The Iowa League of RC&DS received a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) and a REAP Conservation Education Grant to create two interpretive panels for each Iowa Byway describing an employed conservation method. “The CIG program is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production”, according to the program’s website. “CIG enables the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.”
Some of the sites that were considered for these interpretive panels along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway were bogs, wetlands, prairies, and high tunnel towers. The location needed to be where travelers could pull safely off the road and visibly see the sign. It needed to be on or near a conservation practice site.
The two site selected along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway were the Lincoln Prairie Park in Ogden and the West Beaver Creek, outside of Grand Junction, at the Lion’s Tree Park. The sign In Ogden educates the reader about the functions of a prairie and the importance of prairie plant root systems in filtering water. The sign at West Beaver Creek describes the effects buffers have on streams and the natural and man-made drains used to move water across (and under) the rolling landscape.
Both signs were tied to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway through the use of the Byway logo, photo of a Lincoln Highway concrete marker at the Lincoln Prairie Park, and a photo of the many generations of bridges located near the Lion’s Tree Park outside of Grand Junction.
Signs will soon be in the fabrication phase and installed mid-to-late summer. The panels will be installed on a weathered steel base with cutouts of prairie grass or wild flowers. This is in keeping with the Interpretive Plan design created by Schmeekle Reserve from Stephens Point, Wi. The company is creating an Interpretive Plan for each byway.
An event will be held at each location after installation and we will unveil the signs. Thanks to Kevin Griggs for writing the text and Jessica Johnson for her design work on the panels.