G.R.A.S.S. Event Success
INHF statewide land stewardship interns worked in conjunction with The Nature Conservancy interns and Iowa Department of Natural Resources staff last month on an INHF project in Monona County.
“We had lots of hands and chainsaws, and we did some really good clearing and stacking of cedars,” said Tim Sproul, INHF Loess Hills Land Conservation Consultant. “For anyone enthusiastic about reclaiming native prairie and seeing the progress a group can make, it was a great day!”
The group teamed up as part of the Great Race Against Shrubs and Shade (G.R.A.S.S) event preceding the 2013 Loess Hills Prairie seminar. The annual pre-seminar activity was started in 1980 by Jean and Chad Eells and is currently organized by the Iowa DNR. G.R.A.S.S. focuses on ecological restoration in the Loess Hills, more specifically removing cedars and unwanted woody species from the prairie.
INHF land stewardship team has participated in G.R.A.S.S. for several years. This year, INHF staff and interns helped removed Eastern Red Cedar scattered throughout the Kessler Property, an INHF property that will eventually become part of the Loess Hills Wildlife Management Area owned by the Iowa DNR.
The property was chosen because it is an area near and dear to the interests of the Iowa DNR and INHF, and INHF staff and interns were a big part of the restoration crew, said Doug Chafa, Iowa DNR wildlife management biologist for the Missouri River unit.
The nearly 30 participants removed the trees scattered on the main prairie ridge to decrease shading that inhibits growth of prairie species. Once removed, the trees were piled in an area that was brome.
Erin Van Waus, INHF land stewardship director, captured the progress made by INHF land stewardship interns with a before and after photo.