Winneshiek County Roadside Maintenance Agreement for No Spray in the ROW Request Program
Winneshiek County Secondary Roads Department has made a commitment to adhere to the principals of Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management (IRVM). The Roadside Management section follows a comprehensive plan that details 4 methods of enhancing desirable species of vegetation native or introduced in our right of ways (ROWs). The four methods of vegetation maintenance are Cultural, Mechanical, Biological, and Chemical; each technique can be used alone or in unison depending on the desired outcome treatment wanting to be achieved. Utmost consideration is always given to personal safety of road users, affects to the local environment / natural resources, prudent use of taxpayer’s funds and to adjoining property owners or agricultural lands.
Winneshiek County does follow Iowa Code chapter 317 (control noxious weeds on public and private property) and chapter 319 (county duty to remove obstacles in the ROWs) as an obligation to ensure public safety and noxious weeds that are on the state weed list. Noxious weeds are detrimental to the ecological health of our ROWs and can cause personal / economic stress to adjacent ag-lands or municipalities. Undesirable woody vegetation creates hazards to motorists due to visibility or striking concerns in ROWs as even the most competent drivers may have difficulties with obstructions under best road conditions.
Winneshiek County manages 1,064 miles of ROW which equates to over 11,040 acres of land that needs to be accounted for by state statutes, safety and environmental concerns. The necessity of a program that focuses on spot spraying noxious weeds or woody vegetation with herbicides is by far the most efficient manner in controlling undesirable species and allows for more time to work with sites of ecological value or prairie reestablishment. Our Roadside Management and county employees that conduct herbicide applications are certified by IDALS standards and follow the rigorous laws specified to ensure safety to environment and local citizens. This being stated we also recognize individuals concerns regarding spray drift, organic farming techniques, landscape ornamentals, apiaries / pollinators, athletic fields, orchards etc., we have the opportunity to partner with residents and landowners to designate No Spray locations within the county ROW.
The No Spray in the ROW program allows individuals or entities the opportunity to fulfill the permitting of no spray areas and sets up requirements for landowners / residents whom request not to allow the county to spray weeds and brush in the ROW adjacent to their lands. Though we are aware of information hubs in Iowa that list organic farms, orchards or apiaries and are diligently checked prior to spraying by our employees; it’s difficult to account for all information sources and we feel this program allows all individuals that want to participate in No Spray in the ROW program to be accounted for in Winneshiek County by this manner.
To participate in this program, landowners must request to place No Spray in the ROW signs from the County Engineers Office in the courthouse. Upon approval of the No Spray in the ROW request, the county will sell a pair of signs for a fee and must be installed at their property line where it abuts to county ROW. The property owner is required to supply the posts and install the signs at 5 feet above the ground level of the backslope of the ditch near the property line. Signs should be posted at the ROW line orientated 45 degrees to the property line so they are visible from the roadway. All permits will be approved by the Roadside Management staff, individuals who do not obtain a permit will not be eligible to participate in this program. Signs not conforming to the county standard will not be allowed or recognized as a no spray area.
By enrolling in this program, the landowner will agree to take responsibility for the destruction of weeds and brush within the no spray areas. If the landowner does not control weeds and brush within No Spray in the ROW areas, the county will send the landowner notice to destroy the brush/weeds with a stated 10 day period for destruction of the weeds. If the landowner fails to destroy the brush/weeds within the notice period, the county will destroy the weeds/woody vegetation by spraying or any other method that the county roadside manager deems efficient and recover the cost from the landowner. Locations of brush removal from ROW
- All brush and trees should be removed from the foreslope and ditch bottom
- All brush must be removed from the inside and outside corners
- All brush should be removed that blocks drivers vision
- All brush causing drifting or icing hazards
- All brush that may cause a vehicle to move out of appropriate travel lane
- All brush that maybe be struck from errant travel from roadway
- All brush which will exceed 4 inches in diameter at maturity on backslope
Species that should be removed: Boxelder, Chinese Elm, Cottonwood, Dogwood,
Eastern Red Cedar, Green Ash, Honeysuckle, Locust, Maple, Mulberry, Autumn Olive, Plum, Sumac, and Willow. This is not the definitive list of species that only should be removed but rather an example species that pose as a hazard or may colonize in ROW.
The county will annually do a press release about this program via the official county newspapers, Winneshiek County IRVM Website and local media sources. Please remember to contact Iowa One Call prior to installation of signs at Call 811 or 800-292-8989. For further information about the No Spray in the ROW program contact Corey Meyer, Winneshiek Co. Roadside Manager at 563-419-0356.