Buchanan County Conservation

 Iron Bridge Access Update Information
Dan Cohen, Executive Director
Buchanan County Conservation Board

Major changes are taking place at the Iron Bridge Access on the Wapsipinicon River between Independence and Quasqueton, making this key recreation area a state-recognized gateway to the Wapsipinicon River. 

Update 9/3/19

Update for the coming week:
The full parking lot and ramp remain rocked and open for public use.  Concrete is not expected to be poured during the coming week, but the rock is compacted and firm for driving and using the ramp.

Iron Bridge ramps_9_3_19
Progress as of 9/3/19

Update 8/29/19

Update for Labor Day Weekend:Workers plan to have the full parking lot rocked and open for public use.  The old ramp ramp was removed on Wednesday 8/28/19, however it will be rocked and ready to use for the weekend.  Have a fun and safe holiday weekend!

Iron Bridge update 8-28
Progress as of 8/28/19

  For more information about the Iron Bridge Access Project click here.

View from new bridge
View from new bridge of old access.

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 manages 41 properties, and features an award-winning Environmental Education Program.  The Conservation Board's mission is to "improve quality of life through programs of conservation and education."

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 31st 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

Talons of the Night
Saturday, September 7, 7:30 pm
Fontana Nature Center
  Cost: Free
Register for Talons of the Night Here

Owls have incredible night vision, so amazing they hunt silently at night! Lets take a hike with our own night vision to see if we can find a sneaky owl hanging out in the woods! We will learn how to make owl calls, find owl pellets and learn all about how they hunt in the dark. Program is open to children and their families! Bring your enthusiasm, close toed shoes and absolutely no flash lights!  

Nature Kids - Turtles
Monday, September 9, 10 am
Fontana Nature Center
  Cost: Free
Register for Nature Kids Here

Bring a child age 3-5 to the park to learn about and experience different Iowa animals each month.  The program will start with a story, include an up-close encounter with a live animal, and end with time spent outside exploring (dress for the weather).  Children must be accompanied by an adult.  

Moonlight Paddle
Thursday, September 12, 7:30 pm
Fontana Park
  Cost: $5 per person 
Register for Moonlight Paddle Here

The water is calm and reflective at night – a perfect time for a moonlit excursion into the Fontana Reservoir.  Paddlers will see some animals settling in for the night, and others just becoming active.  Participants should dress for the weather.  Pre-registration is required and limited.  There is a registration fee of $5 per person and the minimum age is 10 and up.  Canoes and life vests will be provided.

OWLS - Water Quality
Monday, September 16, 10 am
Fontana Park
  Cost: Free 
Register for OWLS - Water Quality Here

Have you been looking to experience nature, make new friends, and get outdoors?  OWLS is a program specifically design for adults to learn and explore nature in and around Buchanan County.  Join a Buchanan County Naturalist and Upper Wapsi Watershed Coordinator Angie Auel in a fun morning exploring Otter Creek and its watershed.  The morning will start with a short presentation in the nature center.  The group will head to Otter Creek and explore some of the benthic macro invertebrates (small creatures) that live in the creek.  The creatures found help indicate the health of the watershed.  Dress for the weather and bring footwear that will be able to get wet.   

Monarch Tagging
Saturday, September 21, 1 pm
Location To Be Decided
  Cost: $4/person or $10/family
Register for Monarch Tagging here

Overwintering monarch population numbers were at a 11-year high of 6.05 hectares in 2018-19, and overwintering conditions were good and reproduction was successful as those migratory butterflies started back north to breed. There has been a strong population in NE Iowa throughout this summer and weather conditions were also good further north for breeding monarchs this summer. Another year of around 6 hectares is predicted for this winter in Mexico.
Monarch tagging is one way of monitoring butterfly numbers and tracking any shifts in the origins of monarchs that reach Mexico. Regional tagging success also helps demonstrate how monarchs respond to the physical conditions and quality of habitats in these areas. Thus, tagging is an important tool to understand the overall dynamics of the monarch population.
Join a naturalist during fall migration (at a location to be determined by blooming nectar flowers attractive to monarchs), to catch, tag and release these tiny travelers as research continues through the University of Kansas’ Monarch Watch program. Nets and tags will be provided. Those who pre-register will receive an email with the tagging location for September 21 by September 19.


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 to download a Friends of Fontana Park Donation Form.

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.  

Our office is located in Hazleton at 1883 125th St.
Phone:  (319)-636-2617
Fax:  (319)-636-2624
Email: bccbscheduling@gmail.com