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Conservation & Parks
Conservation LogoResponsibilities & Services
Story County Conservation's mission:
Connecting people with nature and improving natural resources -- making Story County a great place to live, work, and recreate.  

SCC manages over 3,000 acres of parks and natural areas for outdoor recreation and takes an active role in developing and managing wildlife habitat throughout the county, including assistance to private landowners. SCC also oversees the Integrated Roadside Vegetation Management program.

Rules & Regulations


Hickory Grove Lake Restoration 
A public meeting was held at Hickory Grove Park's Oriole Ridge Lodge (67466 250th Street, Colo) on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 to discuss plans for improving water quality and recreational opportunities at Hickory Grove Lake in Story County. A recording of that meeting can be found here: 

Construction planned will include in-park watershed improvements to stabilize areas that are actively eroding within the park and rehabilitate existing sediment catch basins to prevent nutrient and sediment pollution from entering the lake. Planned in-lake restoration work includes the removal of excess sediment from arms of the lake, shoreline stabilization fish habitat improvements, and updating the lake’s outlet infrastructure. Work is slated to begin this fall and will likely be completed in the next 2-4 years. 

Hickory Grove Lake is currently listed on the State’s list of Impaired Waters due to high levels of indicator bacteria (E.coli) and algae. The overall goal of this restoration project is to improve water quality and recreational opportunities at the lake and remove the lake from the Impaired Waters List. 

If you are interested in receiving quarterly updates on this project, please send us an email at , and we'll subscribe you to blog postings. Updates will include photos, maps, updated fishery information, and more specific details on hat, where, and why the work in happening. 

Sensitive Natural Areas Inventory

We are working towards an updated inventory of the natural areas throughout the county. Click here to learn more and view a map.

Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor - Master Plan


Update on Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor:

Following the Story County Board of Supervisor’s approval of the master plan at the February 14 board meeting, construction on Phase I for the Tedesco Environmental Learning Corridor is set to begin by the end of February. The master plan, which was unveiled at two open houses in January and received public comment, describes a space designed as a live learning laboratory showcasing and exploring conservation techniques. The 37-acre park demonstrates a collaborative approach to commercial development that will improve Story County’s economy, environment, and quality of life.

Phase I work will focus on stream restoration and bank stabilization. The deeply incised stream channel is mostly forested and dominated by highly invasive understory species. Select areas of forested riparian zone will be removed to re-establish the historic plant community — tallgrass prairie with scattered trees. In other areas along the stream, existing trees will remain, and invasive understory plants (predominantly honeysuckle) will be removed. The stream will then be accessible for reshaping and stabilizing the banks.

While it appears that a lot of habitat is being destroyed, removal of the low quality, early successional and invasive species will create a healthier and more functional system. The restoration of historic, native vegetation will better keep the soil in place, reducing erosion and incision of the channel.

For more information, contact Story County Conservation at 515-232-2516 (8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday) or email us at .

Emerald Ash Borer
In an effort to reduce the spread of the emerald ash borer (EAB) and protect our natural resources, the Story County Conservation Board prohibits the importation of firewood from outside the county into Story County Conservation parks and natural areas. To learn more about EAB and SCCB's firewood resolution,
click here.

Story County Conservation Center
56461 180th St.
Ames, IA 50010

Ph: (515) 232-2516
Fax: (515) 232-6989

Monday - Friday
8:30 AM - 4:30 PM

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