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Snow Fences of New York State

  • Shrub-willow Rt14A Benton, NY

  • Shrub-willow I-81 Tully, NY

  • Shrub-willow I-81 Tully, NY

  • Shrub-willow I-81 Preble, NY

  • Shrub-willow Rt 30 Grand Gorge, NY

  • Blue spruce Rt 60 Pomfret, NY

  • Norway spruce Rt 167 Manheim, NY

  • Northern white cedar Rt 86 Gabriels, NY

  • Standing corn rows Rt 16 Sardinia, NY

  • Shrub-willow I-81 Tully, NY

  • Shrub-willow Rt 12 Paris, NY

  • Norway spruce Rt 167 Manheim, NY

  • Honeysuckle Rt 167 Manheim, NY

  • Norway spruce Rt 28 Columbia, NY

  • White fir I-88 Cobleskill, NY

  • Shrub-willow Rt 12 Paris, NY

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Living Snow Fences

The occurrence of blowing and drifting snow on roadways can increase the cost of highway maintenance and create hazardous driving conditions. Blowing and drifting snow problems occur when snow is lifted off the ground by the wind and transported across an open area towards a road. Local and state agencies in the United States spend over $2 billion annually on snow and ice control, and over $300 million annually in New York State alone. Living snow fences are a transportation best management practice for snow and ice control that can mitigate blowing snow problems, partially reduce the costs of highway maintenance, and improve highway safety. Living snow fences are agroforestry systems, similar to shelterbelts, that consist of densely planted rows of vegetation that perform the same function as structural snow fences such as wooden or orange plastic fences. Living snow fences disrupt wind patterns, creating turbulence and eddies around the fence, causing snow to be deposited in designated areas before it reaches the roadway.

Living snow fences can consist of any tree, shrub, or combination of species which meets the traits required for snow trapping including sufficient height, optical porosity (density), a ground level branching pattern, and sufficient growth rates. Shrub-willows are an ideal plant choice for living snow fences because of their rapid height growth, high branch density, and relatively low cost of installation compared to other vegetation types. Numerous living snow fences of various species have been installed over the past decade and longer by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT). The State University of New York - College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) has recently collaborated with NYSDOT through research project C-06-09, “Designing, Developing, and Implementing a Living Snow Fence Program for New York State”, to install additional living snow fences and conduct research on mature snow fences in the landscape. This web-page provides informational content and results of this project on living snow fences in New York State and beyond.

Fact Sheets

Cost-Benefit Model


Reports and Literature

Living Snow Fences Installations

Presentations

Links


SUNY-ESF
State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY-ESF |
1 Forestry Drive | Syracuse, NY 13210 | 315-470-6500
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