April 2018 Membership Meeting

Date/Time
Thu, Apr 12 , 2018
6:45 pm - 8:30 pm

Location
Fairview Community Center
1910 W. County Road B,
Roseville, MN 55113

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“Roads to Conservation”

with Beth Brown and Christopher E. Smith of MnDOT Office of Environmental Stewardship

April 2018 Membership Meeting

Did you know the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has an Office of Environmental Stewardship? Their job is to conserve and protect the natural resources surrounding our state’s transportation infrastructure. Brown and Smith both work in the Environmental Assessment Unit of the Stewardship Office. Their presentation will provide an overview of the MnDOT stewardship program and highlight some of the work being carried out by staff to protect plants, fish, and other wildlife in Minnesota and beyond. There are nearly 12,000 miles of state and U.S. highways in MN that are the responsibility of MnDOT, all of which have roadsides and bridges. Roadsides provide habitat for grassland birds and many insects, including bees and butterflies. One of these is the Rusty Patch Bumblebee, a federal endangered species. The stewardship office is also responsible for the Cliff Swallows that nest, and the Brown Bats that roost, beneath the bridges. Bank Swallows sometimes use the materials piles and there are mussels in some waterways. There are 29 species of state-listed mussels in Minnesota.

Chris Smith has a strong interest in amphibian, reptile, and insect conservation and research, and has published a number of papers and reports. He has degrees in wildlife management and conservation biology. He is also on the Board of The Center for North American Herpetology, and is co-creator and Director of Public Affairs for HerpMapper.org – a nonprofit citizen science organization. At MnDot he works with both state and federally protected species that use highway roadsides.

Beth Brown supports the department’s wildlife, plant, and wetland conservation programs. She also coordinates the mussel program. Prior to joining MnDOT, she administered wetland and water regulations at Minnehaha Creek Watershed District and performed field ecology surveys with consulting, government, and academic organizations. She has degrees in environmental science and biology and is currently serving her third year on the Board for the Minnesota Wetland Professionals Association.