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Thursday, December 01, 2016
The Conservation Corps of Iowa and Minnesota is now accepting applications for the 2017 Field Crew AmeriCorps positions. The Polk County Conservation Board will be hosting two-6 person crews (ages 18-25) to serve alongside PCCB staff and volunteers throughout Polk County’s family of parks. If you or someone you know is interested, please apply online by clicking here for Field Crew Leader and here for Field Crew Member. Select Iowa and Des Moines as your region and location preferences.
Monday, November 21, 2016
The newest edition of Polk County Conservation's Nature News is now available. Keep up-to-date on what is going on in our family of parks and trails as well as what events are taking place from January through April 2017 by clicking here.
Monday, November 14, 2016
Campground shower houses at Jester Park, Thomas Mitchell Park, Yellow Banks Park, and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt will be turned off the week of November 14th.
Camping is still permitted through December 1st, but shower houses will not be available. Campgrounds are closed from December 1 - March 31 (except to walk-in tent camping, which is allowed year-round).
Thank you for camping in our campgrounds during the 2016 season.
Tuesday, November 01, 2016
Polk County Conservation has been issued a permit to conduct prescribed burns at Easter Lake Park, Fort Des Moines Park, Jester Park, Thomas Mitchell Park, Yellow Banks and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt. These burns will begin in November and run through the end of December, weather permitting.
Polk County Conservation uses prescribed fire as a land management technique. In nature, fire is essential to maintain the integrity of the native prairie and woodland plant species located in our parks. Fire is a natural occurrence that helps the plant and animal communities in a park and controlled burns offer a safer way to use fire in a helpful manner.
Burns will be conducted when prevailing winds are forecasted to carry smoke away from sensitive areas (houses, animals, etc.). For more specific dates of burns, or for comments or concerns, please contact Mark Dungan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for 2016 park prescribed burn maps.
Tuesday, June 07, 2016
Jester Park Nature Center will serve as one of Iowa's leading nature centers as well as a gateway to experience our state's natural environment. It will serve as a focal point within our community where recreation, education, tourism, and conservation efforts all intersect into one goal - to protect, preserve, and promote the landscape in which we live, work, and play.
The nature center is one of the centerpiece projects funded by the Polk County Water and Land Legacy bond referendum which was approved in 2012 by a 72% majority of voters. It is a $10 million dollar project that has $5 million dollars in bond proceeds allocated. Grants and fundraising from corporations, individuals, and foundations will make up the balance of the funding required.
Located within the very popular Jester Park, the nature center will be just inside a new park entrance on the west side off NW 128th St. The site is on a restored prairie and wetland, overlooks mature woodland and the newly renovated Discovery Pond, and is connected to the nearby Saylorville Reservoir. A comprehensive nature trail system will connect the center to nearby popular attractions such as rental cabins, picnic shelters, bird blind, elk and bison exhibit, and a natural playscape. The building will offer many lessons in sustainable construction.
The two floors of the nature center have complementary but different design approaches. The upper level will be social and relaxed, with opportunities to display local art and areas of natural resources interpretation. The lower level will be more kid-focused, with exciting hands-on interactive displays including a live animal exhibit area.
The Outdoor Recreation & Wellness Center will sit adjacent to the nature center, providing a regional hub for public education in outdoor skills and wellness, outdoor physical activities for schools, and collaborations between organizations with shared goals for public health.
Fundraising efforts for this public/private partnership project are in full force through the end of 2016 to secure the remaining dollars needed to bring this project to reality. Project construction will begin in early 2017. The Grand Opening of the Jester Park Nature Center is anticipated for Earth Day 2018.
To stay on top of the latest information and to become part of this landmark opportunity in our community, make this project your own by visiting www.jesterparknaturecenter.com. Support the Jester Park Nature Center today!
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will relax fishing regulations at Easter Lake in Polk County starting on June 1st, 2016, to allow anglers to more freely harvest game fish before the lake is renovated in 2017.
Anglers with a valid fishing license will be allowed to harvest any size or number of largemouth bass, channel catfish, and all other fish species from Easter Lake. Any number of fishing poles or jug fishing will be allowed. Anglers must remain in sight of these lines at all times, and follow all other fishing regulations and area rules. Trot lines will be allowed (name and address must be attached), however lines may not be set across the entire water body. It is illegal to sell fish or stock captured fish into public waters. Please note that due to the dredging pipe and dredge being in the lake, Polk County Conservation will not allow any boating activities on the lake during this project.
Plans to eliminate undesirable fish species, such as gizzard shad and common carp are part of a plan to further improve the lake’s water quality and recreational opportunities.
Liberalized fishing regulations for Easter Lake will remain in effect from June 1st, 2016 through June 1st, 2017. Specific regulation changes include:
• Removal of bag and length limit restrictions on largemouth bass.
• Removal of bag limit on walleye.
• Removal of bag limit on channel catfish.
• Removal of bag limit on crappie and bluegill.
• Removal of the two line/two hook fishing restriction, however anglers must still adhere to the being within visual sight of the lines.
It is very important that anglers never transport and release common carp or any fish species into any water body. Gizzard shad and common carp populations in Easter Lake have reduced game fish populations, decreased water quality and limited fishing activity. All lake water from live wells and bait buckets must be drained before you leave the boat ramp.
For more information contact Iowa DNR Fisheries Biologist Ben Dodd at 641-891-3795.