128 acre addition to Bruggeman Park - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

128 acre addition to Bruggeman Park

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BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) - Black Hawk County publicly opened a new addition of conservation land, increasing the prairie and marshland in Bruggeman Park by 128 acres.

The green space protects the Wapsipinicon River, the surrounding land and the natural habitat.  It is designated as a bird conservation area by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  But it will be open for hunting and general recreational use.

This addition makes the conservation area a total of 367 acres in Black Hawk County.

"One of the goals of the state of Iowa is to keep common animals common.  Keep common plants common and you do that by creating blocks of habitat," Black Hawk County Conservation Board Executive Director Vern Fish.

This block of habitat will provide a resting stop for cranes during migration and encourage rarer species to use it as a nesting spot.  The land was appealing to the conservation board because the land was already converted from farmland to prairie grass under the Conservation Reserve Program.

But also since the land could expand an already existing block of conserved land, this would provide the river with a more efficient buffer.

"There's more habitat.  You're protecting the water quality because you're protecting what's going on on the river adjacent to it.," Iowa National Heritage Foundation Land Projects Coordinator Heather Jobst said.

The property was originally bought by the Iowa National Heritage Foundation in November of 2007 from a private land owner until Black Hawk County could afford it.

Black Hawk County sought funds to pay back the $300,000 for the property through federal and state grants and Black Hawk County's allocated resource enhancement and protection money.

Fish says that the addition costs Black Hawk County residents nothing.

"It's a public area provides wildlife habitat and its still paying taxes to Black Hawk County.  That's a win, win, win situation," Fish said.

Online Producer: Jackie Manternach

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