Our Work in Story CountY
Public Lands We also continue to raise funds to assist Story County Conservation acquisitions of public land as the county's population grows and the demand for outdoor recreation grows even faster.
Currently, the Outdoor Alliance of Story County is raising funds for Story County Conservation to acquire the Deppe Family Conservation Area. The Deppe acquisition will add 127 acres of upland wildlife habitat adjacent to McFarland Park’s 238 acres of existing habitat. The Deppe acquisition includes timber, a small stream, and more than 90 acres of open field which can be restored to prairie. Plans include trail links to McFarland Park.
Partnering: Family Fun with Monarch Magic at Ada Hayden Heritage Park Prairie Rivers of Iowa and Story County Conservation were two of many groups, including the Outdoor Alliance, that worked together to make this event possible. The weather did its part too and there was a great turnout of families, staff and the volunteers
that make so much possible. Most attendees were from Story County. "Monarch Passports” were marked as the
families made their journey that day. Raising Readers passed out books; Monarch butterflies were tagged; children navigated an obstacle course as if they were a butterfly trying to avoid all of the ways a butterfly can get hurt; and in the process, families spent time with their children having fun outside and learning about the great Monarch Butterflies’ migration to Central America.
Trails A current on-going project is raising funds for one of the newest trail in Story County: The Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor Trail on the south side of Ames. Contributions can be made at Tedesco Corridor Trail.
Service Projects Some of he Outdoor Alliance's service projects include planting bushes and trees at Dakins Lake, seed collecting at Hickory Grove Park, invasive species management, tire and trash collecting.
Sometimes this trash is in our waterways. The Outdoor Alliance provides support for volunteers cleaning up a section of a creek, river or access area. Expect to be tired, wet and dirty and to feel good about what you have helped to do. Waterway cleanup partners have included the city of Ames, Prairie Rivers of Iowa, the local Skunk River Paddlers and Story County Conservation. Photos and a brief summary by Dan Haug at Prairie Rivers of Iowa of the fall 2021 cleanup are included at Ioway Cleanup.
Reconnecting the River Though it looks different with all of the large rocks, the dam in Ames's North River Valley Park continues to recharge the aquifer. Ames relies on this aquifer for its water supply. The rocks breaks the dangerous downstream currents of the originally designed dam. The rocks reconnect the upper section of the river to the lower section supporting wildlife and enhances recreation. Read more at Reconnecting the South Skunk River.
The water flowing over the rocks is aerated and better supports aquatic habitat too. Where similar dams have been modified for both habitat and recreation, the fishing improved. The rocks also create a way for paddlers to pass downstream on the South Skunk River Water Trail and enjoy a new whitewater play spot locally.
Ames redesigned North River Valley Park dam was made possible by its partners. Locally, the City of Ames, Story County Conservation, the Skunk River Paddlers, generous individuals and the Outdoor Alliance supported this project. There were also statewide groups that made this project possible: the Iowa DNR, Hawkeye Fly Fishing Association, Iowa River Revival and Iowa White Water Coalition.
The redesigned dam also makes the river more inviting. The sound of the water cascading over the rocks is an invitation to take a moment at the waters edge.
Other Projects There is more going on too, including our on-going presentations with the Ames Public Library and other partners; Ames Reads Leopold, a community and nationwide celebration of conservation; winter hikes to break up cabin fever and explore public land; supporting Story County Conservation and Prairie Rivers of Iowa's water monitoring initiative highlighted on their website; and, supporting Story County Conservation's annual Wild Women of the Woods environmental education and recreation program.