Row crop farmers in Iowa’s Prairie Pothole Region in northern Iowa have an opportunity through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to receive payments on cropped wetlands by protecting flood-prone areas. The NRCS is managing the new Prairie Pothole Water Quality and Wildlife Program.
Over the past two decades, scientists and beekeepers alike observed drastic declines in bee populations. The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) offered through the USDA offers a promising mitigation strategy related to establishing more nesting and foraging habitat for bees.
Farmers and landowners who want to increase pollinator habitat while also improving water quality should consider the benefits of saturated riparian buffers enhanced with native wildflowers. Establishing pollinator habitat within riparian zones, where the agricultural value is lower and where the conservation and wildlife benefits are likely to be high can be a win-win.
When designing beneficial habitat that houses as well as providing a valuable foraging area for wildlife, brush piles are an often neglected and overlooked aspect of any acreage-improvement habitat design, yet the easiest and least expensive to construct.
With the declining number of Monarch butterflies migrating north through the central United States, USDA is offering a new incentive program to Iowa farmers to help increase Monarch breeding habitat.
In Iowa we have several resident and migrant species of wrens that include house, Carolina, winter, sedge, marsh, and the occasional rare sighting of Beewick’s, rock, cactus or canyon wren.
Perhaps no wild birds captivate the imagination of rural Midwesterners as much as the bobwhite quail and ring-necked pheasant. Both species flock during winter and offer beautiful reprieves from otherwise life-less winter landscapes. Unfortunately though, both species share one more commonality – there are fewer of them in Iowa today than there was throughout most of the 20th century.