Brenton Slough

In partnership with Polk County Conservation and the Brenton Family, INHF has purchased 1,113 acres located in Polk and Dallas counties commonly called the Brenton Slough. In an area undergoing rapid change and growth, conservation of properties with existing quality wildlife habitat, especially such a large parcel, is a rare opportunity.

32 members of the Brenton family have come together to sell a piece of their family history in order to preserve the Brenton Slough. “Ken’s and my family have owned [Brenton Slough] together since the ‘90s,” said Bill Brenton. “We wanted to make it into a park, keep it as natural as we can and keep as much of the wildlife as we can. It is important to us to preserve the naturalness, the rustic-ness of it. We wanted to preserve this forever and this is a great way to do it.” Learn more about the Brenton family's decision to sell and more about the Brenton Slough in this blog post.

With the purchase and eventual transfer to Polk County Conservation, the land will continue to attract bird enthusiasts and other nature lovers in perpetuity. It will serve as a quiet place to escape, a field trip venue and maybe even a scenic route to ride or walk between Granger and Grimes.

INHF hopes to raise $8 million from public support and grant funding in partnership with Polk County Conservation. “Public show of support is crucial in leveraging fundraising at the state and federal level,” said Heather Jobst, Senior Land Protection Facilitator at INHF. “A donor campaign will increase our chances at scoring well and leveraging these competitive dollars.” 

Features of Brenton Slough

  • Unique and varied habitats

    The main body of water on the property meets the national definition of a slough — one of only fifteen mapped as such in Iowa. Altogether there are 52 acres of water that are usually stagnant or flowing based on seasonal moisture. The site also has existing savanna and woodland habitats.

  • Wildlife hotspot

    The slough and other water bodies on the site are a mecca for migratory birds, amphibians and other wildlife. Sandhill Cranes have nested at Brenton Slough, endangered turtle species have been documented on-site and numerous other wildlife species thrive at the Slough. Over 200 bird species have been identified. See the full list

  • Urban oasis

    In two of the fastest growing counties in Iowa, it is rare to find and be able to preserve large expanses of natural areas. Brenton Slough is near the Des Moines metro, between Grimes and Granger.

  • Polk County Conservation is finalizing their plans for Brenton Slough with the goal of maintaining and improving the wildlife habitat on the site. “We will let it thrive on its own where appropriate, and in other areas we’ll carefully manage the land to restore or improve it," said Rich Leopold, director of Polk County Conservation. "It’s a vibrant, wild place we get to experience right here.”

Currently, plans include mowed hiking paths, infrastructure for birders and volunteer and educational events. A mixed-use trail connecting Grimes and Granger is also likely. 

Map of Brenton Slough

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