MN-DOT’s public listening sessions continue this week in Mankato (Tues) and Morris (Wed), and next week (Mon 11/20) in Brainerd and Baxter on the controversial issue of mowing and haying in the state right-of-way along highways. State law currently allows it only in August, but the legislature put a moratorium on permit requirements and told MN-DOT to hold hearings and report back. The agency’s Kevin Gutknecht says, “The intent is to go and talk to the public, give ’em a little briefing on what it is that we’re doing, and then hear what they have to say — what would be best for them.”
Critics of ditch mowing say it hurts wildlife, including pollinators. But others say landowners have been doing it for generations and it’s a good way to control noxious weeds plus harvest some hay.
Gutknecht says people who can’t make it to the listening sessions can also submit comments on-line. He says, “Those comments that come in via the website are every bit as important to us as the comments we receive at the listening sessions.” Go to MN-DOT’s website and type “mowing and haying” into the search box.