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Resource Management

algific slope

There are more than 300 algific talus slopes but some are in poor condition. Anything disrupting the air flow through sinkholes and out the vents can affect the habitat.



And the Count Goes On: Monitoring the Species

Both the endangered Iowa Pleistocene snail and the threatened Northern monkshood are monitored to ensure that populations are healthy and viable. While the monkshood plants can be carefully counted, tiny snails are much more of a chore. Only estimates and trends can be determined for snail populations. They are sampled with the aid of boards placed on the algific talus slopes to act as “traps.” They are attracted to the cool, moist undersides of the boards where they are measured, marked and counted. Monkshood populations are being monitored and genetic studies are being conducted so population differences can be better understood.

Threats to the Slopes

There are more than 300 algific talus slopes but some are in poor condition. Anything disrupting the air flow through sinkholes and out the vents can affect the habitat. Similar to the past the impacts of logging, grazing, road building, quarries, agricultural runoff, and sinkhole filling reduced the number of algific talus slopes. Additionally invasive species like garlic mustard threatens the habitat.

Protecting Habitats

The nearly 1,000-acre refuge currently consists of scattered tracts in northeast Iowa ranging from a few acres to a few hundred acres. Land acquisition from willing sellers is ongoing. Restoration of forest or prairie habitat is conducted on the land surrounding algific talus slopes and provides habitat for a variety of wildlife including white-tailed deer, wild turkey, bald eagles, American woodcock, woodpeckers and a variety of songbirds.

 
Last Updated: May 24, 2012
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