Big Bend and the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway

 

Map of Big Bend Conservation Area

A new interpretive sign was installed along the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway at Big Bend Conservation Area, north of Marengo. The Iowa Valley Scenic Byway is a 77-mile state-designated route from Montour to the Amana Colonies. It travels through 14 communities. The new sign is one of many projects led by the Iowa Valley RC&D and the Iowa Valley Scenic Byway Board. The new colorful signs placed along the byway are intended to connect travelers with local resources.

The sign at Big Bend Conservation Area shares information about wetland restoration. Big Bend has around 360 acres: 100 acres of wetland, and the remainder in low-land timber with large silver maple trees. The property has typically been subject to littering, vandalism, and illegal harvesting of wildlife/timber. Iowa County Conservation has received a grant to get some extra help to clean up the property. Hopefully, with the watchful eye of civilians, and additional help from other law enforcement agencies, Big Bend Conservation Area will return to a thriving wetland that can be used by hikers, anglers, and responsible hunters.

If you see illegal activity, report it immediately, call 911.
If you want to report potential issues or have questions, call 319-655-8465.

 

Busy mixing cement Working hard moving cement
Leveling the cement for the sign Staff of Iowa County Conservation, NRCS, and RC&D at the dedication of the Scenic Byway Sign at Big Bend Conservation Area
The new wetland sign at Big Bend Conservation Area

 

Gateway Park and Preserve Fish Structure

Iowa County Conservation would like to thank Big G for donating Christmas trees, as they have done for many years now. Currently, Gateway Pond (the old sand pit) has a lack of structure; the sandy bottom is flat like a shelf, offering no protection or habitat for fish. The Iowa County Conservation staff put together structures with old pallets, mulberry trees, and the Christmas trees from Big G, sinking them with blocks from various park buildings that have been tore down over the years.

The fish habitat that was recently added by the staff is marked with a buoy in the northwest corner of pond. The structures aren’t quite close enough to cast to from shore, but even if you don’t have a boat or ice fish, it will still be helping with the overall fishing quality in the pond. Look for more buoys in the future, as we will be putting more fish structures in various locations around the pond.

Want to give your pond a little more structure? It is suggested to sink mulberry and osage orange/hedge apple trees to provide the desired habitat. These two tree species are some of the longest lasting under water and they are commonly found along fence rows where they typically need removed anyway!

Check out the pictures from the interesting couple days of adding fish structure to Gateway! Also, if you are interested in more ideas to help your pond habitat, check out the DNR’s website: http://www.iowadnr.gov/Fishing/About-Fishing-in-Iowa/Habitat-Lake-Projects.

Donation From Big G
Donation From Big G

A full trailer
A full trailer

Getting ready for the first trip
Getting ready for the first trip

Stuff putting together the structure
Stuff putting together the structure

Director at work
Director at work

First structure overload
First structure overload

Staff posed for a rainy picture of their completed structure
Staff posed for a rainy picture of their completed structure

Dropping off the first set
Dropping off the first set