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More than 5,922 acres of Iowa land in 22 counties with an estimated value of more than $21.1 million was permanently protected through donations for conservation.
The donors associated with 25 donations of land or land value will be recognized during a ceremony on March 22, from 10:40 a.m. to 11:40 a.m., in the 1st floor rotunda, at the State Capitol, in Des Moines. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds is scheduled to attend.
Carl and Margie Boylan bequeathed a 1,243-acre century farm near Shenandoah along the Wabash Trace Nature Trail to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. A strong interest in soil conservation and wildlife preservation is evidenced by the habitat and conservation practices they applied to the land.
Joan Ghrist donated a conservation easement on 453 acres of mixed habitat near Truro to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Purchased over 30 years ago by Joan's husband, Dr. Tom Ghrist, the family enhanced their diamond-in-the-rough farm by creating excellent habitat for insects, birds, and mammals. The pasture, wetlands and timber that Joan and her family cherish will remain as open space, protected from subdivision and development.
Kathy Cosgrove Green donated a conservation easement on 19 acres of a diverse remnant black soil prairie in Cherokee County.This rare and irreplaceable piece of living history is part of her family’s historic farm within the Little Sioux Watershed.Kathy has worked with many conservation agencies and organizations to manage this natural treasure through targeted haying and grazing, as well as custom farming the rest of her acres.This donation will ensure that this special place will continue to be a destination for birds, butterflies, bees, and those who appreciate them for years to come.
Harvest Preserve Foundation, Inc. donated a conservation easement to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation on more than 100 acres of woodland and grassland within the city limits of Iowa City. Permanently protected from development, this property’s outdoor art provides space for quiet reflection and will remain a valuable urban green space for visitors in perpetuity.
The Hughes, Nelson, and Van Deusen Farm Partnership relinquished their life interest in 56 acres in Story County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. They had donated the remainder interest to INHF in 2016. The property's upland and riparian woodlands and restored prairie provides excellent pollinator habitat and water quality benefits to Ioway Creek.
The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation conveyed ten properties totaling 1840 acres of land to the State of Iowa at below market value prices. These land projects were located in eight counties and valued around $1.5 million of donated land value.
Richard "Dick" Jensen donated 32 acres to the Fayette County Conservation Board.Dick worked with several area groups and contractors to convert the abandoned railroad right-of-way to a public trail. The trail transects the beautiful Echo Valley State Park and travels nearly 2.5 miles.
Loretta Koenigsfeld donated a portion of the land value of 205 acres of riparian and upland habitat along the Wapsipinicon River near New Hampton to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This property provides water quality benefits and protects habitat for sandhill cranes, river otters, and potentially eastern massassauga rattlesnakes.
Maxwell Farms, Inc. donated a portion of the land value of 68 acres along the South Skunk River near Cambridge to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Lying entirely within the floodplain, this property holds tremendous potential for waterfowl, amphibian, and reptile habitat. Its protection and restoration will help with flood retention and improve water quality.
Brian and Erin Melloy donated a portion of the land value of 90 acres of woodland and restored prairie near Coralville Lake to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Stewarded with care for years, the property provides valuable wildlife habitat, water quality benefits, and recreational opportunities. This donation creates public land for future generations and help to reconnect the Iowa Tribe of Kansas and Nebraska with seven acres.
Pheasants Forever donated 40 acres in southwestern Worth County to the Iowa DNR. The near level tract is in the permanent Wetlands Reserve Program Easement (WRP). Beaver Creek forms a majority of the north boundary of the property. Access is provided along the south by Highway 9. This donation will provide public access to hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities and possible expansion of the oak savanna near the central region of the tract.
Doug and Rhonda Volz donated a trail easement on nearly a quarter mile of an extension of the High Trestle Trail between Woodward and Perry to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. This critical piece of trail corridor links the Raccoon River Valley Trail and the High Trestle Trail, two of Iowa’s most popular multi-use trails.
Scott and Sandra Wendel donated 113 acres of remnant Loess Hills prairie to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. The prairie ridges and slopes have been in the Wendel family for more than 100 years. Forever safe from development pressures, the property will serve as a seed source for future prairie restorations in the region.
Ann Werner donated 229 acres in Scott County to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, relinquishing her life interest in two estates. Her century farm in eastern Iowa emphasizes conservation and biodiversity. Ann has planted 70 acres of the farm to native habitat in the past five years. Plantings include a riparian corridor along the creek, and generous prairie strips along hillsides and fence lines. These conservation practices, along with others she’s implemented over the years, are reducing soil erosion, improving water quality, and providing wildlife habitat.
Ted and Pine Wilson sold 20 acres northeast of Decorah to the Iowa DNR at below market value price. The rectangular-shaped tract contains steep, heavily wooded ravines and two sections of South Pine Creek, a cold-water trout stream in the extreme NE corner. This donation will provide public access to hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities, and continued protection of a cold-water stream.
Clint and Sue Young donated a conservation easement on more than 170 acres of reconstructed and remnant prairie near Emmetsburg to Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. Their value of nature, wildlife, conservation and educational opportunities for youth led them to permanently protect their land as wildlife habitat and open space. The prairie will provide valuable habitat and positively impact Cylinder Creek, which bisects the property, as well as the Des Moines River watershed.