Tuesday, June 7, 2011
In recent years, Deb Miller, Secretary of Kansas Department of Transportation, made a bold move. She supported a plan to reduce mowing along Kansas highways. As you drive your highways this summer, notice which ones have strips of wildlife habitat remaining beyond the adjacent 15 feet or so of right-of-way. With over 150,000 miles of highways in the state, this translates into a whole lot of blooming wildflowers, impressive tall grasses allowed to their full height and seed heads, and significantly more wildlife habitat along some stretches of road otherwise barren of cover. Now is the time to see such progressive policies extended to county roads. Besides beautifying roadsides and providing wildlife habitat, this saves taxpayer money. Spot spraying for identified noxious weeds and mowing at intersections for traffic safety reasons certainly make sense. For the most part, the typical carpet bombing approach towards county roadsides does not make sense. Look at the picture of very beautiful plains sunflowers. It makes no sense to mow them down or spray them simply because of a handful of musk thistle or bindweed in the next mile of road.