The Cerro Gordo County Conservation Board has a simple reminder as summer begins: Wait. Just wait a little while.
Todd Von Ehwegen, a conservation education manager, and Ryan Wilcke, a vegetation manager for the county, have both sent out reminders in recent weeks that Cerro Gordo County residents need to wait until at least July 15 to mow roadside ditches.
The reason? To protect young pheasants and other ground-nesting birds until they've reached flying age.
In a press release, Wilcke noted that Iowa Code 314.17, which allows for the fledgling protections, applies to county secondary roads as well as state primary and interstate highways.
Wilcke also clarified that non-essential mowing, such as cutting for hay, is prohibited.
"Iowa’s roadsides provide a valuable refuge for wildlife," Wilcke wrote. "The mowing law serves as a reminder to only mow shoulders during the critical nesting season and leave the rest of the roadside for the birds."
Jared McNett covers local government for the Globe Gazette. You can reach him at Jared.McNett@globegazette.com or by phone at 641-421-0527. Follow Jared on Twitter at @TwoHeadedBoy98.