PRAIRIES IN BLOOM PROGRESS REPORT
by Cindy Hildebrand
On March 4th a meeting was held to discuss the Teaming With Wildlife
project, Prairies In Bloom. The goals of the project, as identified by
organizer Jaime Edwards, Wildlife Diversity Biologist with the IDNR, are
twofold. One is to develop a program for harvesting, planting, and making
ecotype seed more readily available on a statewide basis, and the other is to
establish diverse native habitats on state land in the process.
Gene Kromray began the discussion by identifying what he would like to
the project do, which is to allow seed contractors to have access to state
for harvesting prairie seed with the understanding that all of the seed
would be replanted on state land. This replanted land would in turn be used
the basis for seed harvest agreements. He felt that seed harvest agreements
could similar to current IDNR crop lease agreements.
Gene then compared prairie seed leases to crop leases in terms of
generating money. He felt that harvesters couldn't make money if prairie seed
harvested off replanted state lands were divided on a
50/50 basis, and suggested an alternate division in which the state would get
1/3 of the seed. Given the current $25-per-pound price of mixed prairie seed,
the return to the state of 3 pounds of seed per harvested acre would be the
equivalent of about $84 per acre,
which is more than some biologists currently get from crop leases.
Many issues and questions were then discussed. They included the
(especially burning) of replanted acres, minimum field size needed for
practicality, seed certification issues, potential markets, mixed-seed fields
versus single-species fields, the shortage of harvestable remnants on state
in some areas, the issue of potentially harvesting seed from
state preserves (and necessary safeguards if that is considered), and the
legality of prairie seed leases.
At a subsequent meeting of IDNR administrators, it was determined
biologists do have the ability to enter into prairie seed lease agreements on
individual basis. Anyone who has questions or comments regarding the Prairies
In Bloom project can contact Jaime Edwards at 515-432-2823. Gene Kromray is
also interested in comments and suggestions. He can be reached at
515-683-1471(hm) or 515-684-8037(wk).
TALLGRASS PRAIRIE RESEARCH IN THE NEWS
by Cindy Hildebrand
The 5/1/98 issue of SCIENCE contains a research paper and summary article
about the effects of various combinations of burning, grazing, mowing, and
nitrogen addition on tallgrass prairie plant diversity. The results from the
Konza Prairie study seem to indicate that bison grazing and mowing can enhance
plant diversity, while plant diversity declined on areas treated with both
burning and nitrogen addition. (Tall warm-season grasses increased at the
expense of shorter, less-common grasses and forbs.) Since excess atmospheric
nitrogen is now a global problem, finding ways to counter its ecological
is increasingly important. I'm told that Internet users can find the research
paper on the Web by searching for the word "Konza."
by Cindy Hildebrand
The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has purchased a sheriff's deed for
acres of ground which constitute the majority of the Engeldinger watershed not
owned by the Polk County Conservation Board. The owner of the 160 acres is
trying to sell the redemption rights on the property. What this means in
practical terms is someone other than the Foundation or the Polk County
Conservation Board could purchase the land. The 160 acres are extremely
important to the ecological health of Engeldinger.
It is important for all of us who care about Engeldinger,
especially Polk County residents, to let our elected officials know we
efforts to protect Engeldinger and its watershed.
GOOD NEWS! IDOT WILL BUILD HIGHWAY 65 AROUND ENGELDINGER MARSH
By Joyce Hornstein
After consulting with federal officials, Harry Budd, the IDOT's director
project planning, announced that the county-owned Engeldinger Marsh can't be
acquired for the highway 65 project. Federal regulations do not allow
county-owned park property to be used for roads unless there are no feasible
alternatives. The existing two lanes of U.S. 65 will not be used and may be
purchased by the Polk County Conservation Board.
Sixteen North American Prairie Conference
For your convince a registration form and information about on and off
campus housing has been provided. You can also download a registration form
from the Net at www.UNK.edu go to the Biology department and then look under
North American Prairie Conference. There one can find in
Grand View College
1200 Grandview Ave.
Des Moines, IA 50316