Forests and Prairies Division Update
The foresters and I have had a great summer doing prairie work.
Additional training opportunities and more direct work with landowners with
prairie and woods has made for a smooth combination in land management
advice to private landowners. I've heard stories from several foresters
about discovering or protecting prairie remnants and the potential for
savanna restoration seems to be popping up across the state. We're also
considering how best to utilize and manage the prairie remnants with the
State Forest Areas. We've made a quiet and steady entry into the prairie
scene - subtle, a little like the prairie itself.
During this past summer we received extra on-site information from Dan
Allan of Allendan Seeds, Howard Bright of Ion Exchange, and the staff from
Effigy Mounds (savanna restoration efforts). About a fourth of the F&P
staff attended the NAPC in July - a great mixing of prairie folks with
foresters that was much appreciated. Inta- and inter- agency discussions
about fire training needs and opportunities have progressed since last
November's first Fire Discussion. These particular interactions affirmed
our directions initially set for not producing prairie seed for private
lands; for doing prairie work beyond just wildlife habitat plantings; and
for identifying the extent of fire training needed and serve in a
coordinating role to meet those needs statewide.
The State Fair brought us a chance to invite people to learn more about
prairie at the IDNR building - special thanks to CIPN members Cindy
Hildebrand, Joyce Hornstein, and Rich Pope for doing courtyard presentations
for curious visitors. They were wonderful!
The F&P Division is undergoing strategic planning. Prairie is an
integral part of all the planning to date. If you want to discuss prairie
services you'd like to see us consider, please feel free to contact me at
email@example.com or call me at 515-832-1771.
Jean Eells, Prairie Specialist, IDNR Forests and Prairies Division
2550 Stagecoach Road
Webster City, IA 50595-7375
IPN's ANNUAL MEETING
by Glenda Buenger
IPN's Annual Meeting was held Tuesday evening, July 18 during NAPC's
barbecue supper. An almost palpable feeling of cohesion and joy filled the
as "Prairie Potpourri," consisting of David Zahrt on bass fiddle, and Carl
and Mollie McGovern on guitars, played a number of prairie songs for us, with
word sheets so that we could sing together. Roger Maddux provided a special
addition with his recorder on "Iowa Waltz."
IPN President Casey Kohrt gave a short speech using the analogy of a seed
to describe IPN's germination and growth, tying in the conference's theme,
"Seeds for the Future, Roots of the Past" and IPN's goals to "learn about,
about, enjoy and protect Iowa's prairie heritage." We honored IPN's founders
part of our 10th birthday celebration. These people - Dianne Blankenship, Joel
Hanes, Pauline Drobney, Mary Norton, Glenn Pollock, Cindy Hildebrand, Joyce
Hornstein, Trish Patrick, Gene Kromray, and Phyllis Kiburz - had not sat
together at the same table since their last meeting as Regional
and it was an honor to have them all together again. Each was presented a
hardback copy of Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac in appreciation of their
work to create and sustain IPN. Cindy Hildebrand and Pauline Drobney gave
speeches on behalf of the honorees, with reminisces by Joel Hanes and Gene
Kromray, and a personal thank-you from Glenn Pollock, who served as President
for a number of years after IPN was formed. Carol Schutte was also presented a
copy of Sand County and received a standing ovation in appreciation for all
work to organize and orchestrate a very successful NAPC conference.
The present Board inaugurated a new event at this year's Annual Meeting:
recognition of Prairie Mothers (or Prairie Fathers, or Prairie Grandpas,
Many of us have a Prairie Mother (or Prairie Father, etc.) - that someone who
"turned us on" to prairie, or who was or is very important to us by nurturing
our own passion and involvement with prairie. Such people provide personal
inspiration and support and, knowingly or unknowingly, a role model for us to
emulate in inspiring and helping others in our turn. They are crucial in
sustaining IPN as a truly grassroots organization, and we wish to publicly
recognize their important contributions. We proudly inaugurated the "Prairie
Mother" award by honoring Region 6 member Martha Skillman. Martha is an
indefatigable networker, encourager, positive energizer and people
skill-builder. The award was especially gratifying because if you know Martha,
you know that she is a well-spoken person seldom at a loss for words, and we
caught her, literally, speechless. Martha received a standing ovation.
Any IPN member may nominate a Prairie Mother or Prairie Father to be
recognized at future Annual Meetings, so please be thinking if there is
you'd like publicly honored and watch next year for our Annual Meeting
By this time some 75 folks had assembled to share the wonderful ambience
our meeting and honor IPN's founders! We sang the birthday song and made sure
take pictures, then enjoyed birthday cake as we started the business end of
meeting: Don Bardole (Region 7) and Pam White (Region 6) were formally
to the Board.
Casey presented an amendment to Article V, Section 2 of IPN's by-laws,
proposing to expand the Board from 14 to 20 members. IPN's advocacy for
is being recognized. IPN is increasingly asked for assistance with projects
benefit prairies, and we need more Board members to share the workload. Four
Board positions are vacant and have been so for some time.
Discussion, questions, and explanations regarding rationale for IPN's dual
structure: activities work better when organized by region, but IPN's
encompass statewide issues; what might be done to help activate weak regions
thus gain Board members from those regions, etc. Joel Hanes explained that two
Board members per each of seven regions was devised so as to avoid IPN being
dominated by one region. Trish Patrick pointed out that at-large Board members
could help with the work of representing IPN's statewide interests; vacant
regional Board positions could remain vacant so as not to be filled by someone
not from that region.
Judith Felder moved, Trish Patrick seconded to approve the amendment to
6 at-large Board positions. Further discussion concerning compliance with
by-laws. "Shall" and "will" language in by-laws is troublesome when we can't
fill Board positions. Casey offers friendly amendment to Judith's motion,
substituting "up to" in the language so that it is easier for IPN to comply
by-laws. Friendly amendment accepted by Judith and Trish. Membership approves
proposed amendment with Casey's suggested language change.
Article V, Board of Directors, Section 2, Tenure and Qualification
presently states "The Board of Directors of the organization shall consist of
fourteen (14) members, which is two (2) members per each of seven (7) regions
Iowa." The approved amendment changes this to: "The Board of Directors of the
organization shall consist of up to twenty (20) members, which is two members
per each of seven (7) regions in Iowa, and up to six (6) at-large members."
Cindy moves, Glenda Buenger seconds that the position of Newsletter
be made a Board member with Board (voting) privileges. Membership approves.
Cindy nominates, Chad Graeve seconds Jon Judson, who accepts the nomination to
the Board. Membership approves Jon Judson as an at-large Board member. Bruce
Ehresman nominates, Chad seconds Kevin Pape, who accepts the nomination to the
Board. Membership approves Kevin Pape as Board member representing Region 1,
Iowa. Membership approves Kirk Larsen as Board member representing Region 3,
Glenn Pollock makes motion to adjourn; meeting adjourned. Meeting to
reconvene after "Walt Whitman" event so that new Board can elect officers,
USDA/PRAIRIES DISCUSSION AT THE NORTH AMERICAN PRAIRIE CONFERENCE -- Part One
by Cindy Hildebrand
The July NAPC included a facilitated discussion on USDA conservation
programs and prairies, sponsored by the IPN. Special thanks are due to the
participants from Congressional offices and public agencies, to facilitator
Margo Underwood, and to NAPC organizer Carol Schutte, for making the
Because the discussion was national in scope, it dealt with many prairie
issues. It should be noted that the following background sheet, distributed at
the discussion, reflects that national perspective, and that not all the
problems are significant in Iowa.
It was generally agreed at the discussion that the language and funding
the next Farm Bill will be critical for U.S. prairies. Those who would like to
join a national prairie listserve that includes discussions of USDA/prairie
issues can contact Cindy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Part Two, in the next IPN NEWS, will provide more information on the
discussion, on USDA prairie issues, and on the forthcoming Farm Bill.
USDA CONSERVATION PROGRAMS AND PRAIRIES: Ecological, Financial, and Regulatory
by Cindy Hildebrand
Background Information -- The problems below are not universal, but are
being reported from various states in the prairie region. Solutions might
potentially be found on the federal, regional, state, or local levels, and
involve changes in laws, rules, funding levels, programs, or policies.
Some Prairie Problems
Landowners are plowing up native prairie areas and planting them to
rowcrops in order to qualify for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). In
cases, landowners are reportedly putting cropland into CRP, and then plowing
native prairie to put into rowcrops.
There is a federal requirement that woody species be planted on marginal
riparian pastures enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program. This
is causing the destruction of native prairie remnants and is creating
unnecessary costs for landowners and agencies. In addition, the planting of
woody vegetation along some creeks may pose a potential threat to a
federally-endangered fish species (the Topeka Shiner).
On some CRP land, invasive exotic plant species are being planted,
including exotics that invade native prairie areas. Some agency staff have not
had opportunities to learn which species are native, and are recommending that
non-native species be used in native plantings.
There is concern that the planting of commercial prairie cultivars near
native prairie remnants, and near source-identified prairie nursery plantings,
may cause the genetic contamination of those remnants and plantings. Diseases
have also been introduced into new areas by certain cultivars. Some USDA
participants want to plant local-origin prairie seed. But some program
requirements make local-origin plantings difficult, including high grass/forb
seed ratios, all-at-once planting requirements, and lack of incentives and
program flexibility. In addition, some agency staff members and landowners are
not being informed that seed origin is an issue to consider.
Some programs require that money be spent in ways that provide little
public benefit. That money could potentially be used instead for prairie
conservation and better plantings. For example, fertilizer has been required
native plantings on sites where the fertilizer helped weeds and discouraged
natives, and new plantings have been required on already-vegetated areas where
soil conservation, water quality, and wildlife habitat already existed.
State and local USDA staff have had to follow federal rules that are not
flexible enough to fit local landscapes, including prairie landscapes. Local
staff sometimes don't have time or opportunity to learn about prairies,
planting sites with prairie remnants, or to become familiar with program rules
that could help protect prairie remnants and encourage good prairie plantings.
Native prairie, especially tallgrass prairie, is a globally endangered
landscape. It provides public benefits, including water quality protection,
conservation, biodiversity, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage. But while
there are incentive programs within the USDA to protect wetlands, there is no
incentive program to protect native prairies or to offset the financial
incentive to convert native prairie to CRP. This problem could also be an
IPN BOARD MEETING MINUTES
(These notes are brief reports on a long meeting. Please contact your
members if an issue interests you.)
The IPN Board met Sept. 9, 2000, at the IDNR State Nursery, Ames.
Dave Hansen, Sue Irving, Jim Nedtwig, Pam White, Glenn Pollock, Don Bardole,
Casey Kohrt, Kevin Pape, Kirk Larsen , Jon Judson, Trish Patrick, Laura
Laura took notes, and will serve as temporary secretary until a permanent
IPN secretary can be found.
Money raised at the IPN Silent Auction at the NAPC will be rounded up to
$3500 and donated to the Iowa Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to help
the Lineberry Tract in the Loess Hills.
The IPN will send $500 to Loren Lown to help pay for booklets on prairie
reconstruction. The Board will get booklets for distribution.
The IPN web page is progressing slowly. More IPN stationary will be
printed. The cost of membership lapel pins will be investigated. More
may be printed. A traveling IPN exhibit is needed.
Jon is working on CRP and Farm Bill issues that sometimes adversely
prairies. Jon was appointed as the official IPN representative for Senator
Harkin's proposed farm conservation bill.
Jim is working on a prairie economics study with the donated help of a
(generous) economist at ISU. The study will provide useful data to present to
Discussions took place regarding Loess Hills fill dirt mining, the
implications of carbon storage credits for prairies, Glenn's prairie
tour, protection options for landowners, controlled burning and grazing
cedar harvest for profit and prairie improvement, public education regarding
prairies and prairie events, and local-ecotype prairie seed issues.
The next meeting is tentatively set for January 13th. All IPN members are
welcome to attend.
IOWA ECOTYPE ARTICLE AVAILABLE
By Cindy Hildebrand
The July/August 2000 issue of the IOWA CONSERVATIONIST carried an
interesting article about the Iowa Ecotype Project called "Consider the
by Greg Houseal. The article discusses general prairie seed genetic issues.
Copies of that issue are still available. If you would like one, please
Editor Julie Sparks at Julie.Sparks@dnr.state.ia.us or at 515-281-6159.
By Karie Wiltshire
Working to enhance the familiarity of Grinnell-area residents and
with prairie in the region, The Center for Prairie Studies at Grinnell College
compiled a brochure, "Guide to Prairie Sites Near Grinnell, Iowa." The
offers directions, descriptions, and contact information for 47 prairie
reconstructions and remnants, both publicly owned and unmanaged, within a
50-mile radius of the city. For more information, or to obtain brochures,
contact the Center at 641-269-4720 or e-mail email@example.com.
Iowa Prairie Network Survey
The Iowa Prairie Network is conducting this survey to help determine the
economic impact, nature, and extent of prairie related projects carried out by
individual Iowans. Please complete this survey only if your prairie lives in
state of Iowa. Thank you for your participation.
Part A: Prairie reconstructions and Restorations
How many total acres of prairie have you reconstructed or restored?
About what percentage of the seed you use for reconstructions or restorations
you collect on your own (i.e. what percentage do you not pay money for)?
About how many species of prairie plants do you include in each reconstruction
How many hours do you spend collecting prairie seed, per acre of
What are your average, annual, out of pocket expenses per acre, during the
two years of
prairie establishment (include any prairie related expenses such as books,
conferences, weeding, herbicide, purchase of seed, gas, etc.)?
What are your average, annual, out of pocket expenses per acre, after the
two years of
Do you use local ecotype seed (75 mile radius)?
From whom do you purchase seed?
Part B: Virgin Prairie
How many acres of virgin prairie land do you, as an individual, manage?
What are your average, annual out of pocket expenses per