In order to protect what it calls a "valuable refuge for wildlife", i.e. vegetation alongside Iowa roads, the Linn County Conservation Board has a reminder for residents.

They note that existing law prohibits "mowing roadside vegetation in the rights-of-way or medians on any primary highway, interstate highway, or secondary road prior to July 15."

This law aims to protect roadside habitats for nesting game birds, songbirds, and other ground-nesting birds in the spring and early summer until they are ready to fledge. The law also protects habitats for pollinators and other beneficial insects, including crop-pest predators.

Exceptions for visibility and weed control are built into the law, but non-essential mowing—including cutting for hay—is prohibited.

Iowa Code 314.17 prohibits mowing of roadside vegetation through July 15, every year, except as follows:

  • Within 200 yards of an inhabited dwelling
  • On right-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 50 feet of a drainage tile or tile intake
  • For access to the mailbox or for other accessibility purposes
  • On right-of-way adjacent agricultural demonstration or research plots

To keep the birds of spring and summer and their habitat safe and singing, learn more here.

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