A 40 mile stretch of a key trout stream in northeast Iowa is now publicly owned. Cathy Engstrom of the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation says they’ve worked with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to obtain the land that includes South Pine Creek in Winneshiek County.* She says the foundation purchased the 40-mile section in 1998 on contract for 40-thousand dollars and just finished paying it off. Engstrom says the stream located eight miles northeast of Decorah contains brook trout.She says brook trout are Iowa’s only native species of trout, other species like rainbow trout are brought in. The D-N-R have found the trout in this stream are a genetically distinct strain of trout and she says they’ve worked to put them in other streams to protect the species in case something happens. Engstrom says South Pine Creek supports Iowa’s highest population of naturally reproducing brook trout. With the latest purchase now complete, Engrstom says there’s over 200 acres of land around the stream that’s now publicly owned. She says they had already protected about 180 acres and now they added this 40 acres that’s just upstream from the previously protected parts. Engstrom says much of the money used to purchase this latest chunk of land around the stream was raised through donations. She says theyl plant buffer grasses along the stream to help keep it clean and it also prevents people from putting up buildings that might impact the stream. More information on South Pine Creek can be found at: www.inhf.org.
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