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Iowa Outdoors News Packet

Conservation news about fish, wildlife, parks and forestry and other related topics including the Natural Resource Commission (NRC) agenda and minutes. Iowa Outdoors news is published every Tuesday and will posted on our website as both news releases as well as below for archival purposes.
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These are the most recent stories published within the Iowa Outdoors news packet:

Alliant Energy to Sponsor Eight Operation Releaf Events
Posted: 08/26/2014

A popular program offering landscape quality trees at a deep discount to Alliant Energy customers will be held at eight locations across Iowa this fall.

Alliant Energy’s Operation ReLeaf is a program to help Alliant Energy customers save energy in their homes using trees to provide shade during the summer and create wind breaks during the winter. For maximum energy efficiency, shade trees should be planted within 30 feet of the east and west and evergreens should be planted as a windbreak on the north and west of the home.

Through the program, Alliant Energy residential customers may purchase high quality landscaping trees for $25 each, on a first-come, first-served basis. These trees typically retail for between $65 and $125.

“Planting a diverse mix of trees on your property and in your neighborhood will reduce the likelihood of losing a large number of trees to forest health threats,” said Paul Tauke, state forester and chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Forestry Bureau.

Tauke said they are encouraging homeowners who do not intend to treat for emerald ash borer to plant a replacement tree within 30 feet of the existing ash tree.

Foresters have been working communities across the state to develop management plans from public tree inventories which will guide future tree planting efforts to establish a healthy mix of tree species.

Operation ReLeaf has 35 species of trees from which they select 8 to 10 species for each event based on the local tree inventory that will include shade trees, ornamentals and conifers. Shade trees are 6 to 8 feet tall in 5 to 10 gallon containers and conifers are 2 to 3 feet tall.

Just a few of the advantages of yard trees are:

• Decrease in household heating and cooling costs
• Increase in  property values
• Decrease in storm water runoff, which may reduce flooding events
• Beauty and personal enjoyment

"All trees are purchased through a bidding process to promote local nurseries,” said Tauke.  “This is a great way for homeowners to get a quality tree at an affordable price.”
Advanced order is highly recommended and advance purchase is limited to two trees per household.  In the event there are extra trees available on distribution day, those trees will be released for purchase at that time. Order forms are available online at

Workshops lead by experts discussing tree planting and care will be held at all tree distributions.  Workshops will cover root flare and proper planting depth, correcting encircling roots, proper mulching and watering, corrective pruning to reduce future storm damage, planning around buildings for energy efficiency and emerald ash borer.

peration ReLeaf, is administered by the Iowa DNR’s Forestry Bureau with assistance from local partners, like county conservation boards, municipalities and county extension offices.

Operation ReLeaf participants must be Alliant Energy residential customers. 

Operation ReLeaf Events
September 20, 7:30 to 9 a.m.
Marion, Linn County
Squaw Creek Park, 4305 Squaw Lane, Marion
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 8:15 a.m.
Partner: Linn County Conservation

September 24, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Chariton, Lucas County
Pin Oak Lodge, one mile south of Chariton on Hwy. 14, 45996 State Hwy 14
Partner: Lucas County Conservation

September 25, 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Anamosa, Jones County
USDA Office, 300 Chamber Drive, Anamosa
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 5:45 p.m.
Partner: Jones County Soil and Water Conservation District

September 27, 8 to 10 a.m.
Storm Lake, Buena Vista County
AWAYSIS Park (aka Sunrise Park), East Lake Shore Drive, Storm Lake
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 9 a.m.
Partner: City of Storm Lake

October 2, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Fairfield, Jefferson County
Jefferson County Fairgrounds, 2606 West Burlington Ave., Fairfield
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 5:30 p.m.
Partner: Jefferson County Extension

October 4, 9 to 11 a.m.
Donnellson, Lee County
Lee County Fairgrounds, north of Donnellson on Main Street, Donnellson
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 10 a.m.
Partner: Lee County Extension

October 11, 8:30 to 10 a.m.
Cresco, Howard County
Vernon Springs County Park, 11562 Valley Ave., Cresco
Partner: Howard County Conservation Board

October 16, 4:30 to 6 p.m.
Ames, Story County
Peterson Park East, 55756 180th Street, Ames
Tree Planting and Care Workshop: 5:15 p.m.
Partner: Story County Conservation

For more information, contact Laura Wagner with the Iowa DNR at 515-281-6749 or