Grant Wood Mississippi River Region Parks to People Initiative Update:
Work continues on the Grant Wood Mississippi River Region Parks to People Initiative. For
the past year a large group of stakeholders from Jones, Jackson and
Dubuque Counties have been working together to develop a regional plan. This plan strives to enhance the quality and accessibility of our parks, trails and natural resources. It
is amazing how well these stakeholders are working cooperatively to
make our region a welcoming, enjoyable place for people to live, work
During this planning process many projects have floated to the top as possible high quality components of the regional plan. Two of these potential projects are in Jones County. One is aptly titled “Maquoketa on the Move.”
The Maquoketa River is a major river system connecting all three counties in our region to form a massive water trail. Water trails have been growing rapidly in popularity across the state. Two aspects in need of addressing are the accessibility of water trails and the removal of barriers. In
recent years some accesses in the county have been greatly improved to
allow recreational users to move to and from the water while insuring
the scenic beauty and flood plain integrity remain intact. As the recreational use of rivers continue to grow it will be important to maintain and add high quality accesses. These accesses will allow users to experience new river adventures and spread the use over hundreds of miles.
Removing barriers is another major step in improving recreational use of the Maquoketa River. In
particular, within the lower main stem of the river exists two large
dams that impede recreational paddle craft and boat use, disconnect
ecological aspects of the river, and are drowning machines for those who
draw too near. One of these, the Mon-Maq dam, is located in northern Jones County.
is underway to remove or modify the dam to eliminate the safety hazard,
improve recreational passage, and restore ecological qualities of the
river. This project will have far reaching benefits well beyond the dam site itself. Recreational users will have more naturally flowing water on which to safely enjoy a family outing. There
will no longer be a need to watch for warning signs of the impeding dam
or portage equipment and craft around the dam site. In addition, access sites will be greatly improved to make utilization of the river easier. Both recreational users and wild river inhabitants will have unobstructed use of a much larger section of the river. This will open up the recolonization of many fish and other aquatic species that have been lost above the dam. This
will not only improve fish diversity throughout the river system but
also the fishing diversity as more fishing holes will have the quality
fish anglers’ desire.
access to the river at the removed or modified Mon-Maq Dam site will
undoubtedly change during and after project completion there will be a
need to retrofit the existing access to maintain use and site quality. Slightly
downriver an additional 99 acre portion of land along the Maquoketa
River will be obtained to stabilize and protect 1 mile of river bank and
flood plain that is currently planted to row crops, add to a nearly
10.5 mile long wildlife corridor, and provide additional public access
to the river for fishing, paddling, and hiking.
of these “wild” components of the project are tied to an adjacent
community by the development of a downtown pocket park in Monticello. This park, just like the river’s water, adjacent land and accesses, will draw the public in to relax and recreate.
The second potential project in Jones County is “Crossing the Wapsi.”
The Hale Bridge is a historic landmark in Jones County. Constructed in 1879 over theWapsipinicon
River to connect the Northern and Southern halves of Hale Township, the
Hale Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in
1998. Once no longer deemed worthy of vehicular traffic,
the Jones County Historic Preservation Commission took the lead in its
preservation and relocation to its current location within Wapsipinicon
State Park. In March of 2006, the bridge was moved by Iowa National Guard Chinook helicopters. The relocation event was featured on the History Channel’s Mega Movers program. It
now provides an eastern connection from Wapsipinicon State Park to Shaw
Road just east of Anamosa. Relocating the bridge was a challenge
requiring extensive fundraising and work through volunteer efforts.
the most difficult work done, the proposed Hale Bridge area
improvements would help to complete the picture of the area as a
destination for visitors and residents alike. Connecting
the bridge and park to the city of Anamosa via a one mile trail along
Shaw Road will improve pedestrian and vehicle safety, while providing a
recreational loop through the park and city. With the large number of people utilizing the Hale
Bridge, trail and park, an additional open air shelter and bathroom
near the bridge will further increase the appeal of the area. These improvements will give people a way to immerse themselves in nature and connect to the history of the community.
Annual Fall Colors Paddle 2015
North Fork Paddle - October 10, 2015
North Fork Wildlands Acquisition
The Jones County Conservation Board (JCCB) recently was awarded a $198,000 REAP Grant to acquire the “North Fork Wildlands”, previously held by the estate of landowner Arnold Bruggeman . This special property is located along the North Fork of the Maquoketa River known as the longest stretch of river without a road crossing in the state—a total of 18 miles.
The area is wild—“as wild as it gets in Iowa,” observed district forester Steve Swinconos. “I would rate it high as one of those special places, due to the scenic and habitat value.” The approximately 72 acres of woodland are of mixed-age and species diversity, with a wide array of native hardwoods and important mast producing trees. In addition, over half a mile of the North Fork of the Maquoketa runs through the property.
The North Fork Wildlands is located near the southern border of Northeast Iowa’s karst topography region and therefore has many features associated with the karst, such as caves and rock formations. The land along the river is characterized by the steep limestone bluffs that are unique to the area.
The high bluffs offer spectacular views of the North Fork River Valley, and as IDNR Wildlife Biologist Curt Kemmerer noted, “The aesthetic value of the area is overwhelming.” Indeed, the river’s scenic beauty—along with the remote nature of the passage—makes it a top wilderness-paddling destination.
The property will be a significant resource for the paddling community, as well as those interested in hunting, bird watching, wildlife observation, and photography. It is, as Kemmerer described, “an area with something for everyone—outdoor enthusiasts as well as hunters and paddlers.”
The Jones County Conservation Board worked closely with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation (INHF) to make this acquisition a success. Recognizing the high quality of the area, four local chapters of Whitetails Unlimited, (Wapsi Bottoms,Maquoketa River, Clinton, and Dubuque)in addition to the national chapter, donated a total of $35,000 to the project.
Proposed rules and regulations - Please contact the Jones
County Conservation Board Director, Brad Mormann, at (319)481-9004 to
make a comment or for questions.
Proposed Rules and Regulations
Nature Center Native Landscape Project Update
During spring and summer 2015 work on the Native Landscaping Project in front of theNature Center was in full swing. The project included improved drainage away from theNature Center with a new sidewalk trench drain, dry glacial stone waterway, and rain garden to help alleviate water entering thebasement of the Nature Center during intense rainfall events.
A stone path with seating areas leads around and through the newly planted native pollinator and butterfly gardens. Future signage will depict the native plants in the gardens and thepollinators and butterflies they attract.
In addition the native garden is part of the Blank Park Zoos new “Plant Grow Fly”program as a registered site. Brochures highlighting this new program and how you can participate and have your garden registered are located inside the Nature Center or can be found at the zoos website at http://www.plantgrowfly.com.
We would like to thank the Nellie Stegge Trust andthe Lubben family of Monticello forsupporting this project.
2015 Jones County Nature Photography Contest Winners Announced:
2015 Photo Contest Winning Photos
Winners from the 2015 Jones County Nature Photography Contest are as follows:
“Plants in Nature”: 1st Place – Heather Weers, Center Junction; 2nd Place – Sheila Rae Ferrell, Anamosa; 3rd Place – Caralyn Manternach, Anamosa.
“Scenic Jones County”: 1st Place - Dick Stout, Anamosa; 2nd Place – Dick Stout, Anamosa; 3rd Place – Angie Cashner, Monticello.
“Animals in Nature”: 1st Place – Dick Stout, Anamosa; 2nd Place – Sheila Rae Ferrell, Anamosa; 3rd Place – Heather Weers, Center Junction.
“People in Nature”: 1st Place: Dick Stout, Anamosa; 2nd Place – Molly Brady, Center Junction.
Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the 2015 Jones County Nature Photography Contest! Keep taking those great outdoor photos.
Central Park Lake Renovation Project Update - Fall 2015
Central Park’s Lake Restoration work was in full swing again this summer as the tell-tale sounds of squeaking, beeping and clanking dozers and back hoes drifted through the park. This equipment was diligently working to build a w
etland on the southern portion and a pond on the western portion of the park, known as the Pearson addition.
of both structures required the total movement of over 29,000 cubic
yards of soil, equivalent to 2,030 dump truck loads. Although building these structures took a lot of work their benefits are tremendous. Not
only are they holding back hundreds of tons of sediment and hundreds of
pounds of phosphorus from entering the main lake each year, they will
be important habitat for a variety of fish and wildlife species.
over two feet of sediment removed from the west pond’s basin and the
dam structure in place, fishing jetties are being installed. Fishing jetties are earthen mounds of soil piled perpendicular to the pond’s shoreline. The
intent is to have them jut out into the pond to reach past shallow
water and vegetation along the shoreline to improve fishing access.
They also increase shoreline diversity and length within the pond adding habitat for fish and other pond wildlife.
In addition, fish habitat will be placed in the pond basin, some of which will serve multiple purposes. First, rock will be placed around the jetties to stabilize the soil in the jetties and provide structure for fish and macro-invertebrates on which they feed. Trees removed from the south wetland and the area around the west pond’s dam construction site will also be placed in the basin. Trees also provide important habitat for the critters fish eat and provide nooks and crannies for small fish to avoid predators. With a concentration of smaller fish, such as bluegill, predatory fish, such as largemouth bass, are sure to be lurking nearby.
A couple more habitat components will include catfish hotels and pallet structures. Catfish hotels are made from placing 4 culverts in a “+” pattern while leaving a gap in the center. The gap in the center is filled with rock which closes off the ends of the four culverts. With the ends closed female catfish utilize the culverts to lay eggs and guard them from predators. The rock also adds additional habitat. Pallet structures mimic trees by providing a variety of habitat for panfish and others to congregate. Fishing near any of these structures can improve fishing success and enjoyment.
None of this would be possible without great state and local partners. The partnership began with George and Rose Pearson agreeing to sell their land to the Conservation Board. Our local Natural Resources Conservation Service office and regional engineering office have been essential in developing engineering plans, marking onsite structures, and assisting with construction observation. Funding has come from several partners including our local Twin River’s Pheasants Forever Chapter, the DNR Fish Habitat Program, the DNR Lake Restoration Fund, and the Iowa Watershed Improvement Fund administered by the Iowa Watershed Improvement Review Board with support from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Division of Soil Conservation.
Renovation Project Background: Central Park Lake has lost about 1/3 of its storage capacity during the last 47 years due to sedimentation. Most of the sediments washed into the lake during the first 15 years after it was constructed.Nutrients, such as phosphorus, also washed into the lake attached to the soil particles. Runoff from development within the park and the outdated wastewater system has also added to problems in the nutrient rich lake.
Over time these inputs change a lake through processes called succession and eutrophication. The bottom line is that recreational uses, such as fishing, swimming and boating all suffer due to reduced water quality. In addition, stress is applied to the fish and animals that live in the lake, eventually resulting in fish kills during weather extremes in mid-summer and winter. In 2011 and 2012, the lake has experienced minor fish kills in midsummer. Young fish, ranging in size from about an inch to about 10”, are the main size of fish affected.
All lakes, natural and man-made, go through the process of succession as time passes, and eutrophication occurs when nutrient rich runoff enters a lake. Many lakes in Iowa were constructed in the 1950’s and 60’s and are nearing the end of their recreational use lifespan. Central Park Lake is one of them. Most lakes in Iowa needed renovation within 20 years after construction, the fact that the lake made it 47 years is remarkable. That tells us that if we manage the watershed prudently, our efforts will be successful.
The lake is currently listed as an “impaired” water in Iowa. The listing as “impaired” is due to excess algae, bacteria and pH. The pH impairment is directly due to high levels of algae which turn the water green in mid to late summer. To reduce the amount of algae we must reduce the amount of nutrients in the lake. The bacteria impairment is due to human use and other warm blooded animals. The bacteria problem becomes more pronounced when the water is cloudy with high levels of algae as ultraviolet rays from the sun cannot penetrate the water column and break the bacteria down.
May Flowers at Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve
May Blooms at the Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve
April 30th Tree Planting Pics
Jones County Courthouse Trees Forever and Alliant Energy "Branching Out" Grant
2016 Earth Day Fair A Success
2016 Earth Day Fair
Day Fair was held at the Lawrence Community Center in Anamosa!
Participants were able to view over 35 Earth Day booths and
vendor tables, learn about the Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge "People to
Pollinator" Program, try their aim at the 4-H Shooting Sports Air
Trailer, enjoy a presentation by Dawn Leon on the "Magic of Monarchs",
learn some new tips and tricks for spring gardening from Kim MIller, ISU
Extension Master Gardener, and be entertained by the Mike Lasack Band,
while enjoying a delicious
pancake fundraiser breakfast put on by the Grant Wood Trail
Association. In addition, the SWCD 2016 poster contest winners and
scholarship winner were announced. The Earth Day Fair was sponsored by
the Jones County Conservation Board,
Soil and Water Conservation District, and Grant Wood Trail Association.
Thanks to all the volunteers, organizations, and people who made this
Earth Day Fair a success.
April Blooms at Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve
April Blooms at Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve 2016
March Prescribed Burns at the Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve & Scotch Grove Prairie
March Prescribed Burns
Pasque Flowers Blooming at Hamilton Tapken Prairie Preserve (March & April 2016)
How to Make Maple Syrup Program
On Saturday, February 20th, over 30 participants listened as Michelle Turner, Project Coordinator with the Jackson County SWCD, shared her experiences making maple syrup from the trees on her property. Thank You For A Wonderful Program Michelle!
Mon-Maq Dam Modification/Removal Public Input Meeting Held Jan 28
Jones County Conservation held a public meeting on Thursday, January 28th discussing the Mon-Maq Dam Modification/Removal
Project. Discussion included a
shift in the project toward river restoration with an emphasis on reducing the
number of structures and long term maintenance requirements. All of which has the potential to increase
recreation and fishing opportunities while restoring the Maquoketa River’s
For more information or to voice your opinions and concerns call Jones County Director, Brad Mormann at 563-487-3541, ext. 2.
2015 Conservation Awards
The Jones County Conservation Board and Jones County Soil and Water Conservation District Conservation Awards Dinner was held on Tuesday, Sept. 22nd at the Central Park Nature Center.
The following individuals received Jones County Friends of Conservation Awards:
Theisen’s of Anamosa – Doug Siefker- Store Manager: One
of the Jones County Conservation Friends of Conservation Awards this year was
given to Doug and Theisen’s who have been wonderful supporters of the Jones
County Environmental Education Program and one of the original donors to the
Annual Central Park Kids Fishing Derby. The past few years in
addition to giving door prizes to make sure every child receives a prize
Theisen’s has also stepped up to purchase and provide trophies for the Kids
Fishing Derby winners. Theisen’s was also very supportive when
we needed funding for the Central Park Nature Center Renovation Project and
awarded the JCCB a "More for Your Community" Grant in 2011. In addition,
over the years Doug has let us know when they had damaged bags of bird seed and
outdated hummingbird food to donate to the Nature Center bird feeding
station. We would like to thank Theisen’s and Doug for all that
they do for conservation and our communities.
Richard and Arlene Henneberry of Cascade: Received a
Friends of Jones County Conservation Award for making sure their land – “the
Valley of 13 Caves and Lost Canyon” was preserved and acquired by the Jones
County Conservation Board for future generations to explore and learn about
eastern Iowa’s natural and cultural history. Their love and care of their
land shows in the plantings and preserved state of the caves and rock shelters
in Valley of 13 Caves. One of the last remaining Civilian Conservation
Corps (CCC) erosion control structures remains on the property for all to see
made from stone quarried in the nearby bedrock hillside. We
would like to thank and recognize the Henneberry Family for their contribution
to conservation and the future of those who come after us.
Soil & Water Conservation District Awards were given to:
Carroll & Connie Humpal: Farmstead Windbreak Award
Ray & Mary Finn: Sustainable Agriculture Award
SWCD District Poster Contest Winners:
1st Place - Division 2: Hali Schlarmann
1st Place - Division 3: Lydia Recker
MUSCLE 30 TONS OF TRASH FROM WAPSIPINICON RIVER
MEDIA CONTACT: Lynette Seigley
at (515) 725-3433 or Lynette.Seigley@dnr.iowa.gov
RIVER – Eastern Iowa’s Wapsipinicon River is now 30 tons of trash lighter,
thanks to a volunteer effort.
July, 433 volunteers took part in the 13th annual Project AWARE, traversing 63
miles of the Wapsipinicon River from Independence to Olin. Project AWARE, which
stands for A Watershed Awareness River Expedition involves hundreds of people
who spend anywhere from one to five days exploring Iowa’s rivers and picking up
Project AWARE 2015
a record year in terms of participant numbers, including the largest number of
volunteers on a single day (277), according to Lynette Seigley, who coordinates
Project AWARE for the DNR. Volunteers have become accustomed to the event being
family friendly, and a record 14 percent of this year’s participants were under
the age of 18. In addition to Iowa, volunteers hailed from 10 other states,
plus Sweden and China.
was so inspiring to see so many people so dedicated to the cause,” said Aaron
Batchelder with Linn County Conservation. Linn County Conservation, the City of
Quasqueton and Jones County Conservation, handled the 14.5 tons of scrap metal
that came off the river.
also removed 10 tons of tires from the Wapsi. This year, 91 percent of trash
pulled from the river was able to be recycled.
the route, volunteers were greeted by thank-you signs, bottled water and music
from landowners and residents.
was wonderful to be recognized and thanked by so many along the way,” said
nine-year AWARE veteran Darrel Brothersen from Tipton. “They seemed very
appreciative of our dedicated volunteers.”
Event sponsors included:
Platinum Paddle Sponsors: Alliant Energy Foundation · Bridgestone Americas One
Team, One Planet Spent Tire Program · Cargill · Firestone Complete Auto Care ·
Flint Hills Resources · IIHR - Hydroscience
& Engineering, The University of Iowa · Iowa DNR - IOWATER, Rivers
Programs · Iowa Flood Center · KOKZ-FM/KFMW-FM/KXEL-AM · Linn County
Conservation Board · State Hygienic Laboratory at The University of Iowa ·
Wapsi Canoe · Zanfel Laboratories, Inc.
Golden Yoke Sponsors: Ansell Protective Products · Buchanan County
Conservation Board · Cedar River Festival Group · Jones County Conservation
Board · Rockwell Collins
Silver Stern Sponsors: Bug Soother · City of Independence · City of
Quasqueton · DuPont · Eaton Corporation Community Involvement Team, Shenandoah
Plant · Gazette Foundation Corporate Donor-Advised Fund of the Greater Cedar
Rapids Community Foundation · Hy-Vee, Inc. · Independence School District ·
Iowa Whitewater Coalition · Nathan and Jamie Lein · Tournier’s Recycling &
Auto Salvage · Wapsi River Rentals · Waste Management
River Steward Sponsors: B4 Brands · Buchanan County Pheasants Forever #85 ·
Caterpillar Inc. · Cedar Rapids Linn County Solid Waste Agency · Connie Struve
and Bill Covington · Environmental Advocates · Friends of Fontana Park ·
Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association · Rivers and Streams LLC · Sen. David and Vid
Johnson · Snyder & Associates, Inc. · Stine Seed Company · Touch the Earth
Outdoor Recreation and Education - University of Iowa · University of Northern
Iowa Outdoor Recreation
River Rescue Sponsors: A-L Rolloff, Inc. · Boy Scout Troop 242 · Buchanan
County Historical Society · Can Shed LLC · Casey’s General Stores, Inc. · Cedar
Valley Paddlers · Central City Community School District · Central Iowa
Paddlers · City of Ames A.O.C. Resource Recovery System · City of Central City
· CrawDaddy Outdoors · Darrel and Jean Brothersen · Denny Weiss · Des Moines
Area Community College · Don Wall · FB & Company · Franklin SWCD ·
Humanities Iowa · Iowa Geological Survey · Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation ·
Jones County Solid Waste Commission · Linda Appelgate · Linn County
Conservation – Wickiup Hill Learning Center · Loren Hamilton Construction ·
Mark Bohner · Mark Clymers · Pipe Pro Inc. · Preserving Recreation & Habitat
on the Wapsi – PROW · RBC Wealth Management · Seatasea Watersports Center ·
Skunk River Paddlers · Sqwincher/PMG · The Dental Practice · Tim Fay ·
University of Iowa Research Park · Wayne Saur · White Pine Group, Iowa Sierra
Club · William & Joan Kauten · Wilton Steel Processing
Life Jacket Sponsors: Andrew & Maureen Johnson · Roberta Abraham
For more information on this event, please visit www.iowaprojectaware.com.
2015 Kids Fishing Derby Results
2015 Central Park Kids FIshing Derby
Seventy registered children plus their parents and grandparents enjoyed a
beautiful morning during the 2015 Central Park Kids Fishing Derby held
on Saturday, June 6th. Those attending had an
exciting time fishing, participating in the Wapsi Valley Bassmasters
Casting Kids Contest, creating sidewalk chalk art fish, and enjoying a day with their parents, grandparents, and friends. With
thanks to the many local businesses and individuals who donated and
supported this derby every child participating received a door prize and
handouts. Winners received trophies and select prizes.
This year’s derby winners of the “Longest Fish Contest” were
1st place: Carter Eilers of Urbannawith a 9.5 inch bluegill
2nd place: Lacey Cole of Manchester
with a 9.5 inch bluegill
3rd place: Lexie Steffen of Monticello with a 9 inch bluegill
Winners of the “Largest Bluegill Contest” were
1st place: Lacey Cole of Manchester with a 9.5 inch bluegill
2nd place: Carter Eilers of Urbana with a 9.5 inch bluegill
place: Bryce Cleeton of Monticello.
In addition four children won the Wapsi Valley Bassmasters Kids Casting Competition. Prizes were awarded to two winners in each of the 7-10 and 11 – 14 year old age divisions.
in the 7-10 age division Samantha Teul of Monticello took 1st place and Emily Neiers of Manchester took second place. In the 11-14 year age division Preston Melville of Anamosa took first and Ransom Brady of Center Junction received 2nd place.
huge thank you to the following individuals, businesses, and local
organizations for their support and assistance: Wapsi Valley Bassmasters, STICK'UM Tackle Co., Anamosa Theisen’s,the Cone Shoppe, Happy Joe’s Pizza, J
& P Cycles/Parham Family, Rick Meyer State Farm Insurance Co.,
Anamosa McDonalds, Scheels Sporting Goods,Marcus
Prull, Dave and Ginger Eilers, Howard Gollibitt, the Swain girls,
and the Iowa Department of Natural
Congratulations to everyone who attended this year’s Central Park Kids Fishing Derby! We hope to see you again next year!
New Bat Colony Box Structures - Eagle Scout Project Completed
Brandon Orr, son of Mike and Beth Orr, of Onslow, completed his Eagle Scout Project this past fall which included researching and constructing four seasonal bat nursery boxes.
One set of boxes were erected near the Nature Center at Central Park, and the
other two were put across the lake near the youth camping site. They were placed close to an area where
educational programs are held so they will not only be functional but also
educational and hopefully will create interest in others to construct their own
bat houses in their own backyard. Informational
signs were erected near the bat houses and brochures are available at the
If you are interested in
building your own bat house, visit the Central Park Nature Center and pick up a
brochure, or visit www.batcon.org for
The bat houses
were installed in October of 2014. We are excited to report as of July 2015 Bats have been documented using the new houses!!!
The Jones County Conservation Board would like to thank Brandon, Mike and Beth Orr, and Troop 62 for their donations and commitment to conservation.