Iowa City Ecological Plan

Iowa City sought a systematic, scientific approach to management of 42 city-owned natural areas in its parks, greenways, and stormwater management areas. AES was retained to conduct a detailed natural resources inventory of each natural area and create a system-wide management plan with specific management briefs for each area.

As a platform for long-term management of Iowa City’s natural areas, AES built an ArcGISTM geodatabase. AES geospatial specialists began the process by collecting high resolution, multi-spectral aerial imagery under leaf-off conditions for the entire city. AES then digitized detailed land cover boundaries in each natural area, classified them using a customized system, and used the data for on-ground field inventory.

Through monthly meetings, AES and Iowa City staff worked together to refine the inventory and develop a brief management plan for each natural area that described current conditions and prioritized management actions with associated estimated costs. These costs were aggregated to create a system-wide ten-year restoration and management budget within the city’s funding categories.

AES also reviewed city ordinances using the Center for Watershed Protection’s metrics, evaluated the city’s STAR Community certification rating, and recommended ways to improve performances of both.

  • System-wide Natural Areas Inventory and Management Plan
  • Ecological Assessment
  • GIS desktop and field mapping technology
  • Aerial photography and interpretation
  • Reporting

Natural Areas Inventory and Management Plan
Iowa City, Iowa
Over 40 City parks
2016 – Ongoing


Erin StraubIowa City Ecological Plan