A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust
Dave Heineman, Governor
Board of Trustees
In This Issue:
Executive Director Corner
The Holiday season is upon us. Where did 2014 go? We had the best turnout ever for our Holiday Open House at the Ferguson House on December 7th. We had over 500 visitors and as always we learn new things about the house, the Fergusons and their businesses. A gentleman came through that owns one of the bumper cars from Capital Beach (the Fergusons owned the amusement park). Leta Powell Drake (a.k.a. Kalamity Kate) brought in several treasures from Capital Beach. She has lived at Capital Beach since the late 60’s. She generously donated several postcards of the park, fliers for a fun day at the park and a framed set of photographs of the swimming pool at Capital Beach when admission was only 10 cents.
The Lady Huskers surprised everyone with a victory in volleyball over the number three rated Washington Huskies on their home court in the Super Regional, sending them to the elite eight, only to get beaten by the Cinderella team of the year, BYU. Washington had not been beaten at home in over two years. We were one win away from going to the Final Four in Oklahoma, but with only one senior, I’m ready for a great season next year. After the dust settles with the football team I hope we can get back on track and at least be competitive in the western division of the Big 10 and hopefully in the full Conference. The new coach will be under a microscope, but let’s hope we get the right combination of a leader, staff supervisor, a recruiter, a mentor and a coach.
Change is inevitable and the Trust Board will be seeing some change. Governor-elect Ricketts has announced Greg Ibach will continue to lead the Department of Agriculture and remain on the board. Unfortunately Brian Dunnigan has announced his resignation from the Department of Natural Resources and thus will be leaving the Trust Board. We wish Brian the best at his new position at Olsson Associates. In March we’ll say goodbye to Rod Christian from Steinauer. Rod’s congressional district changed with the last census and like Vince Kramper a few years ago, he has lost his Trust Board seat as a result of now living in the 3rd congressional district instead of the 1st district.
The grant committee continues meeting and ranking grants and will present those rankings in late January. The next board meeting will be February 12, 2015 at 1:30 at the Ferguson House.
Have a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Great 2015!
Mark A. Brohman
In Sandhills, Grant Returns Grassland To Its Roots - submitted by Nate Jenkins
Dickens, Neb. – Thirty-five years ago, cattle trails were wiped out by pivot tire tracks that drew circles on thousands of acres north and south of here and corn replaced coneflowers and other native species as the predominant plant.
The picture is of (left to right) Jeff Nichols of NRCS; NCORPE employee Mike Keller; Jerry Volesky of the University of Nebraska; Nadine Bishop of NRCS; and Upper Republican NRD Assistant Manager Dirk Dinnel during a recent visit to NCORPE to evaluate the emergence of grasses on the property.
The Nebraska Natural Legacy Conference, Where Research and Management Discussions Shape the Future of Conservation - submitted by Melissa Panella, Wildlide Biologist, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
The Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) has been a long-standing supporter of the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, our State Wildlife Action Plan. The Natural Legacy Project was first introduced to Nebraska in 2005 with the mission of working with stakeholders, often finding win-win solutions to conserve wildlife and their habitats. In 2011, the core Natural Legacy Team and their Partner organizations chose Grand Island as an ideal meeting place in central Nebraska to host the first annual Natural Legacy Conference, where research and management discussions could improve future conservation actions statewide. Since the first conference, the event has traveled to North Platte, Nebraska City, and most recently Gering. Moving the conference to different cities around the state allows biologists and land managers to better highlight conservation efforts taking place in the various eco regions of Nebraska. Tours of Nebraska’s Biologically Unique Landscapes (BULs) have become a staple experience praised by participants of the annual conference.
Conferees Amber Schiltz, Jessica Edgar, and Kelsey Drey (pictured left to right) enjoy the commute by pick-up truck during a field tour to focus on the native plants and animals of the Wildcat Hills Biologically Unique Landscape at Natural Legacy Conference 2014. Photo by Jessica Edgar.
Roy Stewart Stream Restoration Project
The above photo was taken in November during a field tour of the Roy Stewart Stream Restoration Project. Partners for the project included the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Sandhills Task Force. Funds from the Sandhills Task Force came from an NET Grant. An estimated 60 people were in attendance. Some were landowners, some were from the partnering agencies.
This portion of the Elkhorn River exhibited the signs of an actively downcutting stream likely caused by historic straightening of the stream channel coupled with an inadequate riparian buffer. Due to the scale of the degradation, the project involved two phases, completed at separate times. The project has been completed resulting in approximately one stream mile and 500 acres of wet meadows and wetlands associated with the stream being positively impacted.
Practices implemented in this project include; recreating historic stream meanders, installation of in-stream structures to raise the water level to historic levels, re-seeding of native vegetation in disturbed areas and reshaping stream banks.
Species benefiting from this project include American burying beetle, Bald Eagle, Whooping Cranes, Trumpeter Swan and other species associated with Sandhills streams and wet meadows.
Merry Christmas from the Staff of NET
- February 12, 2015 (Thursday), 1:30pm - 1st Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lncoln NE.