Conservation Board Meeting Agendas & Minutes
- Conservation Board History
Thomas Macbride, pioneer conservationist and botany professor, first conceptualized the county park system in 1895 when he described his idea for a system of county and rural parks before his colleagues of the Iowa Academy of Sciences. However, the first popular interest in creating county conservation boards did not surface until the early 1940s.
The effort was strongly supported by sportsmen groups, private individuals and legislators. The first legislative effort to establish a county conservation law was introduced in the Iowa Legislature in 1943. Much of that early support was based on the observation that Iowa was lacking in adequate public lands for outdoor recreation and that the State Conservation Commissions would be unable to fulfill the demands in the years ahead.
It was not until 1955 that the Iowa General Assembly passed into law Chapter 111A (renumbered 350 in 1993) which became known as the "County Conservation Board Law." One of the most interesting features of the law is that no county conservation board could be created until the proposal was placed on a ballot at a general election and favorably acted upon by the voters in the county. In 1989, the law was changed to require each county to have a conservation board.
The citizens of Johnson County approved the measure to organize their county’s conservation board in the general election of 1964.
The board is composed of five county residents who serve, without compensation, for staggered five-year terms. The Conservation Board’s program is supported by property taxes, funds from the Resource Enhancement and Protection Fund (REAP), various grants and donations. Conservation boards can and must address such diverse matters as parks, preserves, museums, recreation, wildlife management, land preservation and conservation education.
- Legal Definition of the Conservation Board
Origin: Chapter 350: Code of Iowa 1993.
Number of Members: Five (5) members; one (1) member being appointed each consecutive year.
Term: Five (5) years.
Appointed by: The Board of Supervisors.
Duties: The Conservation Board is responsible for all real and personal property acquired by the county for public museums, parks, playgrounds, recreation centers and other county recreation purposes.
The Conservation Board shall plan, develop, preserve, administer and maintain all such areas previously described.
The Conservation Board shall employ an executive who shall be responsible to the County Conservation Board for the implementation of the Board's policies.
Meetings: Third Tuesday of each month.
Mission Statement: The mission of the Johnson County Conservation Board is to improve the quality of natural resources and native species for Johnson County residents through programs emphasizing conservation of natural resources, conservation education, and natural resource based recreation.
Conservation Board - Secretary
Term expires: 12/31/24
Conservation Board Member
Term expires: 12/31/25
Conservation Board Member
Term expires: 12/31/22
Conservation Board Vice President
Term expires: 12/31/21
Conservation Board President
Term expires: 12/31/23
The following are the Johnson County Conservation staff
- Larry's Bio
Before joining the team here in Johnson County I worked for the Jones, Dallas and Jasper County Conservation Boards and also worked for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Saylorville Lake. During those jobs I worked in a variety of positions including Executive Director, Naturalist, Park Ranger, Operations Supervisor and as a Conservation Worker. I attended Iowa State University and obtained a B.S. in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology in 1986.
During the past 30 years my experience has focused on landscape restoration, managing and developing recreation areas, nature interpretation and implementing management and development plans that improve water quality. I have also been actively involved in interpreting and preserving cultural resources. Several of our public areas are located at old village sites and along historic transportation routes and this cultural history is an important part of the conservation program.
If I cross paths with you in the wilds of Johnson County it will probably be on a river paddling or hiking the woods, prairies and wetlands of the public lands system. Other programs and organizations I am involved with include the State of Iowa - Water Trails Advisory Committee, the IDALS - Watershed Improvement Review Board and as a volunteer on the Board of Directors of Iowa Rivers Revival.
On behalf of the Conservation Board and staff I want to invite you to visit and enjoy the wonderful parks, preserves and trails in Johnson County. The Board and staff take great pride in providing and maintaining these areas for all to enjoy. If you have any questions about any of our programs or would like to make suggestions about how we can better provide these services please contact me any time. You will find our staff and Board willing to do everything possible to make your visit the best possible experience.
Conservation Program Manager
- Brad's Bio
I’ve always enjoyed being a part of the great Johnson County Conservation Board. I currently serve as the Johnson County Conservation Program Manager. In this role I direct special projects and programs within the Conservation Department as directed by the Executive Director. I also supervise the Environmental Education Program within the department and assist with department communications / public relations and administrative duties.
Prior to this position I served as the Johnson County Naturalist from 2002-2014. I’ve also held positions with numerous county conservation boards including serving five years as the Naturalist for the Pocahontas County Conservation Department.
I am a native of rural New Hampton Iowa where I grew up on a farm in southern Howard County with my parents, George and Julie and brother Jeff. I retain a great love for northeast Iowa and its resources. I keep busy spending time with my family and enjoying the outdoors anyway I can.
I currently reside in Coralville with my wife Tammy, our four boys – Jessie, Ben, Jacob and Carter and our daughter Olivia. You will likely find me attending one of the kids sporting events or out buying groceries to keep the herd fed.
- Wade's Bio
I am the Operations Superintendent for the Johnson County Conservation Board. I am currently in my 24th year of service with the JCCB. I spent 15 years as the mechanic. I performed repairs on all of the conservation boards equipment, built, and fabricated numerous projects and equipment. I assisted the former Superintendent with a lot of the bridges that we are known for here, along with electrical, plumbing, building construction and all aspects that make a park system function. I truly enjoy working here. Everyone gets along and we take care of each other. I feel good about the accomplishments and projects we have done knowing that people will enjoy them for many years to come.
I served in the United States Marine Corps for four year (1989-1993) and am a Desert Storm and Desert Shield Veteran. While serving in the Marine Corps I wrestled for the All Marine World Team and was trained as a diesel and turbine engine mechanic for the Abram tank.
I live in Lisbon with my wife Julie and daughter Emily. When I'm not working for the JCCB, I'm at home in my machine shop building custom motorcycles for hill climbing. My family has been hosting the Anamosa Motorcycle Hill climb since 1965. The hill climb is held the 1st Sunday in June and the 2nd Sunday in September.
Assistant Operations Superintendent
- Dave's Bio
Hi, I'm Dave Gustafson (aka Gus). I serve as the Assistant Operations Superintendent for the Conservation Board. I was made with pride on Minnesota's Mesabi Iron Range. I began working for the Conservation Board in March of 2004.
I live in rural Williamsburg with my wonderful wife Laura and precious son Dayne.
Some of my duties with the Conservation Board include: maintaining the Kent Park wells, and the repair and maintenance of electrical, plumbing, HVAC, Geo Thermal and sanitary sewer systems. I'm also responsible for variety of construction projects.
On my days off I enjoy repairing power equipment, as well as spending time with Laura, Dayne and all of our animals. I hope to see you out enjoying the outdoors in one of the Johnson County Conservation Board Areas.
- Charles' Bio
I was born and raised in Missouri where my fondest memories are wondering around the hardwoods and exploring creek bottoms with my older brothers. As I got older my love and interest in the outdoors only grew stronger. As a teenager I spent every chance I could hunting and fishing. I remember in high school, my favorite teacher said to me, "If you figure out a way to make money at something you love to do, you will live a happy life". Working in the conservation field for the last 12 years I can honestly say I am very happy and truly enjoy the job. I started my career in Boone, Iowa. Then worked in Wright County for 10 years, and have been here in Johnson County since 2013.
These days I enjoy sharing the outdoors with my wife Jenann, and son Bo. My family and I try to take in nature just about any way we can. During the fall "date night" for Jenann and I is commonly spent 15 feet up in a tree deer hunting. One of the things I cherish most is when I see Bo discover, explore, and have fun outside.
What I enjoy most about working for Johnson County Conservation is being part of a dedicated staff that is committed to providing some of the best facilities around to take in our natural resources. As a Park Ranger, I enjoy meeting the people that come to enjoy our parks and natural areas. Birding, cross country skiing, hiking, fishing, or camping there is something for you to enjoy no matter the season. Please, come out and enjoy.
- Aaron's Bio
I’m originally from Vinton, Iowa. Growing up I spent my free time hunting, fishing, and exploring our state’s public land with family and friends. These activities and memories sparked my passion for conservation and led me to attend Kirkwood Community College, where I obtained my AAS degree in Parks and Natural Resources and later Upper Iowa University, where I received a Bachelor’s degree in conservation management with a minor in criminal justice. Before starting with Johnson County Conservation, I was a seasonal park attendant for Linn County Conservation for several years and a park ranger intern for Poweshiek County Conservation.
During my free time I enjoy hunting upland game and turkey, fishing, hiking, and birding. Throughout the course of the year I hope to see you out in your county’s parks and natural areas enjoying a favorite outdoor activity of your own.
Natural Resource Manager
- Dave's Bio
I was first employed by the board as a seasonal employee in 1983. I became a full-time staff member in 1986 after graduating from Upper Iowa University with a double major in Conservation Management and Biology. I am a former resident of Solon, Iowa, and I grew up near Lake McBride State Park where I spent most of my time as a youth developing a strong fondness for nature and the outdoors.
My major job responsibilities are restoration and establishment of natural areas such as woodlands, savannas, wetlands, prairies and wildlife habitat plantings. I have been involved in many exciting projects for the Conservation Board over the years and have great passion for the work in this field. I would also like to thank the many friends and conservation supporters that I have met in the Johnson County community. Your continued assistance, encouragement and hard work is a vital aspect to the success of our program. I look forward to working with you . The future has never been brighter and the challenges never greater.
When not on duty for the Conservation Board you might find me camping, backpacking, trout fishing, studying raptorial birds or history. You may also find me pheasant hunting with my Brittany spaniel, my best friend.
- Josh's Bio
I was hired by the Johnson County Conservation Board in August 2020 as the mechanic for the department. As the mechanic I am responsible for keeping all the equipment maintained and running for the entire JCCB staff. This includes repairing and rebuilding everything from a weed eater to a backhoe, and anything in between. I also assist other staff members in other projects as needed.
I have four children; Lilly, Laney, Lincoln and Annie. I like to spend my free time hunting, fishing and spending time with my family.
I hope you all enjoy the various parks and areas that the Johnson County Conservation Board has to offer. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work for the Johnson County Conservation Department.
- Paul's Bio
I grew up on a farm in Northeast Iowa, where I learned to appreciate nature and enjoy the outdoors. The University of Iowa lured me to Iowa City, where I met my wife, Amy. Like so many others who found their way to the university, we never left town! We have been blessed with four amazing children, with whom we share our love of the land and outdoor activities. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the Johnson County Conservation Board staff and to have the opportunity to work with the many talented people at Kent Park. I look forward to doing my part to make sure that everyone who visits our county parks has a great experience.
Natural Resource Management Specialist
- Mike's Bio
I am originally from rural Buchanan county, where I grew up hunting, fishing, camping, and enjoying the outdoors. I went to college at Loras in Dubuque, where I majored in Biological Research and studied Black Terns in Wisconsin, Iowa, and the Dakotas for my thesis.
I started my Natural Resource career working as a Biological Technician for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife service on the Mississippi River, followed by work with Iowa DNR, Pheasants Forever, and lastly Conservation Districts of Iowa before coming to work at Johnson County Conservation.
My duties at Johnson County Conservation include helping the team restore and reconstruct native prairies and wetlands, control invasive species, manage tree plantings and conduct timber stand improvement, assist with prescribed fire, and continue the development and restoration of many of our newly-acquired properties.
During my free time I enjoy hunting ducks and pheasants with my Chesapeake Autumn, fishing and camping on the Mississippi River with my wife Kristina, and during the fall you will likely find me in a tree stand. I hope to see you out enjoying one of our outstanding areas Johnson County has to offer.
Natural Resource Management Specialist
- Kevin's Bio
I grew up in southwest Illinois on a 40-acre farm near the Mississippi River, and had a passion for fishing channel catfish, hunting waterfowl, and being out in the woods. This is where my love for the outdoors and understanding of the importance of conservation started.
I later went on to college and graduated from Hawkeye Community College with an Associate’s Degree, majoring in Natural Resources Management. I then went on to earn my Bachelor of Science Degree from Upper Iowa University, majoring in Conservation Management.
I have worked in the conservation field for the last five years. I worked in Hardin County as a natural resource seasonal employee for two summers, in Linn County as a park attendant and in Johnson County as a seasonal natural resource team member. I have also worked part-time for other agencies helping with timber stand improvement and prairie reconstruction for private landowners, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the Army Corps of Engineers.
I have been married for nine years to my wife Kelsey who has been nothing but supportive in this journey. We have three children, Cole, Cater, and Josie.
I am excited and looking forward to growing in this position with JCC and making positive changes in the world of conservation. I understand the benefits and lasting impacts that it will have, not only for my children, but for generations to come.
Natural Resource Management Specialist
- Blake's Bio
I grew up on an acreage in Parkersburg, Iowa. Upon graduating from the University of Northern Iowa in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Environmental Geography, I joined a wildland firefighting crew in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. I then spent the next two years working for various federal agencies including the National Park Service, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management as a hotshot firefighter. From here, I spent five years working for Hardin County Conservation working on the management of their prairies and woodlands.
My work at Johnson County focuses on the restoration of our county’s natural resources. Our projects often involve removing invasive plants like honeysuckle or autumn olive, as well as conducting prescribed burns through parks.
In my free time I enjoy backpacking, mountain biking, fishing, canoeing and hunting. I have a wonderful wife and two young boys and we can always be found enjoying the outdoors. Be sure to get out and enjoy some of the Johnson County parks for yourself.
Natural Resource Management Specialist
- Jeremy's Bio
I'm originally from the Boone Area. I grew up on a farm and spent much of my youth in Ledges State Park where I gained much of my interest in the outdoors. I have a AAS degree in Parks and Natural Resources from Kirkwood Community College, and graduated from Upper Iowa University with a double major - Conservation Management and Life Science.
My duties include employing various methods to control a variety of invasive species such as: autumn olive, brush honeysuckle, multi-flora, rose, garlic mustard, wild parsnip, sweet clover, and reed canary grass to name a few. My other responsibilities include, but are not limited to, prairie trail maintenance, timber stand improvement (TSI), seed harvest, assisting with prescribed burns, prairie restoration/reconstructions and wetland reconstructions.
During my free time I enjoy mushroom hunting, hiking, camping, canoeing, playing disc golf, and fishing of any kind. Fly fishing has taken up most of my time on the water in recent years.
I hope to see you at F.W. Kent Park or enjoying one of the other JCCB areas.
- Dory's Bio
I am the Secretary/Office Manager for the Johnson County Conservation Board. I manage the office, provide administrative support and serve as the confidential Secretary to the Conservation Board.
I was born in Johnson County and enjoyed growing up in the rural areas of Janesville and Dysart, Iowa. Growing up I enjoyed riding horses and motorcycles. After living in the Quad Cities area for a short stint, I now live in North Liberty with my husband Keith. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and exploring the back roads of the country by motorcycle with my husband.
- Emily's Bio
I began working with the conservation team in March 2015 and bring more than 15 years of administrative and support experience to the Conservation Department. My primary duties in the office include payroll, working on special projects, and general office administrative support. Outside of work hours some of my favorite activities to enjoy include hiking area trails, camping, kayaking, and exploring new ways to enjoy the natural world.
- Kristen's Bio
I grew up on a farm up in northern Iowa outside the small town of St. Ansgar. I was lucky to have the whole countryside to explore, and spent many hours along the banks of the Cedar River –way up at its headwaters. I studied Environmental Science at Iowa State University and graduated in 2013. I spent a lot of time studying watershed science in school, and the topic of wetland, stream, and river health continues to be one of my main passions today. Before starting here, I spent many years working as a backpacking guide/naturalist in New Mexico, working for a traveling restoration crew with The Nature Conservancy here in Iowa, in northern Idaho working for a watershed restoration organization, and up in northern Minnesota where I worked as a naturalist.
I’m excited to be in Iowa again, especially in beautiful Johnson County. As a naturalist, I get to help connect people to the world around them. I will be working to provide education for fieldtrips, public presentations, and special events. I can’t wait to explore the natural areas throughout this part of the state, and plan on spending many weekends camping, hiking, paddling, and biking. When I’m not outside, I’m typically painting, curled up with a good book, or dreaming about farming..
- Frances' Bio
I was born in Eastern Iowa, and spent my childhood catching frogs, searching for snakes, and finding fossils in the limestone gravel that surfaced our road. I loved exploring outside and I knew I wanted to help protect those outdoor spaces I enjoyed.
After graduating from the University of Dubuque in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Environmental Science, I spent a summer with Dubuque County Conservation as a naturalist intern and worked at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium. I spent a summer in New Jersey tracking turtles with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service before I decided to get a Master of Science in Biology at Fort Hays State University, in Hays, Kansas. After I graduated again in 2014, I came back to Iowa and worked for Dickinson County Conservation and Cerro Gordo County Conservation before spending the last three years with Des Moines County Conservation as their Naturalist.
Now I have the pleasure of sharing my love of nature and outdoor recreation with the people of Johnson County. If you schedule a field trip, attend a public program, or just come out to Kent Park to explore you might meet me. When I’m not working I enjoy horseback riding, working on my climbing skills, and foraging for wild edibles. I am happiest when adventuring with my husband Tyler, our two daughters, and our two dogs Peanut and Biscuit.
- Marci's Bio
I grew up in Muscatine and Cedar counties here in Iowa. As a young child, the highlights of my summers were camping at the Saulsbury Bridge Recreation Area and attending the county conservation’s annual nature camp. The third day of this camp involved wading into swampy waters and netting out little critters to examine afterward. These experiences with the county conservation are a large part of what created my interests and piqued my curiosity leading me to pursue a career in the natural sciences.
I went on to get a B.Sc. in in Zoology at the University of Wyoming where I made great connections with professors and graduate students who hired me to work for them on polar bears of the north slope of Alaska, forest fire ecology in Glacier National Park, and big horn sheep of Grand Teton National Park. These experiences furthered my curiously as well as my field hardiness.
In 2010, I accepted a M.Sc. position at University of Winnipeg in Canada where I studied stress in beluga whales of the Canadian Arctic. I was fortunate once again, to have professors and fellow graduate students who accepted my company to join them on trips up to Hudson Bay to help them a research station just outside of Churchill, Manitoba in Wapusk Provincial Park. While there I assisted with ringed seal and arctic fox research. In the spring of 2014 I moved to Oregon to survey spotted owls in the Tillamook Forest before returning to Iowa to conduct wildlife surveys at wind energy facilities across the state. I continued with this work becoming a project manager until starting my position here at Johnson County Conservation.
It has been a lifelong dream of mine to become a naturalist so I spend time between my adventures teaching groups about biology, science, and nature, whenever an opportunity arose. I always felt this was where I fit best. I look forward to helping others foster a love of nature and I hope to learn even more than I can teach from the wonderful members of our community here in Johnson County!
Field Worker II
- Seth's Bio
I was born and raised in Johnson County, growing up 5 miles north of Kent Park on a beautiful acreage of prairie and wetlands. In my youth I enjoyed playing in the creek and swimming in "Duck Tails" pond next to the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area. I love driving tractors, go karts, mowers, dirt bikes, and anything else I could get stuck.
Prior to the Field Worker II position, my work experience included: Property Stewardship Specialist at Bur Oak Land Trust, City of Coralville Stormwater Technician, Amana Colonies Golf Club grounds crew, Amana Forestry Department, many positions at an inpatient psychiatric facility in Cedar Rapids, and (the most challenging of all) stay at home dad.
I currently reside at Cangleska Wakan with my wife Peggy and our three sons, Max, Bob, and Ted. You can find us outside on summer evenings catching fireflies, snakes, and frogs, racing bikes, and getting dirty! When I get free time I like to organize the annual Clear Creek cleanup, spend time on the water, skiing on a mountain, hunting, fishing, or working in my woodshop.
I have had the great opportunity of working with Mr. Dick Schwab during the transition of Cangleska Wakan to public land. His skill and work ethic is admirable. I am excited to steward this magnificent property for many years to come, and I look forward to introducing the community to this amazing Johnson County Conservation property.
Field Worker II
- Terry's Bio
I have been serving Johnson County residents as a staff member of the Johnson County Conservation Board (JCCB) since 1989. My duties with the JCCB include working with other staff members to provide the maintenance and construction of facilities within JCCB areas. These duties are numerous and diverse from day to day. My duties can include, but are not limited to, harvesting prairie seed, building shelters, pouring concrete, trimming trees, construction/installing signage, and much more. I also supervise other field staff and seasonal employees to complete these tasks efficiently and to the highest of standards. The entire staff of the JCCB takes pride in the high quality work we provide to our county residents.
Away from work I enjoy spending time on my rural Oxford farm with my wife Stephanie. Our home is the same house in which I was born and raised. In our "spare" time we enjoy raising a few cattle, miniature horses and working around the farm. Stephanie and I are members of the Iowa Miniature Horse Club.
Aside from our small farming operation and miniature horse business, I enjoy hunting deer and going trout fishing.
I enjoy working for the JCCB and hop that you enjoy visiting our fine parks.
Field Worker II
- Ben's Bio
My name is Ben Woltz. I am a Field Worker II with the Johnson County Conservation Board. I began working with the Board in 2013 as a seasonal employee and now find myself enjoying my work with Johnson County year round.
I grew up in Bremer County where I spent many days hunting and fishing along the Cedar River. My passion for the outdoors led me to a B.A. in Biology and Environmental Science from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa. A few years later I returned to school and attained my M.S. in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota.
I take pride in the diversity of my experiences that have led me to where I am today. I have lived in Illinois, Minnesota (twice), Montana, and Washington State but Iowa has always called me back home where I currently live in Swisher, Iowa. I have worked for the National Park Service, Iowa DNR, and ISU county extension as well as multiple stints with the educational, business, and construction trades.
If I’m not at Kent Park, you may see me at one of the parks in southern Johnson County where I have been charged with maintaining the grounds and facilities at Hills Access, River Junction, Walker Park, and Scott Church. However, you will rarely find me at home. I love to travel (I have been to every state west of the Mississippi) and spend most of my free time finding new places to hike, camp, kayak, and fish with my family and friends. But there are also many special places here in Johnson County, so please, take time and enjoy all the opportunities out there.
Trails Field Worker
- Ed's Bio
I am the Trails Field Worker for the Johnson County Conservation Board. My duties include maintaining and caring for the trails in Johnson County but I also help take care of other JCCB properties when needed.
I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls where I received a degree in Conservation. I chose the Conservation field because I wanted to work and help protect the beauty of our natural resources. I grew up on a small dairy farm outside Rice Lake, Wisconsin where I spent a lot of my time in the nearby Rusk County Forest where my love for the outdoors was born. I enjoy hunting whitetail deer, fishing for whatever bites, and exploring nature.
I look forward to meeting you and hop to see you out on the trails soon!
- Alicia 's Bio
I grew up in Anamosa, Iowa where I would explore the woods and creek behind my house with my brother. I have always loved being in the outdoors with activities such as hiking, camping, biking, and fishing. My whole life I have had a wide variety of pets but currently just have with my cat, python, and tortoise. I also have a strong interest in plants and have a home full of house plants.
I graduated from Kirkwood with an AAS in Parks and Natural Resources and am currently working on my bachelors online. My past related work history is working one season with Jones County Conservation as an Naturalist Intern, one summer with the U.S Army Corps of Engineers as a park ranger, and three seasons with Johnson County Conservation as a seasonal on Operations and Maintenance.
My work at Johnson County consists of providing presentable, clean, and safe environments for the users of Kent Park, maintenance work, and helping in various projects such as lake restoration. I am happy to be part of the team here at Johnson County and know you will enjoy spending time in any of our beautiful locations.