Blue Stem – have limited growth seasons which would result in minimal coverage during the majority of the year.
Furthermore, Ms. Schrum’s information on the ratio of slopes is inaccurate. According to our research (you can visit http://www.tpub.com/content/engine/14081/css/14081_430.htm), her slope degrees are not correct. It is correct to list horizontal distance of the slope before the vertical height in a ratio; Ms. Schrum’s column lists it as opposite.
Walter, we request that Ms. Schrum’s tactics be addressed in an effort to preserve the integrity of this highly-regarded E-newsletter. Additionally, we are happy to participate in a print interview for this publication on the challenges faced when planting materials along slopes. Such information would present a well-rounded perspective to your readers.
Thanks for your consideration.
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