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JCCB Current Projects & Events

The Jones County Conservation Board is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the Conservation Board.  This volunteer position will assist in providing the best conservation, outdoor recreation, and education programs possible with the resources and finances available.  This position includes mileage reimbursement.  Interested applicants should contact the conservation department at 563-487-3541 ext. 2  or

Please note:  Roadwork on County Road E45 may affect access to the Grant Wood Trail Section in Martelle from the end of August through the end of October.

Central Park Lake Restoration Project
Fundraising in Full Swing - Local Donors NEEDED!

(Read More Details Listed Below)

Central Park Lake Restoration Project Public Informational Meeting

Tuesday, September 13
6:30 PM
Central Park Nature Center Basement

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Jones County Conservation Board will host a public meeting at 6:30 p.m., September 13, at the Central Park Nature Center, to discuss plans for improving water quality and recreational opportunities at Central Park Lake in Jones County.

Restoration activities planned for the park will be presented at the meeting, along with an opportunity for the public to express their comments and ask questions about the long term management and improvement plan. Activities planned for the lake include removal of excess sediment from the lake, shoreline stabilization, and fish habitat and recreational access improvements. Work is slated to begin this fall and be completed in the next 2-3 years.

Central Park Lake is currently listed on the State’s List of Impaired Waters due to high levels of indicator bacteria and algae. The overall goal of this restoration project is to improve water quality and recreational opportunities in the lake and remove the lake from the Impaired Waters List.

For More Information Contact:  Brad Mormann, Jones County Conservation Director at (563)487-3541 or George Antoniou, Lake Restoration Program Coordinator, Iowa Department of Natural Resources (515)725-8449.

Upcoming Area Program Announcements:

"Monarch Tagging"

Saturday, September 3
1 PM
Central Park Nature Center

Join the Jones County Naturalist as we learn about the amazing migration of the Monarch Butterflies!  Use a butterfly to net to help capture, tag, and release migrating monarch butterflies.  Bring your own net or borrow one of ours.

Annual Fall Colors Paddle - "A Paddle Back Through History"

South Fork of the Maquoketa River
Hwy 136 Access to Canton
9-10 AM Staging
10 AM On River

Join the Jones County Conservation Department Staff on our annual fall colors river outing.  This year we will travel back through history as we paddle 10 miles of the Maquoketa River quietly passing by the long deserted but not forgotten town of Clay Mills.  Be spellbound by Iowa's beautiful fall colors as we transition from croplands and pastures to heavily wooded bluffs, boulders, limestone outcroppings, and soaring cliffs.  Bring a snack or your picnic lunch and enjoy a break as we stretch our legs on a sandbar and learn about the people and place that was once the small thriving community of Clay Mills.  Participants should bring their own kayaks or canoes, paddles, pfd's, dry bags, extra dry clothing, warm aquatic footwear, sunscreen, and sunglasses.  A limited number of canoes and equipment are available for use by those who do not have their own.  This outing is river level and weather dependent.  Those planning on attending should pre-register by emailing or calling Michele at (319)481-7987 or prior to noon, Sept. 30th. 

Click Here to Download the Older Wiser Livelier Summer and Fall Program Flyer

"Central Park Lake Project On Channel 9 News"

Click on this link to read the article.



Central Park Lake Project Fundraising in Full Swing Local Donors Needed:

Central Park Lake Renovation Project Update -   Fall 2016

Central Park’s Lake Restoration Project is moving along.  Fundraising is in full swing to acquire funds for several important components of the project including ADA accessibility to the proposed new handicap accessible fishing pier, improved boat ramp parking and access, and newly designed swimming area. 

Click below for images of proposed project areas needing funding:

New ADA Accessible Fishing Dock, Signage, and Walkway
New ADA Accessible Dock, Walkway, and Parking at Boat Ramp Area
New ADA Accessible Swimming Beach Area

Anyone wishing to contribute to the Central Park Lake Restoration Project should contact Brad Mormann at (319)481-9004.  Contributors of $75,000 or greater have naming opportunities.  Categories for other recognition are also available.  All contributors will be recognized on our website and newsletter. 

Construction of a wetland and pond on the south and west Pearson Addition  required the total movement of over 29,000 cubic yards of soil, equivalent to 2,030 dump truck loads.  Both structures are now completed and filled with spring and summer rainfall.  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.

Recent Construction Work:

Over two feet of sediment was removed from the west pond’s basin.  Several fishing jetties, earthen mounds of soil piled perpendicular to the pond’s shoreline, were installed  These jetties 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.

Fish habitat was placed in the pond basin, some of which will serve multiple purposes.  Rock was 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 were also placed in the basin.  Trees  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. 

In addition several catfish hotels and pallet structures were placed in the new pond.  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.  

This past spring and summer prairie flower and grass seeds and cover crops were planted around the new pond and wetland and erosion control tubes were installed to help prevent erosion.   Several memorial benches were placed on jetties for future fishermen and native enthusiasts to enjoy and a new parking lot with memorial benches and signage is being added near the new west pond.  Stop by to see our progress!

Fish Transfer to New West Pond - August 2016
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This project would not 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.

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 and visit.

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. 


Engineering 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. 


Since 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. 

All 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 the Wapsipinicon 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.


With 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.


Jones County Conservation Environmental Education Program Receives Iowa Ornithology Union Grant

The Jones County Conservation Environmental Education Program received a $500 Iowa Ornithology Union Grant to purchase binoculars and bird field guides for educational programming.  Thank you IOU!!!   Keep an eye on our future birding programs and hikes and come learn about our amazing birds! Request a bird program for your group - call Michele at (319)481-7987. 

"Spirit of Chautauqua" Concert Fun!

Around 50 people came to listen - others were entertained as they fished or hiked the trails  while Will Schmitt performed from 6-7 PM near the enclosed pavilion at Central Park on Tuesday, June 28th.   Will shared the songs and stories he has picked during his travels throughout the United States.  Will’s tour of Iowa will take him to almost half of Iowa’s 99 counties as he works his way across the state this summer.  For more information on Will’s touring schedule go to 

2016 Kids Fishing Derby Results and Pictures
2016 Central Park Kids Fishing Derby Fun
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          Sixty-seven registered children as well as parents, grandparents, and siblings enjoyed a beautiful morning at the 2016 Central Park Kids Fishing Derby held on Saturday, June 4th.  Those attending had an exciting time fishing, participating in the Wapsi Valley Bassmasters Casting Contest, creating chalk sidewalk art fish, and enjoying a relaxing day at the lake.  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:  Benjamyn Watson of Anamosa, 2nd place:  Reeve Graver of Scotch Grove, and 3rd place: Mitchell Neiers of Monticello. 

Winners of the “Largest Bluegill Contest” were 1st place:  Roth Schnoor of Monticello, 2nd place:   Leah Neiers of Manchester, and 3rd place: Ryan Tjaden of Anamosa. 

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 Benjamyn Watson of Anamosa took first place and Justin Pry of Cascade took second.  In the 11-14 year old division Chayse Sams of Anamosa won first place and Naamah Barkley of Anamosa took second place.

A huge thank you to the following individuals, businesses, and local organizations for their support and assistance: Wapsi Valley Bassmasters, Stick’um Tackle Co, Front Range Gear, Bait, Guns, & More, Anamosa Theisen’s, the Cone Shoppe, Happy Joe’s Pizza, Anamosa McDonalds, Scheels Sporting Goods, Dave and Ginger Eilers, Marcus Prull, and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Congratulations to everyone who attended this year’s Central Park Kids Fishing Derby!  We hope to see you again next year!

2016 Jones County Nature Photography Contest Winners Announced:

1st Place Winners of 2016 Jones County Nature Photo Contest
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Winners from the 2016 Jones County Nature Photography Contest are as follows:

“Plants in Nature”:  1st Place – Kerri Dusanek, Monticello; 2nd Place – Derith Vogt, Center Junction; 3rd Place – Derith Vogt, Center Junction.

“Scenic Jones County”:  1st Place  - Jonathen Mayberry, Anamosa;  2nd Place – Susanne Gubauc, Tipton; 3rd Place – Gwendolyn Hanson, Anamosa. 

“Animals in Nature”:  1st Place – Gwendolyn Hanson, Anamosa; 2nd Place – Heather Weers, Center Junction; 3rd Place – Derith Vogt, Center Junction.  

“People in Nature”:  1st Place:  Brenda Hanken, Monticello; 2nd Place – Kerri Dusanek, Monticello; 3rd Place:  Kerby Barnes, Center Junction.

Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the 2016 Jones County Nature Photography Contest!              Keep taking those great outdoor photos!!!

April 30th Tree Planting Pics
Jones County Courthouse Trees Forever and Alliant Energy "Branching Out" Grant
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2016 Earth Day Fair A Success

2016 Earth Day Fair
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Another wonderful Earth 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 Rifle 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, Jones Soil and Water Conservation District, and Grant Wood Trail Association.  Thanks to all the volunteers, organizations, and people who made this year’s Earth Day Fair a success.

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 health.  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