Brad Mormann, a native of Worthington, started his new position as Jones County Conservation Director earlier this month. Mormann is spending a lot of time getting acquainted with various people and groups associated with Conservation. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
By Kim Brooks, Express Editor
Brad Mormann has only been on the job here in Jones County a little over a week, but he’s seen so much in that short period of time.
Mormann started on Sept. 9 as the new Jones County Conservation director. He replaced Larry Gullett after nine years with the department.
Mormann is originally from Worthington, so he knows this area well. He said in high school, he spent time fishing at Central Park.
Mormann started out at Northeast Iowa Community College for a year. He went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in animal ecology from Iowa State University, with a minor in criminal justice. He then went on to get his master’s in biology at Missouri State University in Springfield.
With his criminal justice background, Mormann said it comes in handy when establishing and enforcing rules and regulations at Central Park, for instance.
“It kept the doors open for my future,” he said of obtaining the minor. “It worked out great.”
Over the years, Mormann has worked in a wide variety of conservation positions for various organizations and businesses. He worked for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Missouri Department of Conservation. He was also a resource manager and consultant for a private wildlife management firm in Missouri and a private land conservationist for the Missouri Department of Conservation.
Working for a private wildlife firm, Mormann said landowners all over the United States would hire them to help manage and maintain their land.
“I would meet with landowners and discuss their goals for their land and develop plans,” he said.
Throughout this time, Mormann penned numerous magazine articles on conservation practices. He also participated in an online video series.
In the back of Mormann’s mind, though, was the idea of one day returning to work in Iowa and raise his young children closer to family. His wife is from southwest Iowa.
“I took a broad shotgun approach to coming back to Iowa,” he said of the return.
With his expansive conservation background, Mormann said he felt the job of Jones County Conservation director was a good fit.
“I bring my own vision to the role,” he said. With young kids of his own, Mormann said it’s important to help kids learn about and get involved in nature.
Getting acquainted with the Conservation Board, Jones County Supervisors and other partners associated with the Conservation Department, Mormann said a lot of his time has been learning the ropes. One of his first excursions was the conservation tour on Sept. 11, a trip across the county to find out more about the resources right here in Jones County.
Right now, before taking on too much, Jones County Conservation is preparing for a major project at Central Park. This involves replacing and upgrading the septic systems for the park. Mormann said the improvements would ultimately help with the quality of the lake.
In addition to that, the new Pearson property next to the park that conservation purchased will also help with the water quality, improving land practices and run-off that enters the lake. All of these projects help protect the lake for future generations.
Further down the timeline, the lake will be dredged and drained.
“It’s a jewel in the middle of Jones County,” Mormann observed of Central Park and its features.
The county is also working on the final acquisition plans for Eby’s Mill Wildlife Area and putting together a master plan for that property.
“We just want to maximize the habitats and quality of what we have,” Mormann said. “We need to manage what we have properly.”
Working with partners such as the DNR and Twin Rivers Pheasants Forever, Mormann said it’s all for the welfare of the public.
“I’m making necessary connections and learning a lot,” said Mormann. “Everyone is excited about conservation, and that has me excited and fired up to move forward. It keeps the momentum going in a positive direction.”
Note: The fall Dinner on Hale Bridge at Wapsipinicon State Park was rescheduled for Thursday, Oct. 17. Contact Rose Rohr at 563-487-3541 for more information.