The Boone County Conservation District (BCCD) manages 4400 acres. These acres are set aside for preservation, education, and passive recreation. Most are set aside as ‘natural areas,’ providing many benefits for the citizens, water quality, and biodiversity of Boone County.
Lands that the BCCD manage have a very positive impact on water quality. The plant materials that cover a large portion of these acres do a great job of capturing precipitation, thus keeping it out of our rivers and streams. This is an important task in helping to slow erosion and flooding impacts. Keeping the water in place gives it time to infiltrate the soil, providing ground water filtering and recharge. Because the residents of Boone County acquire all the water they use from groundwater, this is an essential task being performed by these lands. This job alone, is a strong enough argument to set aside land as open space, however even more benefits come from these preserved acres.
Along with water protection these lands are islands of biodiversity. The BCCD has put an emphasis over the last 20 years in planting natives on its sites with diverse mixes. Sometimes these seed mixes exceed 150 species. Being able to plant this many species assures something will be flowering on a site through the growing season. This is an important benefit to our struggling pollinator species.
These natural areas are managed by the BCCD Natural Resources Management Department (NRM). Creating and managing this diversity involves time and energy. So much so, that the department was created in 2004 to manage this task. The department spends its time managing already existing natural areas as well as creating new ones. The NRM department uses many techniques to implement the installation and management of high quality habitats to benefit the native flora and fauna of Boone County. The techniques used by the NRM department include: invasive species control, planting natives, collecting seed, prescribed fire, and monitoring. Another important aspect of the departments work is writing and implementing grant projects to leverage available funds. Help from other units of government, as well as foundations and trusts, allow the BCCD to get the most out of its tax dollars. A large portion of projects since 2004 have been funded this way.