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The mission of Nahant Marsh Education Center is to protect, enhance, and restore the Marsh through education, research, and conservation

Each year there are conservation practices like our Spring Cleanup that are more visible to the public, and others, such as our management plan, that are not. 

Among other accomplishments, in 2017, we:
• Removed 53 bags and 40 truck-loads of garbage
• Planted 150 native trees and shrubs
• Treated 5.5 acres of invasive grasses
• Cut and sprayed or mowed 35 acres of invasive species
• Coordinated with Delta Waterfowl to install 29 Wood duck boxes at Nahant Marsh and Carp Lake

Also in 2017:
• 16 New plant species were identified
• 2 federally endangered bat was identified
• 1 state-threatened mussel was identified

Natural Resource Management Team: Zach Strong (left), Jevonnah Foster (middle), Kory Darnall (right)

Nahant Marsh’s Management Plan
Lead by Jevonnah Foster- Natural Resources Manager
Overall Management Goal: Enhance and maintain the biodiversity of Nahant Marsh flora and fauna.

Management techniques are reviewed yearly at Nahant Marsh because of the high seed sources of invasive species coming in from the adjacent highway (I-280), the rail road, and the industrial areas surrounding the marsh. Monitoring helps to determine which techniques are needed, and how often. This is why the research conducted each summer through the LSAMP IINSPIRE program is so important to us.

The three main techniques employed at Nahant Marsh are prescribed burns, invasive species removal and increasing diversity.

Prescribed Burns
Historically, fire has maintained grassland ecology naturally. Fire releases nutrients to the ground and controls undesirable vegetation, increasing species diversity. Prairie plants can survive fires since they have deep roots and grow from a point underground. The prairies at Nahant Marsh are burned at regular intervals to help keep them healthy and improve wildlife habitat.

Invasive Species Removal
Invasive species removal requires pulling or spraying herbaceous invasives. Annual invasives can be cut or pulled before going to seed and no herbicide is needed. Perennial invasives need to have their roots fully removed or to be treated with an herbicide. Cutting and spot spraying the stumps works best in late summer and fall, as it reduces the amount of herbicide used. It should not be done in the spring.

Other techniques include mowing and spraying. Large patches of annuals can be mowed prior to them seeding. Mowing large areas of perennials stresses them, but does not kill them completely. Sometimes spraying large areas of perennials is the only option. Reed Canary Grass and Phragmites need a combination treatment (mowing/ burning and then spraying). 
Increasing Diversity
Adding a variety of native seeds each fall to our prairies is critical to increasing native diversity. Planting plugs works well in small areas as they need to be watered often until established- which would not be feasible for our large areas. In the forested sections of Nahant, planting native tree species in the spring and fall help increase forest diversity. Small areas at a time are best since opening large areas for planning will increase the chances of invasives coming into that area.

Upcoming Events

Beginning Birding

Beginning Birding

Sep 23, 2018 6:30am - 9:00am

Learn how to identify birds and their habitats with expert ornithologist Kelly McKay. Kelly lead birding tours to various areas of Nahant Marsh. Participants...

Homeschool Program

Homeschool Program

Sep 28, 2018 2:30pm - 4:00am

Nahant Marsh Education Center provides a monthly education program specifically geared towards homeschool children in grades K-8th. Students are split...

Mindfulness Marsh Tour

Mindfulness Marsh Tour

Sep 29, 2018 10:00am - 12:00pm

REBUILDING ENVIRONMENTAL ETHICS - BRINGING SPIRIT, BODY, AND NATURE TOGETHER Discover all that nature has to offer with a mindfulness tour of the marsh! Come...

Fall Sunset Hike

Fall Sunset Hike

Oct 2, 2018 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Explore the marsh at dusk when the wildlife is abundant. Sunsets at Nahant are truly a masterpiece painted by Mother Earth. The hike will include the history...

Breakfast Nature Club

Breakfast Nature Club

Oct 5, 2018 8:00am - 9:00am

  Learn the secret life of Iowa's wildlife during this monthly class at Nahant Marsh. Each month we will explore the characteristics and adaptations...

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The Education Center is open
M-F: 8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Saturdays 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Trails are open daily from sunrise to sunset.

If the main gate is locked, trails are accessible from the front parking lot. Look for the opening in the fence near the kiosk.