With the modern advancements in agriculture, natural and historical wetlands have been disappearing for decades. This alone is threatening and changing our landscape as we know it. However, agencies like Hardin County Conservation are taking strong strides toward implementing wetlands in new areas once again. This is going to ensure that habitat, quality of life, and the food web for Iowa's aquatic invertebrates, mammals, and waterfowl remain secure. Hardin County Conservation has four wetlands: Legacy, Pintail, Hilker and Ruby Wildlife Areas.
What is a wetland?
A wetland is an area of land consisting of puddles, swamps, ponds, marshes and/or bogs. In Iowa, many of our wetlands are surrounded by prairie and have a filter effect on water.
Has Iowa always had Wetlands?
If you didn't know, Iowa was once passed over by a glacial drift. That's right, the Ice Age happened right on top of Iowa. So what does that have to do with wetlands? Let us explain: these glaciers that once surfaced over our land began to melt, and when they did, they started sliding just like a giant ice cube. The glaciers weighed millions of tons, so when they began to slide and wiggle, they carved the earth beneath them. We call this "glaciation", and it produced potholes in the ground along with lose rock or sand, and Hardin County's scenic bluffs. The melting water filled the craters and turned them into ponds, creating a unique historical landscape like here in Hardin County. This landscape is commonly referred to as the prairie pothole region. Alongside these prairie potholes and rock outcrops are a mix of native grasses, forbes, and shrubs which took root and created Iowa's diverse wetlands ecosytems.
Pictured below are various species of water fowl located at Hardin County Conservation's Pintail Wetland
Featured here is Hardin County Conservation's new Mobile Bird Observatory set up at Legacy Wetland
A Tiger Salamander, one of many terrestrial vertebrates found in a wetland, continuing on his journey!