Floristic Inventory for Lake Iowa Park
Lake Iowa park, managed by Iowa County Conservation (ICC), has acres of beautiful restored prairie, but it also has areas that could be true remnants, areas that were never cropped or disturbed. ICC obtained a grant from the Iowa Native Plant Society (INPS) to find out if there are any remnant areas left at Lake Iowa Park and how to best manage them. This information will create a baseline for data collection and help ICC create a management plan to help these remnant areas survive for generations.
Dr. Thomas Rosburg was chosen to complete the floristic inventory with a background including a Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, masters in plant ecology and bachelor of science in Fish and Wildlife Biology from Iowa State University. With his impressive resume and wealth of knowledge we were very pleased when he agreed to the survey, and with the monetary help of the INPS grant, ICC was able to afford the project.
Iowa County staff created a map that highlighted the areas most likely to have true remnant prairies. These areas were selected using GIS software, aerial imagery, and descriptions of Lake Iowa Park from previous staff members. Using this information, ten areas, 57 acres in total, were selected for study. Dr. Rosburg performed meandering plant surveys on June 5th, July 12th, and September 8th of 2019 to better capture the different growing seasons. He observed 245 different vascular plant species, including many native species.
Dr. Rosburg lays out evidence in his report that Lake Iowa Park may have remnant prairie, which is very exciting and encouraging news. His report includes how to manage these remnant areas. The most pressing issue is the encroachment of invasive species. Dr. Rosberg suggests using multiple stressors against the invasive species at the proper timing. Iowa County Conservation will put areas containing potential remnants at the top of the list when developing the management plan and deciding where to start fighting back against the invasive species that have taken hold in our areas.
We are very excited to see some unusual species and very pleased to know that we have remnant prairies still in Iowa County, Iowa, a place that has been so changed from the original landscape. Thank you very much for the hard work from Dr. Rosburg. Thank you to the Iowa Native Plant Society for making this project possible.
Link to Dr. Rosburg’s full report: https://iowacountyconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/FinalReportLakeIowaPark_Rosburg2020-1.pdf