Document Type



wetlands, prairie potholes, wetland resroration


The vast prairie marsh-pothole complex that historically covered approximately 7 .6 millions acres in Iowa was reduced to less than 30,000 acres by 1980 when it was estimated that only 5,000 acres of prairie marsh and pothole habitat remained in private ownership. A bleak outlook for the future of wetlands was presented by Bishop (1981)." This outlook changed with the development of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and the passage of two important pieces of legislation: the North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Food Security Act of 1985. Protection of existing wetlands was afforded through the Swampbuster provision of the Food Security Act. The North American Wetlands Conservation Act and the Wetland Reserve Program offered through the Food Security Act provided needed funding for the protection and restoration of wetlands in Iowa. Since 1988, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and various county conservation boards together with Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited, and the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation have purchased over 10,000 ha (25,000 ac) of wetlands and uplands in the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa and restored over 24,240 ha (6,600 ac) of public and private wetlands. The United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service has enrolled approximately 24,240 ha (60,600 ac) of riparian floodplains and potholes into the Wetland Reserve Program and Emergency Wetland Reserve Program, affording them protection through permanent easements. Public support of wetland legislation will ensure that funding continues to be available to protect and restore Iowa's prairie wetlands.

Publication Date

September 1998

Journal Title

Journal of the Iowa Academy of Science





First Page


Last Page



© Copyright 1998 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



File Format