Hardin County's Wetlands

With the modernization of agriculture, natural and historical wetlands have began to disappear, threatening and changing our landscape as we know it. However, agencies like Hardin County Conservation are taking strong strides forward in implementing wetlands once again in new areas. This is going to ensure habitat and quality of life for Iowa's aquatic invertebrates, mammals, waterfowl and food web. Hardin County Conservation has four wetlands: Legacy, Pintail, Hilker and Ruby Wildlife Areas.

What is a wetland?

A wetland is an area of land consisting of puddles, swamps, ponds, marshes and/or bogs. In Iowa, many of our wetlands are surrounded by prairie and have a filter effect on water.

Has Iowa always had Wetlands?

Yes, and here's why!

If you didn't know, Iowa was once passed over by a glacial drift. That right, the Ice Age happened right on top of Iowa. So what does that have to do with wetlands? Let us explain! These glaciers that once surfaced over our land began to melt, and when they did, they started sliding just like a giant ice cube. The glaciers weighed millions of tons, so when they began to slide and wiggle, they moved the earth underneath them. We call this glaciation and it produced potholes in the ground along with lose rock and sand. The melting water filled the craters and turned them into ponds, creating a unique historical landscape like we have here in Hardin County, known as the prairie pothole region. Alongside these prairie potholes and rock outcrops, native plants came to succession and created what we now call Iowa's wetlands. 

Pictured below are various species of water fowl located at Hardin County Conservation's Pintail Wetland


Below is Hardin County Conservation's Pintail Wetland

Pintail Wetland

Featured here is Hardin County Conservation's new Mobile Bird Observatory set up at Legacy Wetland

Bird Observatory at Legacy

A Tiger Salamander, one of many terrestrial vertebrates found in a wetland, continuing on his journey!

Tiger Salamander