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Conservation Board

Conservation Board Meeting Agendas & Minutes

Current Johnson County Conservation Board Members

Carolyn Buckingham, Conservation Board member photo
Carolyn Buckingham - Secretary
Appointed: 01/01/20
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Bonnie Winslow-Garvin
Bonnie Winslow-Garvin 
Appointed: 01/01/21  
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Photo of Connie Mutel
Connie Mutel
Appointed: 01/01/17
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Photo of Bill Waldie
Bill Waldie, Vice-President
Appointed: 06/20/13
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Photo of Gene Zdrazil
Gene Zdrazil, President
Appointed: 06/08/17
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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 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. Since that time, the JCCB has acquired 9 areas comprising 1437 acres of land for public use throughout the county. F.W. Kent Park, near Tiffin, is the base of operations for the board. This 1,082-acre area has become one of the finest parks in the state.

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.