Allamakee County Conservation awarded Fish Habitat Grant

Land donated by Garrett family will now benefit from Fish Habitat Grant... Members of the family of Celia Sander Garrett and the Allamakee County Conservation Board (ACCB) gathered earlier this summer at the Celia Sander Garrett Green Belt near Lansing after the family donated the 25-acre property to ACCB. A Fish Habitat Grant recently awarded to the Allamakee County Conservation Board by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources will be used within the donated land parcel to address erosion and maximize trout habitat in an effort to increase natural trout reproduction in Clear Creek. Submitted photo.

Members of the Allamakee County Conservation Board (ACCB) have announced the board has been awarded a Fish Habitat Grant in the amount of $39,000 through the Iowa Department of Natural Resource’s (DNR) Fish Habitat Program. These funds will go toward streambank stabilization and the placement of in-stream trout habitat in the Celia Sander Garrett Green Belt along Clear Creek, which was donated to ACCB in July by the family of Celia Sander Garrett.

The newly acquired Celia Sander Garrett Green Belt is a 25-acre property near Lansing with Clear Creek running its entire length. Clear Creek is a prime example of one of the many cold-water trout streams that make northeast Iowa a fishing destination for people across the Midwest and beyond.

ACCB also has a history with the property that dates back to the early 1990s when ACCB partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to complete private land cold-water stream restoration work. That work included the placement of Lunker trout hide structures and log K structures, some of which still remain despite 30 intervening years of flooding events both major and minor. The plan with this additional work is to stabilize banks from future erosion, provide increased trout habitat and provide public access to this Lansing area treasure.

ACCB worked with Iowa DNR Fisheries specialists to put together a plan to address erosion and maximize trout habitat that will lead to increased natural trout reproduction. Three sites on the property have been identified for this project. All three sites will require bank stabilization, tree removal, riprap and seeding to minimize erosion and silt deposition. An in-stream vortex weir and boulder rock structure would also be put in place to provide cover and resting places for fish.

The Iowa DNR has administered the Fish Habitat Program Grants beginning in license year 2004, when the $3.00 fish habitat fee was added onto the cost of the annual and seven day licenses for most anglers.  The program required that no less than 50% of the revenue generated by the fee would be used by the DNR in association with county conservation boards to meet program goals for fish habitat statewide.

The Allamakee County Conservation Board and Allamakee County residents have benefited from the program over the years. Previous projects undertaken by ACCB through the program have included work at Kolsrud Park, Volney Park, Clear Creek Park and Waterville Farm 55.

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