Build a Wildlife Area Secures New Public Access Along Iowa’s South Skunk River Corridor

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476-acre parcel in Jasper County holds pheasants, waterfowl, turkey and deer

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever are proud to announce a new Build a Wildlife Area® project in Iowa creating 476 acres of new public lands along a major river corridor in Jasper County. The South Skunk River Wildlife Area Addition contains a mosaic of native prairie and wetlands that will be managed for the benefit of upland wildlife and public access, located a short distance from the Des Moines metro region.

“To acquire a wildlife property of this size all at one time is an amazing accomplishment. The South Skunk Wildlife Area Addition has great prairie habitat after being restored only a few years ago,” said Todd Gosselink, Red Rock Unit Manager for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “We recently finished our first rooster pheasant survey for the South Skunk Addition and population densities were as high as other wildlife management areas in the region. The DNR has also worked closely with a local farmer to establish 40 acres of food plots – this property is a gem in central Iowa.”

Native upland prairie and cool season grasses on the flood plain of the South Skunk River comprise the majority of habitat types, as well as several wetland areas that hold surface water and patches of willow trees. The property’s eastern boundary is shared with the 243-acre Pheasants Forever Unit and is also near Beyers Bridge Skunk River Access, Carpenter Wildlife Area and the Foreman Nature Preserve to create a complex of public lands. The South Skunk River Wildlife Area Addition holds a variety of game species, including pheasants, waterfowl, turkey, deer and mourning dove. 

“Properties this substantial in size are rare in central Iowa,” said Jeremy Flores, president of the Jasper County Chapter of Pheasants Forever. “And when you couple that with the quality of habitat that's been established, the result is tremendous hunting and outdoor opportunities for the public.”

The South Skunk River Wildlife Area addition was purchased through the Build a Wildlife Area® program, with funding from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and local Pheasants Forever chapters including: Jasper County Pheasants Forever, Northern Polk Pheasants Forever, Iowa Capitol Pheasants Forever, Mahaska County Pheasants Forever, Poweshiek County Pheasants Forever, and Covered Bridge Pheasants Forever.

Donor support of Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area® program has permanently protected more than 21 square miles of habitat in 12 states through this unique, partner-driven matching gift program. Through local, state, and federal grants and individual private donations, Build a Wildlife Area® designates funds directly toward land acquisition projects to create public access, conserve critical habitat for wildlife, and preserve outdoor heritage traditions.

The South Skunk River Wildlife Area addition is a permanent habitat protection project contributing to the goals of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever’s Call of the Uplands® national campaigna monumental initiative to save America’s uplands and cultivate the next generation of conservationists and hunters.