SCC's Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM) unit reminds Iowans to protect roadside habitat for nesting game birds and song birds this spring and early summer by holding off on roadside mowing until after July 15.
According to Iowa Code 314.17, mowing roadside ditches is restricted until July 15, to protect young pheasants and other ground-nesting birds until they are ready to fledge. The law, which applies to county secondary roads as well as state primary and interstate highways, also protects habitat for pollinators and other beneficial insects, including crop-pest predators.
For more information about Iowa's IRVM program, the Iowa roadside mowing law, and how it specifically relates to wildlife, we encourage you to check out this online brochure from the Tallgrass Prairie Center.
Non-essential mowing, including cutting for hay, is strictly prohibited. Exceptions for visibility and weed control are built into the law. Exceptions are stated below:
314.17 Mowing on interstates, primary highways, and secondary roads.
Mowing roadside vegetation on the rights-of-way or medians on any primary highway, interstate highway, or secondary road prior to July 15 is prohibited, except as follows:
- Within two hundred yards of an inhabited dwelling.
- On rights-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city.
- To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation.
- To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds, and invasive plant species.
- For visibility and safety reasons.
- Within rest areas, weigh stations, and wayside parks.
- Within fifty feet of a drainage tile or tile intake.
- For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes.
- On rights-of-way adjacent to agricultural demonstration or research plots.