Storm-damaged wildlife area in Benton Co. to have timber sale - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Storm-damaged wildlife area in Benton Co. to have timber sale


More than a year after Benton County was hit by a devastating wind storm, the clean up in the Dudgeon Wildlife Area is still a work in progress.

It's located just across the Cedar River from Vinton.

When the 2011 windstorm hit, thousands of trees were knocked over or damaged.

Those damaged trees still lie where they fell more than a year ago.

Monday, the Iowa DNR held a public meeting to discuss clean up of the area.

Little has changed there from last summer.

Hundreds of trees are either uprooted, laying down, or damaged so badly they're bad for people and wildlife.

Normally, it's a two year process after a disaster for state officials to get it cleaned up but that may actually happen starting as soon as Oct. 1st - thanks to a timber sale.

"It's not for the purpose of making money, just try to salvage what's there, make it better for wildlife so that we can get back in and do some wildlife management, make it more opened up so users hunting or hiking can walk through there," said Tim Thompson, DNR Wildlife Management Biologist

At the meeting, DNR officials outlined the process.

The state will put the cleanup out for bids in two sections of a 500 acre area containing at least 2400 trees that can be logged or cut for firewood.

It could take as long as 2 years to finish.

After that, the DNR will have a better idea what to do with what's left behind.

Under state contracts, logging crews will have to meet with DNR officials before starting operations - which would only be permitted between Oct. 1 and Mar. 25.

"We want to make sure that when it's done, it's done good enough that when it's all over that we have good access for the public, we haven't destroyed some of the natural beauty of that area and the fact we have an opportunity to enhance it some. We got a lemon with that windstorm but we can try to make some lemonade with it if we get the authorities to help us get that done," said Marlyn Jorgensen of Benton County.

The DNR sets aside $3 per acre to manage wildlife areas in the state.

Cleanup to dudgeon lake will cost considerably more than that.

That's why salvage and clean-up operations are being bidded out to private companies.

DNR officials say all of the money made will go back into reforestation of that area.


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