The Jefferson County Conservation Board in cooperation with the Jefferson County Pheasants Forever Chapter and ConServ Corp, will assist you in establishing native prairie grasses, wildlife food plots and tree plantings.
Native Prairie Management Plan at Round Prairie
The undeveloped areas in Round Prairie Park contain many native prairie species. In the past very little had been done to manage these prairie areas and problems with woody vegetation encroachment have developed.
In Iowa it has been estimated that of an original 30 million acres of prairie only 30 thousand remain. Management techniques have been implemented by the JCCB to insure that the native prairie areas of Round Prairie will be preserved.
A preliminary inventory was done by Martha Skillman of the Iowa Prairie Network in the summer of 1999. At that time close to forty species of native prairie forbes, grasses, and sedges were identified. It was decided that future trips would be taken throughout the growing season to account for species which were missed during the preliminary inventory.
Since then the prairie species list has grown to eighty.
Round Prairie Park contains many woody species that are encroaching into the prairie remnants. To control woody vegetation in the prairie areas various techniques are being used. Controlled burns help kill off the smaller trees and shrubs. Larger trees which are unaffected by burning will be cut down and foliar sprays may also be used to kill off persistent species such as autumn olive.
Certain tree species such as White Oak will be left since they were historically found throughout the prairie. Species which seem to spread rapidly such as ash and cottonwood will be more aggressively controlled. Mowing will also be used to control woody vegetation or to simulate grazing.
Grazing has been recommended as a tool in prairie restoration but is not possible at Round Prairie due to lack of fencing.
The re-establishment of prairie will be a long process but itšs one that the JCCB feels is well-worth the effort.
Iowa's Upland Forests
Comprised mostly of various species of oak and hickory trees, upland forests make up the largest chunk of Iowašs forest land. There is approximately 900,000 acres of oak-hickory upland forest and 700,000 acres of sugar maple-basswood forests in Iowa.
The types of trees found in the upland forests of Iowa depend upon the amount of moisture as well as many other variables. White oak and bur oak as well as shagbark hickory and bitternut hickory survive where the land is drier. As the soil slopes and gains moisture, red oaks join into the mixture.
In the more moist areas of the Iowa upland you can find black walnut, white ash, sugar maple and basswood.
Trees of the upland forests are beloved for a variety of reasons. Whether it is seen as a symbol of naturešs beauty blooming in the spring or a home for squirrels, deer, birds or other animals, the trees of the upland forest are most valuable in sustaining an ecosystem.
These trees are also used by humans for a variety of products. Oak is most recognized in the making of furniture but is also used for flooring, paneling, and fuelwood. Hickory, because of its great strength, is valuable in making tool handles, flooring, and plywood. The sap of the sugar maple is used to make maple syrup.
Acorns, collectively called mast, provide a major food source for many wildlife. Frequent consumers among birds include ring-necked pheasants, Northern bobwhites, wild turkeys, blue jays, American crows, tufted titmice, white breasted nuthatches, brown thashers, Eastern towhees, and common grackles.
Acorns of the red oak group, though not as palatable to mammals as those of the white oak, are consumed by numerous rodents. Where both red and white oak acorns are present, gray squirrels tend to bury the red oak acorns and consume the white oak acorns on the spot. Black bears, raccoons, eastern chipmunks and white-tailed deer are also fond of white oak acorns.
Contact the Jefferson County Conservation Board for information on the tax exempt Timber Reserve program available to woodland ownwers.