Iowa’s Effigy Mounds director relieved of duties

Cedar Rapids, Iowa (AP) May 2010

The National Park Service says the superintendent of Iowa’s Effigy Mounds National Monument in northeast Iowa has been relieved of her duties.

The Park Service would not say if the move involving Phyllis Ewing is related to unauthorized construction projects that may have damaged the ancient cultural features the monument was established to protect.

Park Service spokeswoman Patty Rooney says it’s a “personnel matter.”

Ewing took responsibility after a park service review determined that required studies had not been completed before construction started on a maintenance shed and an elevated boardwalk. The review also uncovered other irregularities dating to 1999.

The monument features over 200 mounds in the shape of bears and birds created by prehistoric American Indians over 1,000 years ago.