Prescribed burn on prairie

Land Stewardship Practices

To ensure the long-term health of Iowa’s natural resources, INHF’s land stewardship team performs varied restoration and management practices on private, public and INHF-owned lands.


Management planning and implementation

INHF holds highly the wishes and intentions of previous or current landowners and marries our best land management practices with partner desires to best serve the land’s needs. INHF land stewardship staff work with private landowners, partners and other staff members to plan on-the-ground implementation of stewardship and restoration practices. The well being of the natural resources on each piece of land on which INHF works is our priority and influences how each project is uniquely managed.

Prescribed Fire

INHF uses prescribed fire on prairie, woodland and savanna landscapes as part of the management on our protected lands. Prescribed fire can be implemented for a variety of reasons, including increasing native diversity, woody vegetation control and boosting the overall health of our natural areas. Most prescribed fires happen during early spring (March-May), but the fall also offers a great opportunity to put fire on the landscape.

Invasive species control

Controlling invasive species is a top priority for INHF to ensure that healthy, native and diverse habitats thrive in Iowa. Invasive and non-native species have the potential to negatively impact our native habitats. Stewardship efforts are directed to monitoring and/or removing these species on certain projects.

Prairie reconstruction and seed harvest

Our prairie reconstruction projects aim to restore portions of Iowa’s once thriving prairie landscape. INHF annually harvests prairie seed for use in prairie reconstruction and restoration projects on permanently protected properties. We understand the need for highly diverse prairie seed, therefore we work to capture locally adapted seeds that will further our statewide prairie reconstruction goals. INHF staff and volunteers harvest seed by hand collection and by using an ATV seed harvester and a tractor-driven combine.


Land stewardship internship program

Each year we offer a unique opportunity for college students to participate in INHF’s stewardship efforts and programs. Our summer internship provides an important boost to our annual restoration goals, but also develops Iowa’s future conservation professionals, giving them a chance to learn valuable information and develop their skills. Learn more about the summer land stewardship internship. 


The INHF Blufflands staff conducts land stewardship activities in the far northeastern corner of the state. These activities are guided by the same philosophy and are accomplished with similar resources as those in the rest of the state. The dissected landscape of the blufflands region is rich with quality rivers, cold water trout streams, algific talus slopes, large tracts of woodland, hill prairies and diverse wildlife. Stewardship practices are often centered on protecting and enhancing these resources, some of which are unique in the state.

Volunteer program

The land stewardship staff partners with our volunteer program to connect INHF volunteers to the land through impactful restoration activities. Volunteers experience INHF lands and learn about conservation in Iowa while doing essential and meaningful work. Learn how to volunteer with INHF.