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The original item was published from 5/14/2014 4:55:25 PM to 1/2/2015 12:10:01 AM.

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Engineering & Secondary Road Department - Roadside

Posted on: May 14, 2014

[ARCHIVED] Linn County to use native grass and wildflower seeds to improve roadway safety

The Linn County Secondary Road Department has received native grass and native forb seed for roadway plantings that will help improve roadway safety and habitats.

Thanks to partnerships with the Federal Highway Administration Transportation Alternatives Program, the Iowa Department of Transportation Living Roadway Trust Fund, and the University of Northern Iowa Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program (IRVM), 11,000 pounds of native grass and wildflower seed was purchased and distributed to 33 counties in Iowa for roadway plantings in 2014. Linn County's share will plant 120 roadside acres with 35 native species.

Native right-of-way plantings filter and slow down water that runs off road surfaces, provide exceptional habitat for pollinators and songbirds, improve erosion control and weed control, and provide surface roughness to retain rolling and skipping snow during winter months, thereby reducing the possibilities of roadway icing along wider hard surfaced roadways. The IRVM program at UNI has helped facilitate this seed purchase for public road rights-of-way since 1998.

Landowners are reminded that roadside mowing of ditches before July 15 that is beyond 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling is prohibited in Iowa. This mowing restriction within public rights-of-way also helps with habitat and water retention issues. There are exceptions to the roadside mowing rule, such as mowing for safety, plant establishment and plant control.

For more information about native plantings in roadsides, visit or Linn County has been planting roadways with diverse native mixes since 1991.

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