May 2020 - Parks & Recreation - 28

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF STORY COUNTY CONSERVATION

CONSERVATION
CONSERVATION

Conservation at the Crossroads
By Erica L. Place

I

n Story County, Iowa, an undevelopable wild area sat in the middle of
a planned commercial development. The developer, Iowa State University's Research Park, saw the potential for an amenity rather than
an obstacle. What began as discussions between the research park and
the county quickly grew into multi-agency conversations about a shared
vision - a learning corridor that would provide a place where people could
see first-hand how the urban-rural interface was not only possible, but also
could improve the economy, environment and quality of life.

The Four Cs
The park's namesake, Ted Tedesco,
has been a stalwart of conservation
and community betterment, serving as Ames mayor, on the Ames
Planning and Zoning Commission, Ames City Council and Story
County Conservation Board. Tedesco's heart is in bringing people
together and investing in future generations and our environment, and
it was important these ideals were
represented in the corridor. The
" four Cs " concept coined by Tedes26

Live stake plantings and root wads armor the
curves in the stream and protect against erosion.

Parks & Recreation

| M AY 2 02 0 | PA R K S A N D R E C R E AT I O N .O R G

co would guide us through development: collaboration, cooperation,
conservation and connectivity.
In order to create a space that
embodied the four Cs, habitat restoration had to be a large part of the
process. The landscape was greatly
altered from its historic form; the
stream was flashy, incised and disconnected from the floodplain, and
invasive species had taken the place
of pre-settlement wet meadow and
upland prairie. We needed to do
more than just repair the landscape.

It had to become a live learning
laboratory, modeling conservation
techniques and sustainable technologies. And, because it was nestled in the heart of development,
we had an opportunity to showcase
stormwater management. Retention basins, which replicated wetlands, encouraged infiltration and
also added aesthetically pleasing
and functional habitat. Stream
restoration work presented another opportunity to model up-andcoming sustainable strategies. Bioengineering techniques included
using trees that had been removed
during the prairie restoration to
stabilize the banks. We strived to
incorporate " greener " approaches
to typical park amenities. Prairie
reconstructed with local eco-type
seed replaced traditional mowed
turf grass. Repurposed shipping



May 2020 - Parks & Recreation

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