Hello Mike,

Byway Buzz

The Raccoon River Valley Trailhead in Jefferson Honors History

by Byways Coordinator Jeanie Hau

The town of Jefferson, Iowa has a location where the car seems to be drawn to a stop, and its driver compelled to get out and explore. Between beautiful landscaping and a trailhead sits the restored and welcoming building of the Milwaukee Railroad Depot, along with a Freedom Rock.

4 Minute Read

Conservation Connection

Paddling While Impaired

by Water Quality Specialist Dan Haug

Iowa’s draft 2024 Impaired Waters List is up for public comment. If you are wondering where to find cleaner lakes and rivers for recreation, we have an interactive map to help you, as well as some observations on this latest assessment.

3 Minute Read

Green Stuff in the Skunk River

by Water Quality Specialist Dan Haug

No it’s not an early St. Patrick’s Day celebration! That strange color in the South Skunk River is probably a blue-green algae bloom, stimulated by unseasonably warm weather. If you see water like this, be cautious - they can produce toxins.

2 Minute Read

Pollinator of the Month: Sweat Bees!

Augochlorini means “exceedingly green”, matching St. Patrick’s Day festivities! Augochlorini is a specific group of sweat bees that are – you guessed it, VERY green. These beautiful bees mostly nest in the ground, and visit all kinds of flowers. Although these bees are solitary (excavating their own nurseries and laying their own eggs), some species in this group like to share a main tunnel, similar to apartment dwellers! This spring, slow down to take a longer look at flowers or the ground – you may witness the spectacular sparkle of a green sweat bee!

Guest Author: Dr. Tom Rosburg

What It Means to Be Native

by Dr. Tom Rosburg

Insects prefer to eat plants that they have shared an evolutionary history with. If you want to add plants to your yard to benenfit native wildlife, then native plants should be your first choice! But what exactly does it mean to be native? And what exactly does "local ecotype" mean? Dr. Tom Rosburg, Professor of Biology at Drake University, answers these questions for us in his article!

4 Minute Read

Species Spotlight

Meet the Brown Snake! (Storeria dekayi)

It officially feels like Spring!

This cute brown snake was found by our Water Quality Specialist, Dan Haug, by the South Skunk River!

Brown snakes are a cute, non-venomous species of snake native to Iowa and most of the eastern US. They are usually a foot long or less, and tend to like urban areas over rural areas. They especially love moist habitats, making them the perfect water quality companion! Keep our waters and parks clean to support cute snakes!

Fun Items for Spring!

We have some merch left!

Want to "Leave the Leaves" but have picky neighbors? We have Leaving the Leaves signs available to keep the neighbors happy with your leaf piles! Call us at

515-232-0048 or email us to buy one today!

We also have cheerful Monarch Magic! mugs and cute Leaving the Leaves tote bags! Stay cozy in this cold snap with a soft hoodie or crew-neck sweatshirt! Buy from our Bonfire store today to support Prairie Rivers of Iowa and get designs available nowhere else!

Watershed and Wildlife Events

Farming with Monarchs Webinar!

March 22, 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

Calling all WOMEN landowners and farmers!

Join Abbie Portz (District Conservationist) and Prairie Rivers' Jessica Butters to discuss your experiences and questions about monarch butterflies, and learn about how you can help butterflies on your land! For tenant farmers and landowners alike!

Sign up for this FREE webinar here!

Creek Clean-Up in Ames!

Saturday, April 20, 9:00 am to 2:00 pm

Join Prairie Rivers of Iowa and our partners for a fun morning of canoeing and mucking for tires and strollers! Registration is required so we can plan for canoes and supplies!

Register for the Fun Here!

Byway Events

Promise Road: How the Lincoln Highway

Changed America

Throughout March & April

The Carnegie Public Library in Woodbine, Iowa, is hosting the travelling Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway exhibit until the end of April. Contact Byway Coordinator Jeanie Hau at jhau@prrcd.org to be next in line to host this engaging exhibit!

Iowa PBS: Road Trip Iowa

Weekly, Starting April 3rd!

Join Iowa PBS in a new travel series, Road Trip Iowa. Venture across Iowa's scenic byways, historic sites, unique attractions, and natural beauty from your couch! Episodes premiere weekly starting April 3. The Iowa Valley Scenic Byway will be featured on May 15 and the Lincoln Highway will take the spotlight in Season 2, so stay tuned!

Stream on demand Here!

The National Lincoln Highway Association

Annual Conference

Save the Date: June 23-28

Experience the Lincoln Highway in Elkhart County, Indiana! This year's conference will feature heritage and road tours, a documentary's pre-release, an Amish dinner, and more!

Learn More about the Conference Here!

Message from Our Board of Directors

At the end of this month we'll say good-bye to Jessica and will be seeing her off to Kansas where she'll begin work for Pheasants Forever. We (and the pollinators!) appreciate her many contributions to Prairie Rivers and to the community, and wish her well!

You can support our Pollinator Program by visiting this link today

Thank You for Supporting Pollinators

and Prairie Rivers of Iowa!

Current Job Openings!

Development Director: Responsible for fundraising and administrative operations of the organization. 

Pollinator Conservation Specialist: Improve pollinator habitat and provide environmental education in a creative and collaborative environment!

Click Here for Full Job Descriptions and to Apply!

Prairie Rivers On the Web

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Prairie Rivers of Iowa is a federal 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization uniquely focused on conserving natural and cultural resources.

We rely in part on the generosity of our supporters. 

Your tax-deductible gift is much appreciated! 


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