Tallgrass Prairie Center


Iowa Roadside Management

Native roadside vegetation


What is Iowa Roadside Management?

Iowa Roadside Management is an approach to right-of-way maintenance that combines a variety of management techniques with sound ecological principles to establish and maintain safe, healthy, functional roadsides. It includes judicious use of herbicides, spot mowing, prescribed burning, mechanical tree and brush removal and the prevention and treatment of erosion and other disturbances to the right-of-way. 

A long-term objective is to establish diverse stands of native plants in the right-of-way. These strong, weed-resistant plant communities adapt to all roadside conditions and provide a variety of services: enhancing rainfall infiltration; slowing runoff; trapping sediment; reducing erosion and creating habitat for pollinators, nesting birds and other wildlife.


Iowa Roadside Management's objectives were first outlined in Iowa Code 314.21 and 314.22. This 1988 legislation created funding for the IRVM Program Office at the University of Northern Iowa through the establishment of the Living Roadway Trust Fund.

IRVM Roadside

Iowa Roadside Management at UNI

The statewide coordinator at UNI provides outreach assistance and education to Iowa’s county roadside programs that use the principles of integrated roadside vegetation management.In addition to providing a variety of resources to Iowa’s county roadside programs. UNI's statewide coordinator also provides guidance and support to Iowa counties establishing new roadside programs, and strengthens Iowa Roadside Management through statewide through partnerships with the Iowa Department of Transportation and other agencies.