Ways Healthy Forests Can Improve Water Quality and The Value of Land.

AMES, Iowa — A self-driven tour led by forestry specialists with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach in Floyd and Mitchell counties will show Iowans some of the ways healthy forests can improve water quality and the value of land.

“From the Stream to the Forest: Conservation Practices for Producers and Landowners” will be held June 22 in Floyd and Mitchell counties, in north central Iowa, and includes a visit to the Tjaden family’s Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program wetland, two riparian forest buffer sites, an upland forest site and an oak savanna.

The goal is to show Iowans some realistic examples of how healthy forests and water quality are related, and some practices private landowners can implement if they choose.

“We know a lot about buffers and the benefits in Iowa, but it seems that their promotion and adoption has fallen off,” said Billy Beck, assistant professor and extension forestry specialist at Iowa State University. “The presenters will talk about practical concepts that landowners can do on their own lands, and resources that are available to help.”

  • The tour will begin at 10 a.m. at the ISU Extension and Outreach Floyd County office in Charles City (112 N. Main). The first visit will be to Dean and Linda Tjaden’s wetland, a wetland restoration project supported by the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. The speaker will be Kurt Hoeft, district conservationist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
  • The riparian forest buffer site will feature a buffer planted in 2002 and one just planted in 2021. Beck, along with Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff Greg Heidebrink (district forester) and Emma Kerns (forestry specialist), will make comparisons to the two plots and talk about how buffers are established.
  • Midday, the tour will visit Dean Sponheim’s private land, where he and Terry Basol, field agronomist with ISU Extension and Outreach, will discuss nitrogen reduction strategies.
  • Lastly, the group will visit a forest site (Cedar River Greenbelt Trail) to discuss management and value of upland forests, and oak savanna. Speakers will be Adam Shirley (Mitchell County Conservation), along with Beck, Heidebrink and Kerns.

The registration fee is $10 and covers lunch. To register, call the ISU Extension and Outreach Mitchell County office at 641-732-5574.

Pre-registration is preferred, to help with logistics. Masks are optional. For more information, follow the Upcoming Events page on the ISU Extension and Outreach Natural Resource Stewardship website.

— Billy Beck, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach