Plants for Stormwater Design, Interactive Selection Tool for Stormwater Professionals and the Public

This project will fill a key need for an online resource allowing stormwater professionals to easily choose appropriate and successful native plant species and seed mixes for vegetated stormwater practices in different site conditions and state regions. We intend to update the Minnesota native plant search tool Blue Thumb Plant Finder to include all commercially available species of native plants in the state, as well as MnDOT seed mixes, add information contained in the Plants for Stormwater Design reference, and pull in other available and relevant data (drought tolerance, erosion susceptibility, etc.) where possible. Upon completion, the tool will be linked to vegetated stormwater practice information currently being updated in the Minnesota Stormwater Manual, a comprehensive and still-growing collection of background and design information about stormwater Best Management Practices for stormwater practitioners across the state.

The plant finder’s database will be structured so that it can be searched with a variety of filters and tags, so that practitioners can “describe” a site that needs planting, including adverse site conditions and special parameters, and be given a detailed list of plant species and/or seed mixes that are most likely to succeed on the site. Matching funds will be used to add search criteria and information so plant species can also be selected for multiple benefits in addition to stormwater benefits (e.g. climate resilience, pollinator habitat). The database will be constructed so that it can be easily further enhanced over time based on new research findings and other data.

Project outcomes

  • The compilation of available, relevant data for commercially available Minnesota native plant sand seed mixes into one comprehensive database.
  • The upload of that database into the Blue Thumb plant finder, along with new and updated search filters and queries, so that stormwater practitioners can input their site conditions and project demands, and receive a detailed list of native plants and/or seed mixes.
  • The sharing of the plant finder and database within the Minnesota Stormwater Manual, and through newsletters, presentations, and other outreach.
  • The wide-spread use of this tool, which improves project outcomes by making planning successful stormwater BMPs easier.