While road crews will soon be out to fix potholes in the state’s roadways — the Iowa Department of Natural Resources now has millions of dollars to fix “prairie potholes.” D-N-R Wildlife Division Chief Richard Bishop says Iowa will receive some two million federal dollars for its Prairie Pothole Region.He says it’s used for expanding the wildlife refuge lands of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service around the Union Slough in Kossuth County, and it’s also used in a broad program attached to the North American Waterfowl program that’s designed to protect waterfowl habitat. Bishop says the money is used to buy farmland to turn into wetlands. He says these are areas that have severe water problems and get flooded out. He says they restore the wetlands and seed the uplands, creating habitat and hunting areas.He says the Prairie Pothole Region goes just west of Spirit Lake down to Polk County looping back to the east up to Highway 65 and to the east of Mason City. He says the whole area is where glaciers went through and gouged out wetlands. Bishop says private groups have also raised money to help. He says Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited have been very interested in promoting the security and enlargement of wildlife habitat complexes. Bishop says the program has benefits for all Iowans. He says they’re turning poor cropland back into wetlands and are holding water on the lands. He says they’re reducing flooding to a certain degree and are helping clean up water supplies. He says they’ve protected over 50-thousand acres of land since the program started in 1986. Bishop says the program also helps songbirds and other birds thrive along with the game birds. The Fish and Wildlife Service is putting a total of 21 million dollars into the program nationwide.
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