Windbreaks have significant benefits

by Sara Berges,
Allamakee SWCD

The recent cold winds that have been blowing and snow that will soon be flying might get you thinking about the need for a windbreak. Windbreaks not only help to reduce wind speed, but can control snow drifting, provide wildlife habitat and create an aesthetic appeal. Reduced wind speeds can provide monetary benefits by reducing heating costs for homes or confinement buildings.

REAP cost-share is often available through the Soil and Water Conservation District office and will pay 75% cost-share up to $1,500. However, funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis, so you may not receive funds the same year you apply. Keep in mind that the maintenance length for cost-shared windbreaks is 20 years.

The windbreak needs to be designed to meet Natural Resource Conservation Services (NRCS) specifications.  At a minimum, it needs to have three rows, one of which must be an evergreen. The spacing between rows and within rows varies based on the species planted. A minimum 16-foot wide maintenance strip must be left from the outside row of trees or shrubs to adjacent property lines or contrasting land use areas.

If you are interested in signing up for cost-share for a windbreak or learning more about them, call 563-568-2246 or stop by the Allamakee SWCD/NRCS office at 635 Ninth Street NW in Waukon.


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