Natural Areas Management Services

Prairie Burn

Johnson County, Iowa

Iowa’s historic landscapes where draped in tall grass prairies stretching to the horizon. A quilt of wild flowers and grasses 12 feet tall, the wind-driven waves were slowed only by sprawling groupings of savanna trees and divided only by valleys where bottomland trees could gain a foothold against the fierce flames of prairie fires.

Ecological restoration of native prairie and woodland landscapes in the Midwest is a labor intensive practice requiring an understanding of historic circumstances and current invasive species challenges.

Through controlled burning, invasive species management, and native plantings, Impact7G provides expert consultation and applied services in restoring the health and species diversity to remnant and planted native prairies and deciduous woodlands of Iowa.

Challenge

The Home Owners Association of Wescott Heights had several native prairie areas in their common land holdings, surrounded by housing, that were becoming degraded from invasive and weedy plants. Furthermore, two prairies areas were located over septic drainage fields that need to be protected from the damaging effects of tree roots.

Solution

Weed competition in any landscape can be an issue requiring periodic control and regular maintenance. Impact7G identified controlled fire and other weed management techniques to be appropriate management tools at this location. The close proximity of residential buildings required good burn planning, communications, and adept fire management techniques, which Impact7G has applied on an annual basis.

Project Outcomes

Regular application of controlled fire has resulted in:

  • Increased native species resilience and dominance
  • The septic systems are protected from damaging tree saplings
  • Reduction in invasive species
  • Habitat improvements due to increased species diversity

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