Oxford Junction Wildlife Area

Oxford Junction

Oxford Junction, Iowa - The Oxford Junction Wildlife Area in southeast Jones County might be hard to find on a map made before 2017. That’s because it didn’t exist. Oxford Junction wildlife area is only two years old and owned by the Iowa DNR. The 450-acre public area, split into two parcels, emerged from the Wapsipinicon River floodplain because the river has a habit of leaving its banks. It will grow by 66 acres, possibly as early as this fall, when an adjacent floodplain forest is added.

The Oxford Junction Wildlife Area is here because a who’s who of eastern Iowa conservation partners rolled up their sleeves to make it happen. One partner in particular, Eastern Iowa Conservation Foundation, of Dubuque, purchased 80 acres that they enrolled in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program pollinator practice, and the Iowa Habitat and Access Program last year. After all the paperwork was done, they donated the land for everyone to use. The Dubuqueland chapter of Pheasants Forever donated landscaping fabric, a machine to install the fabric and about a dozen volunteers to plant the shrubs. Using fabric prevents other plants from outcompeting young shrubs and allows them to become established. In year two, the shrubs are looking good.

On Columbus Day last year, 15 service members from the Dubuque National Guard Armory volunteered their time and equipment to remove an acre or so of cottonwood trees. The area is now prairie.

The Twin Rivers Chapter of Pheasants Forever has been hands on partners as have the Dubuque County Conservation Society. In fact, the broad partnership includes Wapsi Bottoms Whitetails Unlimited, Delaware County Pheasants Forever, Jones County Conservation Board, Linn County Pheasants Forever, National Whitetails Unlimited, Grant Wood Loop, Matt McQuillen, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

 



Location

Oxford Junction near the edge of city limits

Map Oxford Junction Wildlife Area



Features

There are two, three-acre ponds on the east tract that offers good fishing for those willing to explore. The ponds are very different – one is surrounded by trees with little shore fishing access, the other is surrounded by sand deposits with a fish population heavily influenced by the river and little shade. These ponds would also be a good place to take a kayak.

The sea of young prairie is alive with redwing black birds, grasshoppers, goldfinches, butterflies, dragonflies and pheasants.  

In year two, the DNR has allowed the prairie to begin finding its identity and over time, the native plants will out-compete the annuals. Wild bergamot, black-eyed Susan and more have started to appear.

 



Operating Hours & Seasons

4:30 am - 10 pm year round

Closures

10 pm  - 4:30 am year round