BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
LEE COUNTY – A joint venture to kick start a county roadside vegetation plan was approved by two county boards Tuesday.
Lee County Engineer Ben Hull spoke with the Lee County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning in Fort Madison, and then Lee County Conservation Director Nathan Unsworth spoke with the conservation board Tuesday afternoon.
The move is just an initial step in starting a program that would both control noxious weeds in county rights of way, as well as provide avenues to introduce more native Iowa vegetation in the county.
Hull told the board there would be no additional staff or resources required to get the ball rolling on the program, that was cut by the county due to budget restraints years ago.
“We won’t be asking for any manpower or dollars for this at this point, but going forward it’s something we would hope for,” Hull told Supervisors at the Newberry Center in Fort Madison.
“But putting this plan together allows us to apply for some state grants that could provide for equipment and seed and those kinds of things.”
Unsworth told his board that the there would be no change in how the department is operating now.
“Basically we’ll continue as is, but put it into a plan which will enable us to have benefits from the state,” Unsworth said.
One of the main goals for Ben and I would be to try and get an inventory done on the roadside just to see where we need the most work so we can scope better where we want to go with that.”
He said the conservation board’s involvement will be having a staff member go out and help tackle vegetation issues but nothing more in depth than that at this point.
Hull said there would be options under the plan for property owners to opt out of mowing or spraying on rights of way that are up against their property. He said those property owners who wish to opt out would have to take measures to make sure noxious weeds are kept under control or the county would have the authority to step in.
“They would have to hold up their end of the deal and we would hold up ours,” Hull said.