Share this

UNI Roadside Program organizes Back to Our Roots Conference

August 6, 2014

Rebecca Kauten, IRVM program manager, UNI Tallgrass Prairie Center, 319-273-3856,

Lindsay Cunningham, Office of University Relations, 319-273-6728,

CEDAR FALLS, Iowa -- Iowa's 28th annual Roadside Vegetation Management Conference will take place Thursday and Friday, Sept. 11 and 12, at Upper Iowa University in Fayette. The conference is organized by the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management Program at the University of Northern Iowa and the Association for Integrated Roadside Management (AFIRM). It attracts county roadside managers, engineers, weed management experts and prairie enthusiasts from throughout the Midwest for training and networking with other professionals in the industry. A grant from the Iowa Living Roadway Trust Fund supports this annual event.

Nationwide, Iowa is a recognized leader in the use of native vegetation for roadside management along county rights of way. The UNI Roadside Program helps promote this effort through training, outreach and information geared toward the county roadside manager.

Keynote speakers for this event include hydrologist Jerald Fifield and Wayne Petersen, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. Fifield will present information on erosion and sediment control practices related to roadway design. Additional conference topics include roadside geology, soil health and the perception of Iowa's roadside management program from others out of state.

More than 100 people annually attend the conference, including a dozen commercial vendors in erosion and sediment control, stormwater management, vegetation management and native vegetation production industries.

AFRIM will elect new officers during the business meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 10. Officers for 2013 include: president, Denise Straw (Chickasaw County); vice president, Wes Gibbs (Jones County); secretary, Tyler Kelley (Story County); treasurer, Ben Hoskinson (Mahaska County); at large, Matt Purdy (Benton County); and Rose Danaher (Iowa County).

For more information on Iowa Roadside Vegetation Management in Iowa or on the 2014 Roadside Conference, contact Rebecca Kauten, IRVM program manager at UNI's Tallgrass Prairie Center, at 319-273-3856 or, or visit