Conservation

For the Birds 20 Years out of Range

Conservation
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2013 2012 2011

  1. Crawford County Landfill Reclamation Project -$25,000 Grand Prize Winner -

    Historically tall grass prairie covered 70-80% of Iowa’s landscape with such species as big bluestem, butterfly milkweed, prairie cord grass, and pale purple coneflower. This tall grass prairie created ideal habitat for Iowa’s wildlife. Today, only small protected remnants of the tall grass prairie remain equal to less than 1/10 of 1% of Iowa’s land area.

    Iowa land in public ownership is very limited. Public areas can only serve as islands of wildlife habitat in a landscape dominated by row crops and urban sprawl. As a result, fulfilling the habitat needs of the state's diverse wildlife species requires natural resources and wildlife habitat to be reestablished. The Crawford County Conservation Board operates and maintains 22 individual parks, wildlife areas, public hunting areas and a historical site covering 1,115 acres. This is approximately 0.2% of the total acres in the county. The proposed project would add an additional 13% to this public land area that is available for hunting, bird watching, conservation education and public enjoyment.

    The target species of this project is the ring-neck Pheasant, the most important game bird in Iowa. Pheasants are found on farmlands throughout Iowa and Crawford County. Pheasants are most numerous on lands that have a good mixture of row crops, small grains, hay, idle grassland, and wetlands. Pheasant populations peaked in the 1940s with numbers estimated as high 500 birds per square mile. This population has declined to less than 15 birds per square mile over much of Iowa since 1970. The lack of safe nesting habitat is the primary reason for the decline. Safe nesting habitat is disappearing because present agricultural policy favors increased acreage in row crops at the expense of small grains, hay land, idle grassland and pasture. The proposed project will add 145 acres of quality nesting habitat for pheasants, small game animals, deer, turkeys and waterfowl.

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  2. Habitat for Homecroft – $5,000 Runner-Up Winner -

    The major conservation need addressed with this project is providing youth with the opportunity to learn outdoors and develop an appreciation for nature. "Humans do not value what they do not understand and have not built an attachment to", so this project strives to provide hands on conservation education to our youth. It is the goal of this project that these youth will carry the torch of wildlife conservation in to the future as they become our community leaders.

    Secondarily, this project will re-establish natural and functional habitat for native flora and fauna with the addition of a new wetland. Currently, the land is overgrown and virtually unusable by wildlife. The reestablished habitat will provide both food and cover for native species, allowing the school children to observe animals in their most natural environment while teaching the value of conserved lands and wildlife.

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