The concept of integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) has a relatively
long history in the state of Iowa; groundwork was underway as early as the mid-1970s
to establish one of the nations first IRVM programs. The goal of this program was
to provide an alternative to typical roadside management practices. These practices,
including the extensive use of mowing and herbicides, were often too costly to implement
on a regular basis, were frequently ineffective, and contributed to an increased
potential for groundwater contamination.
IRVM integrates the use of native vegetation with appropriate management techniques
to produce a cost-effective, environmentally sound management alternative for roadside
weed and erosion control. To achieve Iowa's IRVM objectives, the
State IRVM Plan
is implemented along state highways through the coordination of the Iowa Department
of Transportation. Additionally, many counties have adopted a county IRVM plan for
managing vegetation along their roadsides.
Fully-developed county IRVM programs employ a full-time roadside manager and are
coordinated at the state level by the
IRVM Program Office
located at the University of Northern Iowa and funded by the LRTF. Find out more
about IRVM in Iowa at their web site.
To date, more than 50,000 acres of state and county roadsides in Iowa have been
planted to prairie grasses and wildflowers. Many of these plantings have been
funded by the LRTF, and all help to achieve the objectives of integrated roadside
Learn more about the successful use of IRVM at the county level in Linn County's
"Enhancing Roadsides" flyer. (1.8MB)