With the help of Pheasants Forever (PF) and other partners, the Iowa Build a Wildlife campaign recently acquired two new Wildlife Areas totaling 312 acres – the 152-acre Cortright Wildlife Area in Buchanan County and the 160-acre Ocheyedan River Wildlife Area in Clay County. Both areas will be open for public hunting and outdoor recreational activities.
The two new Wildlife Areas are the second and third acquisitions made through the Iowa Build a Wildlife Area campaign since it launched in 2006, joining the 90-acre Mehus addition to the Christiansen-Taylor Wildlife Area in Worth County.
PF created the Build a Wildlife Area campaign to give individual donors and corporate organizations, agencies or foundations the opportunity to ensure Iowa’s conservation legacy. Through the Build a Wildlife Area campaign, each one dollar donation turns into three dollars through matching grants from the Iowa DNR and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This partnership automatically triples the value of each donation made. The funds raised are then used to purchase land for new public wildlife management areas. These new areas are then transferred over to the Iowa DNR or local County Conservation Boards for management and opened for public hunting and outdoor recreational activities.
The new Cortright Wildlife Area in Buchanan County is 152 acres of forested wetlands and river frontage and part of the Wapsipinicon River Corridor, which according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources is one of the longest continuous stretches of natural and scenic river corridors in the state. Pheasants and other upland nesting birds will benefit from the prime nesting cover throughout the area. Oxbows, backwaters, ephemeral wetlands, and ponds provide homes for a variety of waterfowl, birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians. The woodland floodplain is home to diverse songbird species, egrets, herons, geese and wild turkeys. Even Sandhill Cranes have been observed nesting in this prime habitat.
The new 160-acre Ocheyedan River Wildlife Area in Clay County is also green space along a river which will protect critical areas of habitat. Multiple species of trees border the eastern edge of this property, with the remaining portion in a balance of forbs and native grasses. Many species of upland birds, songbirds, ducks and deer utilize this area and depend on the balance and diversity for survival.
These two land acquisitions would not have been possible without leading support from the Iowa State Council of PF. “The council plays a critical roll in preserving our outdoor heritage all across the state of Iowa. Leaders from PF chapters around the state have excellent vision and work hard to make those visions a reality,” said John Linquist, PF regional representative from western Iowa.
Pheasants Forever, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Iowa County Conservation Boards and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service started this campaign based upon its incredible success in Minnesota. Iowa is the third state to start a Build a Wildlife Area partnership following Minnesota and Wisconsin. Iowa Build a Wildlife campaign sponsors include the Iowa State Council of Pheasants Forever, Purina, Brownell’s, Prairie Meadows, Larry Zach Gallery, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Gander Mountain, Meredith Publishing and Private Donors & Memorials.
For more information or to donate to Iowa’s Build a Wildlife Area campaign, please contact Dave Van Waus, PF regional wildlife biologist in central Iowa, at (641)377-3480 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Iowa’s 103 PF chapters account for over 21,000 members statewide. Those chapters have spent more than $31.2 million on habitat and youth education projects since the first PF chapter in Iowa formed in 1984. In turn, those funds have completed over 86,800 habitat projects, benefiting more than 862,000 acres for Iowa wildlife along the way.
Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are non-profit conservation organizations dedicated to the protection and enhancement of pheasant, quail, and other wildlife populations in North America through habitat improvement, land management, public awareness, and education. PF/QF has more than 120,000 members in 700 local chapters across the continent.
For additional information about Pheasants Forever, please visit www.pheasantsforever.org