Thanks to partnerships with Iowa’s Living Roadway Trust Fund, the Transportation Enhancement program and the Iowa Department of Transportation, Linn County is one of 38 Iowa counties to receive native grass and native forb seed for roadway plantings that will improve roadway safety and habitats.
The Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program at the University of Northern Iowa applied for and was selected to receive $225,000 to purchase more than 15,000 pounds of seed, or enough to plant 1,000 acres. Linn County’s share is worth over $30,000 and will provide enough seed to plant 100 acres of rights-of-way with 35 different species.
Linn County Secondary Road staff will begin planting this spring and will continue through June. Native plantings will resume in November, with anticipated completion sometime before freeze in December 2012.
Native right-of-way plantings filter water that runs off road surfaces, provide 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.
This is the 15th year in a row that Linn County has received native seed through this program, and this is the first year that all of the purchased seed has been certified Iowa Source Identified class by the Iowa Crop Improvement Association.
For more information about native plantings in roadsides, go to www.iowalivingroadway.com and click on the IRVM tab. The link at the bottom of the page describes the planting program along Linn County’s Secondary Roads. For more information about transportation enhancement funding, visit www.enhancements.org.