Buchanan County, Iowa

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Buchanan County Conservation

The Conservation Board offices are located at Fontana Park Interpretive Nature Center.  Buchanan County Conservation Board provides parks, prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and river accesses for both people and wildlife. The Conservation Board cares for 40 properties, and features an award-winning Environmental Education Program.  The Conservation Board's mission is to "improve quality .

Enjoy Buchanan County rivers

Nature Center display floor hours are:
Monday - Tuesday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Wednesday - Friday 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Weekends April 1st - October 3 1st 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Weekends November 1st - April 1st 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Nature Center can open by appointment by calling (319) 636-2617
Winter: Nature Center may be closed if travel conditions are "Not Advised," please call in advance (319) 636-2617.

Upcoming Public Programs


OWLS (Older Wiser Livelier Souls) - Prairie Hike!
Monday, August 27, 5 PM
Bearbower Sand Prairie
Preregistration is required 

The third OWLS program will be held at Bearbower Sand Prairie (east of Brandon) and will feature ornate box turtles and their habitat.  These turtles are threatened in the state of Iowa and can be found at Bearbower Sand Prairie. It is possible that participants will observe live turtles!  Participants should expect to walk through sparse prairie vegetation on uneven ground.  Be sure to dress for the weather.  Click here to get preregistered.


Monarch Tagging
Saturday, September 1,1 PM register here
Satruday, September 22, 1 PM register here
Locations to be determined
Preregistration is required; cost $3/person $10/family

Monarch population numbers continue to be below the 20 year average.  Tagging research and results are an important tool in measuring migration numbers.  Register to participate in one or both of our fall migration events (at locations to be determined by nectaring flowers attractive to monarchs), to catch, tag and release these tiny travelers.  This citizen science activity continues to be important as research continues through the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program.  Nets and tags will be provided.   Those registered will be contacted with the tagging location.  

 Roberts Wildlife Area Public Dedication
Saturday, September 8, 9 am - 10 am
Roberts Wildlife Area
Preregistration is not required

Last March, the Buchanan County Conservation Board made public an important natural resources and outdoor recreation area in the Wapsipinicon River Corridor.  The Roberts Wildlife Area is located southwest of Fairbank and adjoins the Conservation Board's Cutshall Area.  It connects together public lands in Buchanan and Black Hawk counties, resulting in more than 500 acres of contiguous land and water for the public to hunt, hike, paddle, fish, photograph, and otherwise enjoy.  On Saturday, September 8, the public is invited to join many of the partner groups and organizations that made this addition of public lands in western Buchanan County possible during a public dedication. The program will feature short presentations, followed by a guided walk showcasing nature at Roberts Wildlife Area.  Key partners on this project included:
Buchanan County
Harris Estate (Roberts Family Members)
Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Iowa’s Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) Grant Program
Land and Water Conservation Fund (federal program administered by Iowa DNR)
Pheasants Forever State Council and PF Chapters from Buchanan, Black Hawk, Linn, Clayton, and Delaware Counties
National Wild Turkey Federation
Buchanan County Wildlife Association
Tri-Rivers Waterfowlers
Iowa Whitetails Unlimited 

Roberts Wildlife Area is located, about a mile west of County Road V62 on 160th St. (1016 160th St., Fairbank, IA).  Those attending only the Dedication and walk at Roberts Wildlife Area, need not preregister.  Preregistration is required for those going on the paddling trip 

Paddling throguh the Wapsi Corridor
Saturday, September 8, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm
McGlaughlin Easement Area at Littleton Dam
Preregistration is required; cost $5/person

Following the 9 a.m. dedication at Roberts Wildlife Area, celebrate public land in the Wapsipinicon River Corridor from the seat of a canoe or kayak while paddling from Littleton Dam to Otterville Bridge, northwest of Independence.  The approximately 3-hour trip takes paddlers through an area of protected forests and forested wetlands, with lots of opportunities to explore sandbars and learn about river plants and animals from Conservation Board staff.

Those attending the paddling trip should meet at 10:30 a.m. at the McGlaughlin Easement Area at Littleton Dam, 302 Water St., Jesup (Littleton) IA.  Those who are at the dedication can carpool to Littleton.  After taxiing some vehicles to the takeout at Otterville Bridge, the group will start downstream.  Those attending are encouraged to bring food for lunch/snacks, water bottle, sunscreen, mosquito repellant, rain gear, and shoes and clothing that can get wet.  A change of clothes also is suggested for the trip home after the float.  A limited number of canoes are available for program users ($5 per person).  Click here to get preregistered. 

MONARCHS MONARCHS MONARCHS Click here to learn about plants for Monarchs

Friends of Fontana Park

The Friends of Fontana Park (FFP) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to help fund the Buchanan County Conservation Board's environmental education programs.  The FFP provides most of the material costs for the wildlife display, nature center exhibits, quarterly newsletters, and some of the many educational programs and exhibits offered at Fontana and other Buchanan County parks. For more information on Friends of Fontana Park and how you can contribute to this 501c3 organization, click here.

Roughly half of Iowa’s rivers, lakes, and streams fail to meet water quality standards
Less than 10 percent of Iowa’s wetlands – natural spaces that help prevent flooding and provide habitat for wildlife – remain, amounting to a loss of 5 million acres of wetlands
• Over the last two decades, Iowa has lost more than 1.6 million acres of habitat suitable for pheasants and other small game
• Iowa loses an average of 5 tons per acre of soil, our major economic engine, each year to erosion
Click here to learn about Fund the Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

Find us on:

 Would you like to find out more about wildlife, county programs, Iowa fishing reports and more? Please email dcohen@co.buchanan.ia.us to be placed on the Conservation List serve. You will receive approximately 2-3 emails a week about conservation programs in Iowa.