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The Benton County Conservation Board (BCCB) has received a tremendous opportunity to support and expand ongoing projects by stockpiling mulch debris from the August 10, 2020 derecho on two conservation properties. The wood cuttings will be piled and compacted to a height of six feet. In keeping the height at six feet or less, it has been determined that the risk for fire is extremely low.

The Benton County Conservation Board plans to stockpile mulch debris on roughly 13 acres of low use land of more than 1600 total acres managed by the department. The BCCB is very fortunate to have this opportunity as funding sources may be scarce given the climate of the last year. By participating in this project, Benton County Conservation will be compensated approximately $230,000 to $240,000. In addition, the project will make separate donations to the local Benton County environmental chapters.

In order to evaluate and participate in this program, the BCCB took calculated steps. The BCCB looked at properties that had long-term conservation goals that would make a minimal impact to wildlife and public use. The land could not be part of a flood plain nor could it make an impact on the surrounding watershed. After careful review, two locations were selected; approximately 6 acres of the County Care Facility Wildlife Area property east of Vinton and roughly 7.5 acres of the Fry property west of Blairstown. The BCCB then procured permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Iowa DNR) to ensure no environmental impact will be made by the stockpiled material. Benton County Secondary Roads Department and local fire departments were contacted about the project.

The woodchips will break down and create a large amount of organic matter and high-quality soil. Until then, Benton County Conservation will monitor both locations on a regular basis. The funds generated from this project will make a significant impact on the department’s budget and possibly be used to pay off debt, purchase equipment, and/or improve facilities that otherwise would not be available.

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Comments (3)

If the public hunting acres of the county home facility means so little to the BCCB that they would turn it into a dumping ground for Linn County‘s mulch debris, they should no longer be managing this county hunting facility. Linn county has plenty of public hunting acres they can use to store their Derecho mulch debris. There is obviously a reason they do not want to destroy there own county. Shame on BCCB for allowing greed to affect their decision. A 6 foot pile of mulch debris across the frontage access of this property will restrict and or hinder accessibility for hunter’s access. Not to mention, the eyesore to passerby’s and neighbors.
By: Carl And Karleen Gray on February 21st 6:16pm
keep it in linn county
By: Markhappel Happel on February 22nd 8:13pm
Kudos to BCCB and employee's for thinking outside of the box to gain revenue to better properties in the future. Also, helping neighboring communities due to the devastating storm last August while generating revenue is great. Sometimes I think we forget as humans to be kind to our neighbors. In the time we are living in we have plenty of beautiful views in our county that a 6ft pile of mulch is a reminder that we are proud to help and better our county. Thank you to the BCCB and employee's that work hard to keep our parks safe and beautiful.
By: Natalie Haefner on February 24th 12:58pm

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