Wetlands, marshes, rivers, reservoirs, drainage, wetland inventory
The Wisconsin glacier created a 7.6 million acre prairie-marsh-pothole complex in north-central and northwest Iowa. Prairie marshes, valuable for wildlife habitat and water retention, have been relentlessly drained. In 1938, only about 50,000 acres of prairie marshland remained and in 1980 this had been reduced to 26,470 acres of natural marsh. Meandering rivers have been straightened, eliminating miles of river course. Only 1,637 miles are officially designated as meandered streams. While natural marshes and unchannelized streams are threatened aquatic habitats, other wetlands have actually increased. Artificial reservoirs provide 47,562 water acres and 47,700 farm ponds have been constructed. Proper public attitude could increase the acreage of marshland as well as reservoirs. Approximately 5,000 acres of prairie marsh and pothole habitat remains in private ownership. To protect these threatened wetlands, additional money and public support is needed.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1981 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Bishop, Richard A.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 88(1), 11-16.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol88/iss1/6