Natural Resource & Land Management

Natural Resources & Land Management staff work to protect, preserve and enhance the natural resources of Linn County through conservation practices.

  • Orlan Love Prairie walk in trailRestore native ecosystems to improve wildlife habitat, natural resource functions and diversity
  • Prairie management to include establishment, removal of woody species and prescribed burning 
  • Manage areas identified within the 1,000 Acre Pollinator Initiative (VIDEO)
  • Conduct invasive species control
  • Manage timber resources, develop management plans, conduct timber stand improvement, crop tree release, and savanna restoration
  • Conduct tree and shrub plantings for habitat, reforestation, and park beautification
  • Manage and plant food plots for wildlife
  • Maintain and implement a hazard tree program to ensure public safety
  • Maintain crop leases for the conservation department as part of wildlife habitat program
  • Manage and restore wetlands for wildlife habitat, water quality, and flood control
  • Conduct landscaping of newly developed properties including trails and park improvement sites
  • Administers a managed deer hunt at Wanatee Park takes place Oct - Jan

Savanna Restoration

A nine-acre deteriorating remnant savanna will be improvRemnant Savanna Restoration at Matsell Bridge Natural Areaed at the Matsell Bridge Natural Area, just southeast of the main trail parking entrance. This habitat restoration project involved the removal of unwanted vegetation in later 2023, including invasive species such as autumn olive and honey suckle that have consumed the area for decades. What remains are the healthy oak trees. The project is funded in part through a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant, Conservation Crossroads: Improving Habitat for the Rusty Patched Bumble Bee and Other Pollinators. Along with this area, restoration is taking place in an adjacent three and a half acres, and another six and a half acres in another location at the Matsell Bridge Natural Area. Savannas are now rare in Iowa, but provide an opportunity for oak regeneration as there is an open canopy, which allows additional sunlight to reach the prairie and wildflowers below.

Economic Benefits of Natural Areas

Linn County Conservation parks, preserves, natural areas and trails provide conservation education and outdoor recreation opportunities for visitors, thus translating into economic benefits to the region. Prairie, trees and forests, wetlands, and other forms of permanent cover within Linn County Conservation managed properties additionally provide economic value. 

The Economic Benefits of Natural Resource Properties Managed by Linn County Conservation Board (PDF)

Frost Seeding

Many prairie species, like wildflowers, benefit from the cold and moist conditions to germinate when the soil temperature rises in the spring. Linn County Conservation continues its efforts to provide diverse prairies for pollinators within the County.


Morgan Creek Park, Wanatee Park, and Wickiup Hill Learning Center received significant damage from the August 2020 derecho, which led to the closure of several trails and park sections while clean-up continued, and areas were deemed safe again. Linn County Conservation's efforts to remove the devastation and replenish our woodlands led to the decision of conducting a salvage harvest in derecho affected areas.

  • The Linn County Conservation Department received lump sum, sealed bids for 16 lots of cut logs. The salvage harvest of nearly 80 acres took place in the winter months of 2021 and 2022.

Derecho Forestry Management

  • The goal is to restore damaged forests to productive, pre-storm condition for wildlife habitat, soil and water quality, diversity, carbon storage, and public use. Restoration will be a long-term project with initial clean up and planting estimated to take 10 years. Ongoing maintenance and improvement will continue well into the future.

Derecho: One Year Later

The August 10, 2020 derecho severely damaged our public parks that we have enjoyed over the years. Linn County Conservation continues to take steps to restore and replenish our woodlands.