I.R.V.M. ( Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management) was introduced to Mahaska County to attempt to better manage the roadsides of the 968 center-line miles of road that we have in this county. This easily equates into 1,936 miles of roadside or about 4,000 acres of land held within the distance between the fence and the shoulder of the roads. Of the 968 miles of road, 842 are gravel and 126 are hard surfaced. I.R.V.M. has been around statewide since the mid-1980’s. To date, 72 of Iowa’s 99 counties are on board with some sort of program using integrated management techniques. More counties join every year.
I.R.V.M. was started when a few roadside managers were realizing that spraying herbicide was not the golden solution that people thought it would be. Improper application techniques coupled with poor plant identification led to blanket spraying that actually made roadside vegetation weaker and prime for weed and brush invasion.
I.R.V.M. moved away from blanket spraying and switched to spot spraying herbicides. It also used a combination of mowing, controlled burning and roadside seeding establishment to remove and keep noxious weeds out of, and from invading our roadsides.
I.R.V.M. also sought to educate the public of integrated management methods and common sense reasoning. The use of hearty and tough native vegetation in roadside seeding jobs was also a strong keystone for the success of this program statewide.