Vegetation Management

Program Purpose

The primary goal of the Vegetation Control Road Crew Program is the establishment of stable roadside (the area beyond the road shoulder) grasses that resist encroachment by undesirable weeds and plants. Roadside grasses are effective tools for limiting erosion and improving the stormwater runoff. Other benefits include:

  • Preventing pavement breakup by invasive plants
  • Providing drainage from the pavement surface
  • Providing for removal of wind blown debris from the roadway
Vegetation Maintenance

The Four Criteria

There are four criteria used to determine if mowing is necessary:

First Priority

  • Sight lines to regulatory and warning signs
  • Stopping sight distance on mainline curves and road intersections

Second Priority

  • Ditch lines and shoulders to expose ditch slopes
  • Past history indicates a high fire potential
  • Roadway hardware such as guardrails and delineators
  • Sight lines to destination and guide signs

Third Priority

RCW 17.10 requires that measures be taken to control and prevent the spread of noxious and invasive weeds along the roadside.

Fourth Priority

Mowing and cutting for aesthetic enhancement of the roadside is the lowest priority. Although contributing to the scenic qualities of the roadside is important to the general public, it is not as important as providing safe roads for the traveling public.


Citizens of Bainbridge Island have consistently indicated that they do not wish the use of chemicals for vegetation control, the city has adopted an ordinance that only allows the use of mechanical mowing and cutting (Ordinance 96-27).

Public Works will apply mowing and cutting operations as the essential part of its vegetation management program to provide sustainable, safe, reliable, and pleasant roadways.

Please do not approach operating mowers. Mowing equipment and machinery are extremely dangerous and distracting the operator can cause accidents.


While the wildflowers do add to the beauty of the roadside, many other types of vegetation grow along with them. Scotch broom (an invasive weed) and trees, if let go, create channel root structures under the roadway. If these are left, water runs through these channels creating road and pavement failures.

Trees and other vegetation are an important part of the island's character. The city staff works with citizens to retain as much native vegetation as feasible without impinging on private property rights.

Removal of Dangerous Trees

Once identified, dead or leaning trees within the right-of-way that endanger the traveling public, the pavement, structures, or any other part of the roadway should be felled. Removing danger trees outside of the right-of-way (private property) is the responsibility of the property owner.

More Information

If you would like more information or have any questions regarding roadside vegetation please contact Operations and Maintenance.