The Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation has purchased a large chunk of land with hopes it will help improve the water in East Lake Okoboji. Foundation spokesperson Cathy Engstrom says the land connected to Elinor Bedell State Park will someday be a key recreation and environmental area.She says a lot of water flows through the land into the lake. Engstrom says the land is currently used to raise crops and cattle.They plan to convert the land back to wetlands which filter the water that drains through. The land has a storied history from its first owner, which was the federal government. It was given to the state to raise money for land grant colleges and that money was used to set up Iowa State University.The land was later sold to a railroad executive and remained in his family until the INHF bought the land.Engstrom says the Heritage Foundation paid one-point-two million dollars for the land.She says they stepped in to buy the land while the public and private money is being raised to pay for the land. Engstrom says it will likely take a couple of years for that to happen. The Foundation will own the land until all the money is raised, and then the land will be turned over to the state for public use.
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