Iowa conservationists are excited by the first payment being made on a key piece of property in far northeastern Iowa. The 14-hundred acre tract joins two other large pieces of state property and will someday make one large parcel of protected land.Cathy Engstrom is spokeswoman for the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, which just made the first 300-thousand dollar payment on the Allamakee County property to the private owners. She says the land will join Effigy Mounds National Monument and Yellow River State Park. Engstrom says the property is home to a variety of rare or endangered plant and animal life.The Foundation made its first payment on the land this month but it’s expected to cost more than one-and-a-half-million dollars to acquire the land and for initial management costs. Engstrom says the Foundation has already secured five-hundred-30-thousand dollars in state grants.The property contains the first known sawmill in Iowa and the thousand-year old effigy mounds built by early American Indians. The mounds include a pair of virtually pristine bear-shaped mounds which have been protected by their isolation.
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