Living Roadway Trust Fund

who we are

In 1988, the Iowa Legislature established the Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF) within Iowa Code 314.21. The Iowa Department of Transportation administers this fund, including an annual, competitive grant program that provides funding for integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) activities to eligible cities, counties, and applicants with statewide impact. In doing so, the Iowa DOT and its partners promote and educate the public about the need for an integrated approach to managing the vegetation along Iowa's roadsides. This approach ensures that roadside vegetation is preserved, planted, and maintained to be safe; visually interesting; ecologically integrated; and useful for many purposes.

Iowa roadside vegetation

The LRTF’s funding sources include the Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund (REAP), Road Use Tax Fund, and utility access fees.

Since 1990, the LRTF has funded more than $17 million for research and demonstration projects, vegetation inventories, education and training programs, gateway landscaping, snow and erosion control, and roadside enhancement and maintenance.

Today, many of the IRVM resource professionals in Iowa doing the work established within Iowa Code 314.21 also serve as their county’s weed commissioner and work closely with Iowa’s mowing and noxious weed laws.

what we do

Working through many partners in Iowa, the Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF) supports integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) programs and educates the public on the benefits, use, and care of native plants.

LRTF supports the accomplishment of these goals through:

  • Grants, which are administered by the Iowa Department of Transportation. This annual, competitive grant program provides funding for IRVM activities to cities, counties, and applicants with statewide impact.
  • Publications produced to inform the public about aspects of IRVM; geared for audiences ranging from youth to adults.
  • Research, which is sponsored to address questions about the best management practices of IRVM and develop new and innovative solutions to roadside issues. Through the years, the LRTF has supported the study of a wide variety of IRVM issues from roadside butterfly habitat to isozyme variation, and many others related to vegetation management. A request for research proposals is regularly announced. Investigator-initiated research is also considered for funding. Specific requirements for research proposals are included in the LRTF application instructions and funding guidelines, which are currently being revised.
  • Education programs are sponsored to develop high-quality publications and seminars to educate the public about the benefits of IRVM and provide training opportunities to professionals in the field.

To obtain information on any of LRTF’s past grant awards, please reference the online database of past projects and funding history.


Established within Iowa Code 314.22(3), the Living Roadway Trust Fund (LRTF) Technical Advisory Committee provides advice and recommendations on the LRTF program, its projects, and the development and implementation of the integrated roadside vegetation management (IRVM) plan.

  1. Applications for funding assistance.
  2. Research efforts.
  3. Demonstration projects.
  4. Education for property owners, public officials, and the public
  5. Activities of LRTF staff.
  6. Securing funding for research and demonstration projects.

Committee members (year joined committee)

Pauline Drobney (2017)
Prairie and Savanna Zone Biologist,
Neal Smith NWR,
Prairie City

Brenda Durbahn (2000)
Senior planner,
HgConsult, Inc.,

Larry Gullett (2016)
Johnson County Conservation Board,

Ben Hoskinson (2014)
Roadside vegetation manager,
Mahaska County IRVM,

Bill Johnson (2010)
Prairie resource biologist,
Department of Natural Resources,

Joe Kooiker (2001)
Roadside biologist,
Story County,

Inger Lamb (2018)
Urban Conservationist,
Iowa Dept. of Land Stewardship
Polk City

Paul Miller (2022)
Prairie Landscapes of Iowa LLC
Des Moines

Kristine Nemec (2018)
IRVM program manager,
Tallgrass Prairie Center, UNI
Cedar Falls

Shannon Ramsay (1993)
Founding president and CEO,
Trees Forever,

Daryl Smith (1990)
Tallgrass Prairie Center,
University of Northern Iowa,
Cedar Falls

Troy Weary (2022)
Regional Manager,
ITC Holdings Corp.
Des Moines


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