The Polk County Conservation Board’s mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and long term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage.
Watch an overview video of Polk County Conservation here.
Members of the Conservation Board
Lance Northway, Jim Cataldo, Tom Levis, Diana Barrata and Mike Smith
The five members of the Polk County Conservation Board are appointed by the Polk County Board of Supervisors and meet on the second Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Board meetings, which are open to the public, are usually held at the Polk County Administration Building at 2nd Avenue and Court Avenue in downtown Des Moines. During summer months, the Conservation Board meetings are sometimes held at park locations.
See the Board Minutes and Agendas
The Polk County Conservation Board (PCCB) was created by the voters of Polk County in 1956 to acquire, develop, and maintain areas devoted to conservation and public recreation.
Based on the landmark 1955 County Conservation Law passed by the Iowa State Legislature, the 99 county conservation boards in Iowa have developed one of the most successful conservation programs in the United States. It is impossible to imagine what Polk County would be like without a Conservation Board.
The 20 park and wildlife areas managed today by PCCB are visited by more than 1.8 million people each year. These public recreation areas cover more than 13,400 acres in the state’s most populous county. Throughout the past decade, PCCB has devoted increasingly greater resources toward environmental education for Polk County residents.The environmental education staff presents conservation programs to more than 22,000 schoolchildren annually and offers more than 300 outdoor recreational programs to the public.
Land acquisition for recreational trails and greenbelts has become a priority, and will become increasingly important in the coming decade as the metropolitan population increases. One wildlife area, Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt, has grown from 1,621 acres in 1992 to over 8,000 acres today.
The Conservation Board is acquiring land to complete the 110-mile Central Iowa Trail Loop and continues to search out new areas in Polk County to attain and develop. Seventy-seven percent of the funding for Polk County Conservation Board comes from Polk County, as allocated by the Polk County Board of Supervisors, with the remainder coming from user fees as well as state, federal, and private sources.
The board is governed by five members appointed by the Polk County Board of Supervisors. Its mission is to provide the citizens of Polk County with quality outdoor recreation, conservation education, and the long-term protection of Polk County’s natural heritage. This effort is carried out by full-time and seasonal staff including Natural Resources Specialists, Foresters, Rangers, Environmental Educators, Administration and Support Staff, as well as hundreds of volunteers.