State Department of Transportation Maintenance workers in Goldendale, Washington were faced with a common challenge when restoring vegetation at the interchange between highways 14 and 97: low organic content in the soil and a lack of precipitation. Located in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the project area receives yearly average rainfall of only 8 to 12 inches. This produces a landscape of open bunch-grass
prairies dotted with sagebrush and rabbit brush containing the occasional juniper tree. During the summer months very little precipitation will ever reach the ground resulting in near desert like conditions. Even though the site was situated along the mighty Columbia River, water was in short supply. Any restoration efforts would be complicated by historic low levels of precipitation and compounded by the existing drought facing the region at the time of installation.