Whiterock Conservancy Natural History
From Coon Rapids to Des Moines, the Middle Raccoon River forms the southwestern-most edge of the terminal moraine of the Wisconsin glacier, which was present in Iowa until roughly 12,000 years ago.
See also this scientific article: Geologic Framework of the Middle Raccoon River Valley in Whiterock Conservancy by E.A. Bettis III, Dept. of Geoscience, University of Iowa
The 4,300-acre contiguous property of Whiterock Conservancy straddles two very interesting ecological margins: the Des Moines Lobe/Southern Iowa Drift Plain land-form boundary and the upland river-bottom lands surrounding the Middle Raccoon River. Unique ecological communities are present on the property, from the sand prairies covering Cretaceous Dakota sandstone outcrops and wetland seeps perched on the Middle Raccoon River floodplain to the upland oak-dominated woodlands and ridge-top savannas.
The diversity on the landscape is complemented by another unique aspect of the property: its enormity. WRC is the third largest contiguous tracts of land owned by conservation-based organization or agency in Iowa (next to Neal Smith Wildlife Refuge and Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt) and serves as one of the largest land gifts in the Midwest to date. Our lands are a treasure and asset to our state, providing ecosystem services as well as space for wildlife habitat, a working farm, and recreational and educational pursuits for Iowa residents and visitors.
Non-Vascular Plants & Lichens
1390 Highway 141, Coon Rapids, IA 50058 | 712-684-2697
Whiterock Conservancy, a private, 501(c)(3) land trust, providing sustainable agriculture,
conservation, outdoor activities and recreation and environmental education.