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The original item was published from 6/25/2013 2:06:19 PM to 7/16/2013 12:05:01 AM.

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Posted on: June 25, 2013

[ARCHIVED] Iowa Roadside Mowing Restrictions Reminder

Residents, landowners, and maintenance crews are reminded of Iowa’s roadside mowing law. The restrictions, which prohibit the mowing of roadside ditches prior to July 15, are designed to protect birds nesting within the rights-of-way of state and county roads.

The roadside mowing law, which was passed in 2010, expanded to include county roads; protecting an additional 500,000 acres of vegetated right-of-way statewide and changed the mowing restriction date from July 1 to July 15, providing an additional two weeks of development for young birds.

Story County Conservation Vegetation Management Biologist Joseph Kooiker says that good nesting habitat is crucial for pheasants and other song birds. “Improving nesting success is a primary factor in improving bird numbers and the reduction of non-essential mowing can have a significant impact,” Kooiker said. Kooiker said the law serves as a reminder to only mow the shoulder and leave the rest for the birds.

There are a few exceptions built into the law to allow for maintaining sightlines and for controlling weeds. Cutting for hay is not among the exceptions. The law reads as follows:

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:
1. Within two hundred yards of an inhabited dwelling.
2. On rights-of-way within one mile of the corporate limits of a city.
3. To promote native species of vegetation or other long-lived and adaptable vegetation.
4. To establish control of damaging insect populations, noxious weeds, and invasive plant species.
5. For visibility and safety reasons.
6. Within rest areas, weigh stations, and wayside parks.
7. Within fifty feet of a drainage tile or tile intake.
8. For access to a mailbox or for other accessibility purposes.
9. On rights-of-way adjacent to agricultural demonstration or research plots.

For more information, contact SCC Vegetation Management Biologist Joseph Kooiker at 515-382-7355 or email

Story County Conservation manages more than 3,500 acres of parks and natural areas, including lakes, campgrounds, and trails. The environmental education staff serves Story County schools and the public with interpretive and informational programs for all ages. Story County Conservation's volunteer program provides volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups interested in making a difference in local natural resources. No individual will be excluded from events conducted by Story County Conservation because of a disability or impairment. To request accommodations to participate, contact Story County Conservation.

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Joseph Kooiker
Story County Conservation
Phone 515-382-7355
FAX 515-382-7369

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