Illinois Roadside Mowing

100%IL

New member
Any thoughts about a roadside mowing law in Illinois similar to Iowa, SD, and Minnesota?

Current program is voluntary, but there still seems to be a lot of recreational mowers out there with too much time on their hands. Talk to everyone you know, IDNR will send free 'Roadside for Wildlife' sign of you call. Lots of habitat lost doing this.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
I didn't know about the sign deal. Thanks.:)

Roadsides/ditches around here seem to be delayed for the most part the last year or so. People have been seeing pheasants more too. Maybe that has something to do with it:confused:. Either way, it can't hurt.

Studies have shown a %25 increase in pheasant numbers when ditches are left alone.

The state now leaves roadsides until the end of July (state roads/highways). That's a plus.

Recreational mowing; Yep:eek:

Nick
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Along the lines of ditches/mowing; I got onto I-90 west (from route 47) yesterday. Noticed that they mowed the ditches along I-90. The ditches are nice and wide too.

Once I crossed into Wisconsin, I noticed they only mow a small section of their ditches--closest to the road. The rest is left alone (unmowed).

I wonder if this is something we can start doing here in Illinois? There's a lot of habitat alone I-90. Some nice ditches can connect those habitats. It may help bird numbers and other wildlife a bit.
Nick
 

100%IL

New member
I think its long overdue. Even IDOT did a study a few years back about the cost to mow vs spraying/health grass and it would just make you cringe.

Lots of habitat lost every spring to this, and I understand people want to keep invasives and weeds down but there are alternatives, not to mention the hit on water quality and pollinators that we lose by doing this.

Ive tried writing my representatives and gotten no where. Hopefully someone wises up in Springfield and stops this habitat loss.

I would propose a moritorium on mowing for 5 years to study wildlife and water quality, I think the results will speak for themselves...
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Yeah, this has been going on for some time. Back in the late 70's my dad tried working on this matter. Back then they told him they wanted to keep mowing the ditches so collage kids had work during the summer months. lol

Today that's not the issue but for some reason they still want to mow as much as possible:confused:.

Nick
 

100%IL

New member
A member of our PF chapter who is the county road supervisor made the same comment.

It starts with the state and township governments but really the biggest impact will be at the private land owners area. Some would rather spend money and time on equipment and mowing than a little upfront money to get some good seed and then let nature do its thing, worked for hundreds of years before we tilled it up.
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
It seems (here in McHenry C) that they've been leaving the ditches later into the summer. At least in the rural areas. Over the past couple of years I've seen an increase in clients telling me they've seen wild pheasants crossing roads. I wonder if leave the ditches alone (longer) has anything to do with this increase:confused:

Keep in mind too, it's gone from never hearing about wild pheasant sightings, to "some" sightings, so something positive is going on. This past spring, one gentleman watched 3 roosters fighting over a hen along route 173.

Nick
 

1pheas4

Super Moderator
Murph, that's goes for large yards in rural areas too. I can't believe some of the acreage people mow:confused:. I think some just enjoy cutting grass. lol

Nick
 

AtTheMurph

New member
Murph, that's goes for large yards in rural areas too. I can't believe some of the acreage people mow:confused:. I think some just enjoy cutting grass. lol

Nick
it's a waste of gas and wear and tear on the equipment.

I also wonder if the people who do the mowing have any idea the harm they do to wildlife?

Or maybe that's the point. They don't like critters.
 
The IL dnr will send you do not mow signs for your ditch. However the local county mow crew is not obligated to abet the sign. You may want to catch him and plead for him to obey your signs.
 
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