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Great River, Great Road

By Julie Ohde, LCCB Executive Director The past few weeks I've been following a blog by a group of Canadians and one Australian who are traveling on the Mississippi River from the headwaters in Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. That got me thinking about the river that defines the eastern border of Louisa County. Many of us take for granted that the fourth longest river in the world flows in our backyard. Others travel from across the country, and around the world, to see it. The visitor's log at Toolesboro Indian Mounds and Museum typically records visitors from 30 different states and about ten foreign countries. Most aren't actually traveling on the river, they are following the Great River Road and stopping at attractions along the way. And there are a lot of attractions to be seen along a 2552-mile river that runs the length of the country and forms boundaries for ten states. The Mississippi River Parkway Commission (MRPC) is a multi-state organization established in 1938 to preserve, promote, and enhance the scenic, historic, and recreational resources of the Mississippi River. The MRPC works to foster economic growth in the corridor and develop the national, scenic and historic parkway known as the Great River Road. A few years ago the MRPC recognized 62 museums and historic sites as official Great River Road interpretive centers. The Toolesboro site is included in that network. In a few years, we hope to add another local site to the network as the Louisa Interpretive Center at Langwood continues to develop. The idea is that visitors (and local residents) will stop at the center to learn about all the wonderful natural and historic resources they'll want to visit as well. Currently, we may be best known for having the only stretch of gravel on the Great River Road, but that will change when paving is completed in 2012. We are also the only county in Iowa without a town along the river. That, of course, won't change but that's okay because we have what others may not have: peace and quiet, shoreline without development and abundant natural resources. If you've never purposely traveled the Great River Road (Louisa County Roads X61 & 99), you should. Check out Toolesboro Indian Mounds (the grounds are open year round), stop at Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge overlook to see migrating waterfowl, and end your trip with a visit to Flaming Prairie to see the wetland and natural playground.

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Lake Calvin Creature Feature Upcoming Events Say "No" to Bottled Water Book Review


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Louisa County Conservation Louisa Development Group Iowa DNR Fish & Wildlife Service Soil and Water Conservation Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation

EDITED BY Mallory Smith Julie Ohde


From the Editors

It's been a year since we created the Naturally Louisa County Newsletter. The idea was to bring together information about the events, organizations, businesses, people and species that make living in Louisa County special...naturally. We hope you find the newsletters pleasing and we welcome your suggestions to make them better. Putting out a quarterly newsletter is no small task--fun and interesting though it may be. It's also a bit like cleaning closets in that getting started can be the hardest part. And like cleaning closets, at some point you find yourself surrounded by more than you think you can possibly fit in and find yourself rearranging, consolidating...but that wasn't the point of the closet analogy. We've found that getting started is easier if we have a theme. Last issue, as gardens were at their peak, farmers markets bustling and everyone was cooking with zucchini we focused on local food. miles of river in Louisa County This go `round we chose rivers. That was well before the fall rains came and filled them, making them the lead topic over morning coffee. Rivers are integral to life and livelihood in Louisa County. We challenged ourselves and our contributors to take a broad look at the subject and have come up with a closet full of interesting articles. For the methodical readers (whose closets are probably always neat!) we recommend you start your reading with a historical perspective. On page3 we include an article about Lake Calvin (that you're more likely to have driven through than boated on). Then wrap up your reading with a focus on the future. Read about youth adventures on the river in Outdoor Adventure Club interview on page 13, part of the ongoing Reflections project. To complete the closet analogy, there are a few random items - articles in this case - that don't really go with the theme, but were too good to let go. On page 11 you can find out how to track down the phantom energy your appliances are using and learn why you should kick the bottled water habit. Good information about living well, naturally.

Editors:Julie Ohde & Mallory Smith

Thank you!

Many thanks to everyone who has lent a hand in the last few months with donations and volunteer help.

Halloween Hike Alex Fry Angie Mills Bailey Wonders Andy, Becky, Alex & Collin Beaver Boys Scouts Pack 16 Bryant Orchard Carol Hinkle Corbin Mears Debbie Snyder Doris Harris Dustin Schneider Michelle Humphrey Molly Willson Genna Knutson Mike Jurgill Megan Yotter Patricia Hamann Tammy Noble Wapello Casey's Wapello 5th Grade Tessa Pugh Kathy Wilkerson Kim Dusek Lacy Smith TEECH Home School Group Sean, Ed & Corbin Mears Morning Sun 4th, 5th & 6th Kathy Vance Hill Top Greenhouse Hy-Vee Drugstore, Muscatine Jacob Hamilton Jess Polley John & Joellen Schantz John Dale L-M 5th Grade Maddie Dean Winfield 4-H Hunter Safety Tom Campbell Eric Tackenberg Doug Brown Jay Shafer Dave Boysen Jerry Heater Greg Terry Terry Nims Flaming Prairie Makeover Paula Buckman Megan Yotter Tyson Foods Hahn Ready Mix Quint City Stone Stan & Lynn Staats Venture Crew 007 Kathy Wilkerson Kathy & Michael Vance BSA Troop# 54 BSA Troop# 67 Andy, Becky, Alex & Collin Beaver Mallory Smith Karen Minnis Youth Pheasant Hunt Native Feeds Scheel's All Sports NAVHDA Bud & Colton Stephens Dave Boysen Randy & Vicki Meester David Arnold Louisa County Gun Club Mick Friedel Bob Doerres Rich Runge Jeff Hinke Eric Strackbein Will Tremont Jerome Houtekier Mary Burkett Greg Terry Bobbi Benson Doug Brown VDD-GNA NADKC



Historic Lake Calvin

Somewhere in the dim past of prehistoric times, most of the area from Columbus Junction to Iowa City formed the bed of Iowa's largest known lake. Picture, if you can, a V-shaped lake extending from Iowa City to Columbus Junction in an arm five or more miles wide and a second arm extending from Columbus Junction to Durant with a width of up to seven miles. This is the extent of Lake Calvin, long extinct but still the subject of discussion among geologists. The lake was formed by waters of the Mississippi River that were forced from their channel during the third glacial period, or Illinoian period. The great ice sheet slowly moved southward across the continent, crossed the Mississippi south of Clinton and blocked the main channel of that river, at the mouth of the Wapsipinicon River. Water backed up behind the glacier until it finally found an outlet just northeast of Durant spilling over a low divide into the valley of the Cedar River. This forced the Mississippi to a new channel about 25 miles west of the original. But the Cedar River also was blocked by ice where it joined the Iowa at what is now Columbus Junction. Water from the Mississippi, Maquoketa, Wapsipinicon, Cedar and Iowa Rivers then joined into one huge pool trapped by high ground near Columbus Junction. It was a body of water large enough to have reached depths of over 80 feet in areas over current day Iowa City, and deeper in other parts. The pool was then further expanded by water melting from the edge of the glacier. Geologists have determined that it reached its highest level at about 720 feet above sea level before breaking through a bluff just west of Columbus Junction and seeking a new course to the present Mississippi River south of Ft. Madison. After the lake finally broke through at Columbus Junction, it eroded a channel some 20 feet deep through the bluffs and the lake finally leveled off at about 700 feet above sea level. The lake is believed to have existed about 1,000 centuries ago, long before human life is known in the Iowa area. The lake probably remained for 130,000 years, or until the approach of the fourth great ice sheet, the Iowan lobe of the Wisconsin.

Taken from an article by Bill Matthews, Sr. in the "Louisa County Bus Tour Book" published by the Louisa County Historical Society. Thanks to Frank Best for finding and editing it for this newsletter. Find more great stories in LOUISA'S hiSTORY, a quarterly publication available by subscription. For more information call 319-527-5247.

Creature Feature: American Eel

Perhaps one of the most interesting, but least wellknown, creatures found in the Mississippi River is the American eel. All American eel are part of a single breeding population that spawns in only one place in the world ­ the Sargasso Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. From there, young eels drift with ocean currents and then migrate inland into streams, rivers and lakes, including the Mississippi. This journey may take many years to complete with some eels traveling as far as 3,700 miles. After reaching these freshwater bodies, they feed and mature for 5 to 20 years before migrating back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. Eels look like snakes with their long, thin, legless bodies. However, they are fish with fins for swimming and gills for breathing. They can also take in oxygen through their skin, making them able to journey onto land for short periods of time. The eel prefers fairly deep, mud-bottom waters where they feed at night on insects, fish, fish eggs, worms, clams and frogs. Weight rarely exceeds a couple of pounds, but some individuals may reach a maximum of six feet long and weigh l0 to l5 pounds. Eels can cover their bodies with a mucous layer, making them very hard to capture by hand -- "slippery as an eel" is more than just a figure of speech! In Iowa, most eel caught in commercial fishing operations are incidental to other species and are not often eaten. In other parts of the world, eels are considered a delicacy and are even raised in eel farms. Even though the eel is uncommon in its Iowa range (which also includes large tributaries of the Mississippi), it does not appear to be declining in recent years.



AmeriCorps Outreach

The latest AmeriCorps member to join LCC is Nathan Quarderer. Nate received his B.S. in Physics and Astronomy from the University of Iowa in December 2005 and is currently finishing his M.S. in Civil & Environmental Engineering, from the U of I. So far, his favorite part of working with LCC environmental education staff is learning about the outdoor wonders Louisa County has to offer, right alongside the folks who attend our programs. Nate will serve with AmeriCorps through August 2010. AmeriCorps is a national organization that offers opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve their communities. LCCB will be looking for two six-month AmeriCorps members to work with the natural resources staff beginning in March 2010.

Volunteers at the makeover couldn't wait to try out the natural playground they helped build.

Flaming Prairie Makeover

With the help of more than 40 volunteers, rocks were moved, trees trimmed and parking lot posts installed at the conservation board's third "Extreme Makeover" event. After about six hours of hard work on September 26, Flaming Prairie Park now boasts a cool, new playground made up of boulders, logs and sand, a scenic view of the wetland and a safer playing space. There is work yet to be done--a boardwalk into the wetland, painting, and electric upgrades--but park visitors are already enjoying the new amenities. Major sponsors for the event include Monsanto, Muscatine Foods Corporation, Community Foundation of Louisa County, Louisa Communications, Heuer Construction, Wapello Kiwanis and United Fund of Columbus Junction.

Nate in a skit at the 2009 Halloween Hike

FY2009 Annual Report

The Louisa County Conservation Board's annual report of activities for July 1, 2008 - June 30, 2009 shows camping numbers have doubled and more than 8,400 people were reached with environmental education programs. The complete report is available at or from the LCC office.


12635 County Road G56, Suite 101 Wapello, IA 52653 319-523-8381 Fax:319-527-2131

OFFICE HOURS Monday - Friday, 10 am -3 pm Other times by chance or appointment

[email protected]

Operations Supervisor Jeff Snyder Park Ranger/Technician Kenny Moore Toolesboro Interpreters Rachel Kelley Katie Walker Board Members Roger Edwards, Columbus Junction Brad Moss, Wapello Dave Schweitzer, Columbus Junction Jay Schweitzer, Columbus Junction Stan Staats, Wapello

Executive Director Julie Ohde Environmental Ed Coordinator Katie Hammond Naturalist Kathy Dice Office Manager Mary Gish


LOUISA DEVELOPMENT GROUP Naturally Louisa Business Highlight:

Barnyard Blooms

By Mallory Smith, Tri-Rivers Executive Director Foliage changes with the seasons as do gardening tasks and gifting opportunities. To keep with the natural flow of things, Grandviews's Barnyard Blooms changes, too. In the spring their hours start to lengthen and the inventory builds up as planting season begins. Summer brings more attention to landscaping as well as clients looking for advice about how to deal with insects, fungus and other horticulture challenges. In the fall the gardening side begins to wind down, gift shopping starts to pick up and the corn maze, pumpkin sales and camp fires keep owners Nicole and Bryce Hoben very busy. The winter season begins with the bustle of Christmas shopping and then transitions into much-needed time for planning, ordering, rearranging displays and even a little time off. Barnyard Blooms opened two years ago. This multifaceted business is a fitting undertaking for a young Louisa County couple. Nicole Hoben, who you will see most frequently at the shop, is the daughter of Jim and Jeanne Mott, both successful entrepreneurs. Nicole studied Landscape, Nursery, Garden Center Management at Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids and worked in Muscatine before becoming a business owner. Bryce Hoben comes from an accomplished Louisa County farm family. Barnyard Blooms and the corn maze are located on a corner of land they work. The business is considered "agritourism" and as such gives city dwellers the chance to take a close look at farming and ask questions such as "Is that all sweet corn?" (about the many acres of maize in the corn maze and beyond).

Nicole and Bryce's business brought new life to a 90 year old barn which serves as their garden center, gift shop and office. It also has done much for retail in Grandview and Louisa County. Purchases that before would mean a trip out of county now can be conveniently made closer to home...with gift wrapping and gardening advice thrown in! Barnyard Blooms has been the source of plants for various master gardener projects including the welcome signs in Wapello, the new jail and the fire station in Columbus Junction. And Nicole regularly makes presentations to Master Gardener groups. The corn maze draws field trips, church groups and families from the area, as well as over an hour away. The gift shop and garden center has it's loyal following and also serves as a stopping point for people exploring the Great River Road. They frequently have day trippers asking about Langwood, Red Fern Farm, JD's Irish Ivy, Plant and Things, and Just 2 Moms, as well as the area restaurants. Barnyard Blooms keeps a guest book and in it are visitors from as far away as Finland and Germany. Barnyard Blooms keeps Nicole and Bryce busy and happily thinking up new ideas. On the agenda for 2010 are a garden tour, ladies night out and of course, a new corn maze design. Visit the website for seasonal hours.

Al Muhlenbruck, Board Chair 319-527-5182 [email protected] Official tourism contact for Louisa County Member of Eastern Iowa Tourism Association

Barnyard Blooms

Garden Center and Gift Shop 337 Cemetery Lane / 148th St. Grandview, IA 52752 319-729-2222



Fisheries Management

By Chad Dolan, IDNR Fisheries Biologist The Iowa Department of Natural Resources' (IDNR) Lake Darling Fisheries Management Unit staff includes myself and Vance Polton, Fisheries Technician. Stationed at Lake Darling State Park in Brighton, we manage fishable waters throughout a ten-county district in southeast Iowa, including Louisa County. One of the fisheries unit's main tasks includes conducting fish surveys on public waters, including those under the jurisdiction of the city, county, or state, to assess the status of sport fish populations. Fisheries in lakes, ponds, and interior rivers/streams within the district are all managed or monitored by the unit. Species of management interest include largemouth bass, bluegill, redear sunfish, and channel catfish. Length, weight, and frequency data are collected from fish samples in order to assess size structure and condition of the population. If problems are identified, we may respond by implementing a new regulation (e.g., a minimum length limit). In some instances, the problem may be a result of limited habitat; and we may recommend adding woody structure or rock to a lake or pond to provide fish a place to hide, feed, or spawn. Another important aspect of the unit's duties includes watershed and lake restoration. One example of this is the restoration work at Lake Darling in

Washington County, aimed at improving and maintaining excellent water quality. Fish populations are maximized in terms of growth, health, and density when excellent water quality conditions persist. Other tasks performed by the fisheries unit include: sharing information with the public regarding farm pond management, maintaining fish populations through stocking activities (e.g., channel catfish), investigating fish kills, conducting fishing clinics and workshops, providing fisheries expertise to local public entities, compiling weekly fishing reports, monitoring of winter dissolved oxygen levels in district lakes and ponds, supporting efforts of stream watershed projects, and maintaining fisheries sampling gear. It's hard to summarize all of the diverse activities of the Lake Darling Fisheries Management Unit. We have a vested interest in so many different facets of society (e.g., agriculture, urban sprawl, industry) that affect water quality, and ultimately, sport fish, nongame fishes, reptiles, and amphibians that inhabit state waters. In addition, we often answer questions from the public about fisheries issues. Call us at 319-694-2430.


Wildlife Biologist Bill Ohde 319-523-8319 [email protected] Fisheries Biologist Chad Dolan 319-694-2430 [email protected]



Forester Lisa Louck 319-523-2216 [email protected]

Conservation Officer Tom Campbell 563-260-1223 [email protected] Environmental Protection Dennis Ostwinkle 319-653-2135 [email protected]



Flood Recovery Program

By Ron Knopik, Wildlife Refuge Specialist Though the floods of 2008 have come and gone, Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge continues to repair flood damaged infrastructure and wildlife habitat devastated by last years' disaster. Assisting the refuge in this effort are dislocated workers employed through the Emergency Public Jobs (EPJ) program of Iowa. This program, funded by a $17 million National Emergency Grant to the State, has provided temporary employment and training to over 170 Iowans since June of 2008. As one of eleven worksites in Region 16 of the EPJ (Des Moines, Henry, Lee, and Louisa counties), Port Louisa has hosted a crew since March of this year which may continue until June of 2010. In the past seven months, the crew has helped with flood repair efforts such as: repair ditch crossings, replace kiosks, signs, and viewing platforms, gravel and grade service roads, and perform corrective maintenance on ditches and water control structures. These repairs allow for quality public uses as well as staff access and management capability to portions of the refuge adversely impacted by floodwaters. Future projects include public parking lot repairs, lake crossing rehabilitation, trail maintenance, and additional flood debris clean-up. Visitors to the fishing pier on the Louisa Division may have noticed the work done to clean-out and riprap the Odessa inlet channel. Over the course of three weeks, the EPJ crew operated bulldozers, backhoes, tractors, and dump trucks to repair damage done by last years' flooding. Since EPJ is a training program, crew members are receiving training related to refuge maintenance as it pertains to flood recovery. These equipment skills are further developed through on-the-job training during the course of their temporary placement. The refuge and community continue to benefit from this highly successful partnership between the State of Iowa and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Iowans are employed, refuge infrastructure is repaired and habitat management capability is restored.

Refuge Reminders

Hunting and ice fishing are popular activities in the fall and winter on the refuge but vary by division. For details on special regulations, call 319-523-6982 or visit Big Timber Division · Fishing is allowed all year* · Hunting is allowed per state regulations Horseshoe Bend Division · Fishing is allowed from Dec 1-Sep 14* · Closed to migratory bird hunting at all times · Upland game and deer hunting allowed after December 1 but special regulations apply Louisa Division · Most of the refuge is closed Sep 15 - Jan 30, but in some areas, fishing is allowed all year * · Closed to all hunting *Fishing devices must be removed at the end of each day's fishing


Emergency Public Jobs workers helped repair the Rush Lake crossing at Horseshoe Bend Division of Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge.

10728 Cty Rd X61 Wapello, Iowa 52653 319-523-6982



Youth ages 4-7 Tuesday, December 29, 10:00 a.m. - noon Youth ages 7-12 Wednesday, December 30 9:00 am ­11:30 am OR 12:30 pm-3:00 pm Langwood Education Center Cost: $10 Here's a chance to get the kids out of the house for some outdoor fun over winter break. We will visit the pond, the bird blind, make bird feeders, play games and do crafts. Pre-registration required by Dec 21

Youth Ice Fishing

Saturday, January 30, 11:00 am - 2:00 pm Cost: $5/family This cool event features education sessions on ice safety and conservation. Participants will also make ice fishing poles to use and take home. Prizes will be awarded for catching the most fish, the biggest fish, the smallest fish and much more. No child will leave without a prize! Registration fees include a National Wild Turkey Federation JAKES (youth) membership for each child. Lunch, drinks and hot cocoa are also provided. This day of fun in the outdoors is sponsored by Louisa County Conservation and the Louisa Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation JAKES program. JAKES stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship. Registration is available by calling 319-523-8381, online at, or by emailing [email protected] Everyone who pre-registers by January 25 will be entered into a drawing for a Jakes pocket knife.

Ikes Fish Fry Nights

Saturdays: January 16, February 20 & March 20 Fish served starting at 6:00 pm Ikes Club House, County Rd X-61, Wapello Bring the whole family to see the new Ikes building, eat a good supper and support conservation efforts. A $9 donation gets you all the fish you can eat, plus a beverage and sides. FYI for those who have attended in the past - by the first fish fry, the indoor bathrooms should be finished!

Looking Ahead . . .

Take a look at programs coming up in February, March and beyond ...

Unless otherwise stated, all registration and program information for upcoming events can be found by calling 319-523-8381 or by visiting

Pheasants Forever Banquet: February 6, 2010 Tri-Rivers Auction: February 27, 2010 Earth Day River Cleanup: April 24, 2010

family reunions birthday parties church retreats youth groups weddings

Get away from it all in a beautiful natural setting! 319.523.8381


306 North Second Street Wapello, Iowa 526531204 3195232131


Environment Education Photos

Summer and fall events at Louisa County Conservation included: (top to bottom): Louisa County Fair Exhibit: Native American Life; Youth Pheasant Hunt and Morning Sun Summer Rec.

Moonlight Paddle

By Nate Quarderer, AmeriCorps member Under the light of a full moon, LCC naturalist Katie Hammond and I led a group of roughly 40 canoers and kayakers on a tour of the Odessa Wildlife Complex on September 4.The tour began at 9:00 p.m, departing from the boat landing at Shaffer's access. After paddling across the main lake, we headed east through the lateral ditch, before entering Swarms Pond. But, we weren't the only ones out on the water on that particular night! Paddlers were greeted by beavers leaping off the banks and hitting the water with a huge splash. Many members of the tour were also surprised by all of the carp activity. I'll never forget that feeling of having a big ol' fish swimming under my canoe and swatting at my paddle with its tail. The sounds of geese honking away, while beating their wings against the surface of the water ,was another highlight of the trip. While we weren't able to get up close and personal with our feathered friends, listening to them from across the lake was enough to make you feel at home with your surroundings. After a quick paddle across Swarms Pond, the group was forced to turn around as those busy beavers had constructed a barricade across the entrance into Bebee Pond. As one of my first events as a member of the LCC staff, I couldn't think of a better way to get my feet wet (literally) and prepare me for the next year in Louisa County. The moonlight paddle was the last of four Louisa County paddles in 2009 but we have six more planned for 2010. We look forward to seeing you on the water!

Roy-El Motel

405 Highway 61 South Wapello, Iowa 319-523-2111



227 N Main Wapello, Iowa 319-523-2341 Pat & Gladys Murphy, owners

134 Main St Columbus Junction, IA 52738 (319) 728-2436



Mid Contract Management FAQ's

If you have ground enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) you have heard the term Mid Contract Management (MCM). MCM is the disturbance of CRP acres to improve wildlife habitat, help control woody vegetation, and to help provide habitat for declining species. How does MCM help improve habitat? Managing plant communities is beneficial if not essential for less mobile animal species such quail & pheasants. Maintaining an early successional component of your seeding will greatly improve the amount of wildlife that will utilize your CRP acres. What are my MCM options? Burning, disking, spraying, interseeding, managed haying or grazing or a combination. How do I know if I need MCM on my CRP acres? If you are scheduled to do MCM the Farm Service Agency (FSA) will notify you by letter. Once you have been notified you should stop by the NRCS office to work up a plan. Fall is the perfect time to start preparing for your MCM work. When should I do my MCM? It depends on what practice you have chosen. For burning, you should prepare fire breaks (disk or mow) in the fall and burn the following spring. Spraying should be done when the vegetation is actively growing (Aug 2 ­ Oct 15 or April 1 ­ May 14). For more information on how to improve habitat on your property stop by the NRCS office or give us a call at 319-523-6411.

Wetland Field Day

Louisa County Natural Resource Conservation Service and the Soil & Water Conservation District hosted a Wetland Field Day on September 23, 2009. The Field Day was geared towards the owners of land enrolled in the Wetland Reserve Program (WRP) or land soon to be enrolled in the Emergency Watershed Program ­ Floodplain Easement (EWP-FPE), a program offered after the flooding of 2008. Topics included a history of WRP and EWP, funding a wetland easement's restoration plan, native grasses and prescribed fire, tree planting, brush management, water level management and water control structures, and wetland plants. Thanks to our contributors for helping to make our field day a success: Louisa County Conservation Board; Bill Patterson, private landowner; Randy Robb, NRCS Area Easement Specialist; Kevin Anderson, IDNR Private Lands Biologist; Bill Ohde, IDNR Wildlife Biologist; Lisa Louck, IDNR Forester; Tom Cox, Port Louisa Refuge Manager; and Matt Fisher, The Nature Conservancy.


260 Mulberry St., Suite 2, Wapello, Iowa 52653 319-523-6411 Fax: 319-523-3605 [email protected] District Conservationist Drew DeLang Soil Conservationist Jonathan Matz Buffer/Conservation Technician Duane Lewis Soil Conservation Technicians Norman Stone Chris Bradley Wetland Restoration Technician Kristen Ellis District Secretary Jamie Grimes SWCD Commissioners Mary Boysen, Wapello Sam Willson, Wapello Chris Ball, Oakville Dan Vogeler, Columbus Junction Lee Harris, Morning Sun



What Are Your Appliances Costing?

By Kathy Vance, ISU Extension Louisa County

Saying "NO" to Bottled Water

In 2004, worldwide sales of bottled water totaled 41 billion gallons. 41 Billion!! There's a lot of plastic left over once 41 billion gallons of water is consumed, much of it in 8 or 12-ounce containers. And almost 90 percent of water bottles end up in the trash or on the ground, not in recycling bins. Then there is all the oil that goes into producing those bottles. Making bottles to meet Americans' demand alone requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 U.S. cars for a year. Shipping the water across the country, or importing from overseas, uses additional gasoline and diesel fuel. While there are parts of the world where there is no safe tap water to drink, most U.S. consumers are buying bottled water for the convenience. We're willing to pay a hefty price for that convenience, sometimes as high as $15 per gallon for 8-12 oz containers. Some cities and businesses have quit supplying water for their events. Louisa County Conservation is one. Starting with the 2009 Running Wild Trail Race, the LCC is officially "water bottle free." Instead coolers with water will be available for participants to refill their own reusable bottles. On a personal level, the solution is even easier: Buy a reusable water bottle (or two), fill it from your tap and tote it along.

Find out without spending a dime!

Ever wonder how much energy a specific appliance in your home uses? What about your refrigerator, video games, dehumidifier, portable electric heaters or other electronic devices? Did you know that old fridge in your garage could be costing you as much as $175 a year in energy costs? Now, through the combined efforts of ISU Extension and the Iowa Energy Center, you can measure the energy used by each of these appliances with an Electricity Usage Meter (EUM) available for check-out from the Louisa County Extension office. Simply plug the meter into any household outlet and plug your 120V appliance into the meter. The monitor will display how much electricity is being consumed, regardless of whether the appliance is turned on or off. This easy-to-use, plug-in device calculates voltage, amperage, wattage, run time and total kilowatt-hours of electricity consumed, allowing you to identify which appliances are costing you the most to run and helping you save money. The meter comes complete with operating instructions and methods to calculate the cost of energy consumed by the appliance once the kilowatthour measurement is obtained. County residents can borrow a meter free of charge for a one week time period. Simply stop by the Extension office in Wapello or call 319-523-2371 to "check-out" a meter for use in your home.

Free Water Bottle

Here's a happy coincidence you can say "no" to bottled water AND help protect the Mississippi River. If you sign up as a river citizen at the 1 Mississippi River Campaign, they will send you a free stainless steel water bottle. Visit their website at:

It's easy! Just plug the meter into a wall outlet and then plug your appliance into the meter. (Or use a heavy duty extension cord if your outlet is in a hard to reach place.)



When The Mississippi Ran Backwards: Empire, Intrigue, Murder, and the New Madrid Earthquakes

Reviewed by: Cathy Crawford , Columbus Junction Public Library People who live in Southeast Iowa have an understanding of rivers. Early settlements grew into towns and cities because of the rivers. We have an appreciation for the beauty and use of rivers and we know all too well how quickly Mother Nature can turn a river into a force of destruction. murder trial followed. You will read about the great-great uncle and aunt of Theodore Roosevelt who were travelers and adventurers on the maiden voyage of the steamship New Orleans and how they witnessed the horror on the rivers. Feel the confusion as locals tried to escape the quake by traveling on foot to higher ground. Loss of human life was minimal compared to modern disasters only because this area was not yet heavily populated.

New Madrid is located at the northern edge of the "boot heel" of Missouri at a bend in the river, likened to an upside down "U." New Madrid had already seen and was dealing with the destructive nature of the Mississippi even before the earthquakes that caused the Mississippi River to run backwards from December 16, 1811 through February 7, 1812. Jay Feldman pulls The Mississippi did run backwards due to a together legends, eye witness accounts, science and retrograde force caused by the quakes. There is a historical facts into a book that will keep you reading report of huge piles of dead fish that were not able to and checking into events and the many swim fast enough to keep up with the characters that lived during this "There is a report of huge piles water. There are descriptions of period of American history. steam, sulfur and shooting spouts of dead fish that were not able of sand and water, quicksand, mud to swim fast enough to keep up You will meet George slides, waterfalls, and trees, animals with the water..." Morgan, the founder of New and buildings swallowed into crevices that Madrid in 1789, and read of his wheeling cut through the earth. and dealing with the King of Spain to acquire the land for New Madrid. Read the legend of Tecumseh, The science of earthquakes is explored with Shawnee chief, who threatened tribes who would not explanations of the fault lines, a diagram of the unite with his war effort, that when he reached Detroit, Mercalli scale, an early attempt to judge the magnitude he would stamp his feet and level their villages. This of quakes and aftershocks. There are maps that encircle declaration was a few days before the first earthquake. the area affected, with SE Iowa being in the far reaches You will read the account of the brutal murder of a of the circle. There are illustrations and photos from slave by his owners, nephews of Thomas Jefferson. newspapers of the time. There is also a discussion of The earthquake tumbled a chimney and uncovered the earth quake predictions. remains of the slave that had been sealed there. A

Petro & More

Gas, pizza and a full convenience store Across from All Vets Memorial on Highway 61

28 West Division Street · PO Box 96 Morning Sun, IA 52640 319.868.7636 · 319.527.7636 · FAX 319.868.4297 [email protected]

Owners: Dennis & Ann Shepard




The Young People and the River

By Kathy Vance In the latest installment of the oral history project known as "Reflections of the Louisa Resource Area," I had the privilege of meeting with a group of Louisa County teens who were part of the "Outdoor Adventure Club." The club, a project of Louisa County Conservation sponsored by Monsanto, met twelve times during 2009. Under the tutelage of Katie Hammond, club members were treated to a series of outdoor experiences that included spelunking (cave exploring), camping, kayaking and tree planting. The teens had plenty to say about their club experiences. When asked about their summer, many agreed that being in the water was a highlight. James Wahldice spoke up to say, "One of the best things was swimming in the Iowa River near sandbars." Here is what followed . . . Q: What was it like to swim in the river? James: "Well, we all had life jackets on obviously. And for me it wasn't so much swimming as floating down to the end of the sandbar and then wading back to the shore." Q: Different than a swimming pool? James: "Well....yeah." Q: How? James: "The water is moving for one thing, and it's a whole lot deeper. Plus there are fish in it. And the water in swimming pools is a whole lot cleaner...and you won't see great blue herons in a swimming pool!" Q: A good experience? James: "Yes!"

Q: Had any of you done these things before this summer? Jobi: "No - I had never gone kayaking before. I had only been canoeing a couple times at Langwood. That's the first time I had been on the Iowa River in a canoe or kayak . It was fun - I had been swimming in the Iowa before, but not with friends - only with family so this was cool!" Chane: "It was the first time I had ever gone kayaking, I finally got to cross off something on my bucket list!" The story of the summer of 2009 for the Outdoor Adventure Club, along with more than a dozen other recorded stories, are now part of the Reflections of Louisa Resource Area, a project financed by a grant from Humanities Iowa and supported locally by Louisa County Conservation, Louisa County Extension and the Louisa County Historical Society. The information gathered will be used to create displays at the Louisa Interpretive Center, a museum and grounds planned for the forty acres adjacent to Langwood Education Center near Grandview.

PO Box 123, Wapello, Iowa 52653 319-527-4530

[email protected]

Executive Director Mallory Smith Directors Al Bohling, Columbus Junction Steve Johnson, Bettendorf Don Kline, Washington Karen Minnis, Morning Sun Jim Rudisill, Wapello Jay Schweitzer, Columbus Junction Kathy Vance, Morning Sun Dan Vogeler, Columbus Junction



Oral History Project Continues

The Reflections of Louisa Resource Area project, funded by Humanities Iowa and managed by TriRivers Conservation Foundation, continues to gather stories and images of life in and around Louisa County. Inspiration for the project is the Louisa Interpretive Center, which will use the materials to share what makes this area unique and significant. Interviews This summer, Kathy Vance interviewed Keith and Steve Hiller when they were gathered for a family reunion. Keith and Steve shared their stories of the development of Camp Langwood originally a 4-H camp, now run by Louisa County Conservation Board. Keith shared his memories as a parent, organizer and volunteer. Steve added his perspective as a volunteer and camper. The Hiller family has fond memories of Langwood and they remain strong Louisa County Conservation supporters even though they no longer live in the area. An oral history project is not necessarily limited to interviews of older residents. Vance also interviewed eight members of the Outdoor Adventure Club (see previous page), capturing youthful impressions of discovery, excitement and wonder which will become history in time. Photographs Natalina Sents joined the Reflections project as our first featured photographer. The daughter of Steve and Melissa Sents of Columbus City, Natalina is a junior at Columbus High School. This summer she was a vendor at the Columbus Junction Farmers Market where, along with scones, lemonade and cookies, she sold note cards featuring photos taken on vacation. Noting her talent for nature photography, she was asked to help out with the Reflections project. Natalina is gathering images to accompany an interview done with Tom Wahl and Kathy Dice on native trees and plants. Her photos will be featured on the website and added to the Reflections presentation. For more information on the Reflections project, or to volunteer as a photographer, interviewer or interviewee, email [email protected] or call Mallory Smith at 319-321-3808.

Casey Noble of Morning Sun rappels down a cliff at Palisades-Kepler State Park, under the supervision of Cindy Klebe of Muscatine. Her mother, Tammy (the small speck in the lower left ) got the outdoor adventure for her family at the 2009 Tri-Rivers Auction. Many exciting experiences will again be available at the 2010 auction on February 27.

Classified Ads: Photos Wanted

Some say a picture is worth a thousand words and that is no more true than with the great outdoors. TriRivers Conservation Foundation is seeking photos of Louisa County's natural history, scenic views, and open spaces. Photographs will be used to improve our outreach efforts. With your photos, we can enhance our public presentations, brochures, newsletters, and web site. Digital images are preferred; however, photos can be scanned to digital files. For more information or to submit photos please contact Don Kline, webmaster at [email protected]


Photo by Natalina Sents


Running Wild 2009

Saturday, August 22 was a perfect day for a run or walk and also the best year ever for Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation's annual event known as Running Wild. More than 100 participants came to Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge to compete in the 3 and 5 mile run/walks, and the 1 and ½ mile Farm Bureau kids' fun runs. Runners came from Louisa and surrounding counties and as far away as Wisconsin. Many won prizes and all enjoyed a unique trail race and homemade cookies at the finish line. Educational programming offered by Louisa County Conservation naturalist Kathy Dice rounded out the day's events. Proceeds (just over $2600) from Running Wild help support conservation efforts in Louisa County. The annual race will be held on August 21, 2010. Thanks to our sponsors, runners and volunteers and congratulations to the winners! Overall winners for 2009 Running Wild: 3 mile, Male - Zakerey Watson, Muscatine, IA, (19:10) 3 mile, Female - Lorin Fisher, Wapello, IA, (22:49) 5 mile, Male - Joe Timmsen, Muscatine, IA (32:00) 5 mile, Female - Cinda Blake, Wayland, IA (39:53) Team Prize F&M Bank and Trust, Burlington, IA

Thank you!

Sincere thanks to the following individuals and groups for support of Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation and the Louisa Interpretive Center project.

Running Wild Sponsors: MidAmerican Energy Great River Health Monsanto Louisa Communications Tyson Foods Louisa County Farm Bureau Duck Race ticket buyers Al Bohling (payroll deduction) Kathy Kerridge (gift donation) Kathy Vance Monsanto Matching Fund

F&M Bank and Trust won the team prize for the most participating members at Running Wild 2009.




Enclosed is my donation for: ___$25 ___$50 ___$100 ___$250 ___$500 ___$1,000 ___Other ______________ Name or Business_____________________________________________ Address_____________________________________________________ City, State, Zip_______________________________________________ Email_______________________________________________________ Return this form and payment to: Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation P.O. Box 123 Wapello, IA 52653


Please earmark my donation for: ___ Louisa Interpretive Center ___ 10K Challenge Fund ____________ ___ Water Trails ___ Scholarships ___ Other: ___ Use my donation where needed most

Make checks payable to: Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation



PO Box 123 Wapello, IA 52653


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Tri-Rivers Conservation Foundation

4th Annual Fundraising Auction

silent auction · raffle · live auction Saturday, February 27, 79 p.m. Delzell Brothers Showroom Highway 61 & 78, Morning Sun $15/person or $25/couple

If you need this newsletter in larger print, call 319-523-8381

Printed on recycled paper

Oneofakind Items Outdoor Experiences Great Food Lots of Fun!

Order your tickets today! 3195274530 [email protected]

Naturally Louisa County is an innovative collaboration between government agencies, private organizations and individuals interested in showcasing the natural and cultural resources of Louisa County, Iowa.

complete auction listing coming soon



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