County Officials

County board of supervisors

Board of supervisors members can better understand roadside management programs if the roadside manager provides quarterly reports and invites them on regular shop visits and tours. Engaging board of supervisors members in discussions aligned with their interests, such as spraying weeds and brush mulching, helps build a good relationship with the BOS.

For example, aggressively spraying noxious weeds during the peak months of June and July is one way to gain positive attention from board of supervisors officials. Demonstrating progress in problem areas through spraying and quantifying the work accomplished through acres treated shows the value of the roadside manager role. Showcasing individual projects and demonstrating equivalent effort in work compared to roads employees also helps garner support.

County roads department

Keeping engineers and secondary roads superintendents updated about planned actions contributes to coordination and alignment with road projects. Involving secondary roads employees in brush control activities that transition from manual to more effective methods establishes positive rapport with the roads department.

Offering training sessions on invasive plants, herbicide safety, and environmental concerns to secondary roads employees is beneficial.

Emphasizing the importance of maintaining good relationships and effective communication with coworkers, engineers, and road superintendents eases workflows and decision-making processes.

County conservation

Leveraging collaboration between departments, such as the Conservation Board and Public Works staff supports the transition toward an integrated approach in proposing ideas.

Reports about Iowa county official perspectives on roadside vegetation management

In 2016 and 2017 the TPC roadside program manager conducted LRTF-funded research with social scientists from the UNI Center for Behavioral Research on how county roadside managers, county engineers, county conservation board directors, and chairs of the boards of supervisors perceive roadside vegetation management. All Iowa county officials, regardless of if they had a roadside program or not, were surveyed.

Survey questions for roadside managers and engineers primarily focused on how respondents manage roadside vegetation. Example questions included the following:

  • What have been your primary challenges in the greater use of native species?
  • How often are your plantings typically mowed within one year of seeding? 
  • What weed prevention measures does your agency currently undertake in your county?

Survey questions for chairs of the board of supervisors and county conservation board directors included the following:

  • What factored into your county’s decision to hire a roadside manager?
  • How concerned are you about the possible effects of local prescribed burns?
  • How much impact do each of the following items have on your county’s decisions about roadside vegetation management?

Reports summarizing results from all of these surveys can be found on this webpage.