The Macon County Conservation District was established in 1966 with a mission to promote the conservation of natural and cultural resources within the county. The District owns over 3,000 acres of land across the county with more than a dozen holdings. A Master Plan Update was initiated in 2004 to provide the District with a summary of what it has accomplished, where it can improve efficiency, and to identify a long term strategy to manage its holdings.
Prairie Engineers staff, while employed with a former firm, were originally tasked with assisting on the update by focusing on identification and prioritization of potential future land acquisition sites. During early coordination meetings; however, the project team shifted the natural resource focus to conducting detailed investigations of existing District holdings in order to prepare resource management plans for the District's eight largest sites. The investigations enabled the project team to work with District staff to increase their awareness of the resources they held, identify threats affecting those resources, and produce a specific long term restoration and management plan which could be implemented as funding and time allowed. The restoration and management plans were based on current and historic uses of the site.
The master plan update was implemented in 2005 and has been used to prioritize/direct restoration efforts of their staff (and volunteers) and pursue grants and other sources of outside funding to further expedite the restoration process. The plan is still in use and has been a key resource for the site managers. PEI staff was contacted in 2010 and tasked with creation of detailed resource management plans for two additional holdings not included within the 2005 update.