Conservation Board purchases prairie management equipment

Posted March 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm

By Steve Peterson

Plymouth County Supervisor Chairman James Henrich signed a letter endorsing action of the Loess Hills Alliance Executive Committee on Feb. 13, authorizing up to $80,000 to be reimbursed to the Plymouth County Conservation Board for the purchase of a compact track loader with a forestry mulching head.

However, at the March 14 Conservation Board meeting, Executive Director Dennis Sohl informed the supervisors the cost will be an estimated $94,000 and he was instructed to obtain quotes.

“This equipment will be used for prairie management work on lands managed by the Conservation Board within the Loess Hills region of Plymouth County and other conservation activities. The currently planned prairie management work includes improving, enhancing or changing firebreaks for our prescribed fire program; grinding and mulching woody species encroaching into prairie areas; and grinding and mulching undesired plants for oak savannah restoration work,” explained Sohl in a letter to county supervisors.

The Loess Hills Alliance received $250,000 Vanorsdel Estate, which is restricted to use within the Loess Hills of Plymouth County. The Loess Hills Alliance Executive Committee approved Plymouth County Conservation Board’s use of the funds, for prairie management and oaks savannah,” said Sohl.

“This machine will save us untold hours of physical labor that the Americorps group does. We will try and get more progressive in our management of prairies and oaks savannah,” said Sohl.

Conservation Board members discussed the open board vacancy due to the resignation of Dave Klingensmith of Kingsley. Board members were planning to contact the Plymouth County supervisors to see what their plans were for advertising the position.

On a related note an appointment to the Plymouth County Conservation Foundation as the board representative was tabled.

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