Native grasslands may soon border Interstate-35 through Iowa and from Texas to Minnesota, perhaps even into Canada, as part of a project called Prairie Passage. The six states through which I-35 runs are working on a joint plan to plant and promote native grass and wildflowers all along the route.Mark Masteller is chief landscape architect for the Iowa Department of Transportation, which has had a native grasslands project running for more than a decade. This proposed multi-state collaboration would help beautify the corridor and Masteller says it would serve several goals.The native plants can out compete non-native plants, cutting back on weeds. They also produce good cover for wildlife, reduce glare from the sun for motorists, and create a natural snowfence. Masteller says the native Iowa grasses come in many varieties which grow to heights ranging from two to eight feet. The flowers would also come in an array of heights, colors and aromas.The states hope to use the beautified road as a tourism tool and will promote it through nationally-distributed brochures. I-35 runs through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Minnesota.
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