The Winneshiek County Conservation Board has been awarded a $255,569 grant from the State of Iowa's Resource Enhancement and Protection fund, commonly referred to as REAP.
The grant money will be used to expand the Dry Run Greenbelt through the purchase of 57 acres, linking together over 100 acres of uninterrupted, roadless public land. The property is under purchase agreement with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and is not yet open to the public as Winneshiek County Conservation prepares it for public use.
The property protects oak savanna, a globally rare ecosystem, woodlands, and prairies. The federally endangered rusty patched bumblebee has been documented on site, as have federally protected bald eagles, state-endangered northern harriers, and at least 24 other species listed as Iowa Species of Greatest Conservation Need.
The property will contain nearly a mile of the future Dry Run Trail. The purchase allows for the trail route to shift away from flood-prone sections of the creek corridor, reducing long-term maintenance costs for the trail.
The acquisition will help secure, protect, and restore native ecosystems along the lower end of Dry Run Creek and site plans allow for installation of several water-control structures in the Dry Run Creek and Upper Iowa River watersheds, improving water quality and providing increased flood protection for the City of Decorah.
For more information about the Dry Run project, visit the Winneshiek County Conservation website at: www.winneshiekwild.com.