County looks at roads, bridge, prairie grass

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Buena Vista County Engineer Jon Ites reports that the asphalt project on C-29 and other late-season projects are underway.

He told county supervisors that potential buyers for the old Raccoon River bridge may have or will take a look at the bridge and to see how much it would cost to move it. Ites will present his annual report today at the supervisors meeting.

Kirk Henderson of The Integration Roadside Vegetation Management out of University of Northern Iowa presented to the board about his IRVM program.

The program promotes the usage of natural prairie vegetation with a mixture of grasses, wild flowers and other native species to the area's prairies. This in turn can help reduce massive spraying and use of herbicides.

The program is used in about 50 counties across the state and the focus is on secondary county roads. According to Henderson, the program receives about $600,000 a year and funds can be used to help share the cost of equipment for the county if they wish to participate. Also money is spent on seed that is split through interested counties. New training and techniques are made available to roadside managers for participating counties.

The board has not yet made a decision on whether it will participate.

Bob Christensen, Director of the Emergency Management Commission, came to the board to talk about the audit by Homeland Security and to request $15,000 for this year. Part of the money is to cover reimbursement that was formerly covered with grants. The grant dried up and hours are not being covered that Christensen has logged in the part time position. The issue was tabled for more discussion.

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