Shore birds, waterfowl and upland birds will benefit from three recent Wetlands Reserve Program project sites in central Nebraska.
The Cuba WRP includes restoration of many potholes like the one in front of Joe Dush and Jim Lott [NRCS resource conservationist]. Native grasses have gotten a great start as evidenced by the reddish color" in the background. Images courtesy of the NRCS.
The private-lands projects, with a summary of their features as provided in an email report by the Lincoln office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, are:
Bernard & Sharon Cuba WRP, Merrick County: “This 130.8 acres WRP contract was previously all furrow irrigated cropland, but these naturally wet soils will be much better managed as wetlands. Construction took place in the fall of 2005 by a contractor going through the federal bid process. Grass was broadcast seeded by Prairie Plains Resource Institute in the spring of 2006 with high diversity, local ecotype, prairie seed, 248 different species (34 grasses, 36 sedges & rushes, 21 legumes, 60 composites, 97 miscellaneous). Future management will include prescribed fire and grazing.”
"Joe Dush and Jim Lott are standing near one of many linear wetlands being restored on this site. Construction will be completed next Spring followed by a seeding of an appropriate wetland grass mix."
Albin & Mary Ziemba WRP, Nance County: “This 154.7 acre WRP contract was previously furrow irrigated cropland and some pasture, but again the naturally wet conditions means this land is best suited as managed for wetlands. The wetland restoration construction began recently this fall, but the wet soil conditions (as evidenced in the picture) will likely mean completion of the restoration in the spring of 2008. The wetland restoration plan includes 6166 feet of fence removal, capping 2 irrigation wells, 4 acres of invasive tree removal, 14,000 CY of excavation, and 98.7 acres of grass seeding. Future management will include prescribed fire and grazing.”
"... a small pothole wetland and the cleared brush piles in the background."
Chad and Christina Borowiak WRP, Nance County: “…trees have been removed this fall and wetland restoration and grass seeding will be completed in the spring of 2008. About 83.5 acres of this land was previously furrow irrigated cropland and the remainder was pasture. The wetland restoration plan includes 39 acres of tree removal, 4500 feet of fence removal, 19,516 CY of excavation, and 94.5 acres of grass seeding. Future management will be via prescribed fire and grazing.”
These project sites were visited on October 24th by Steve Chick, state conservationist with the NRCS. "Over the years I have received many positive comments about the outstanding work of our St. Paul staff, so I made this trip with high expectations... It is obvious that farmers and ranchers truly appreciate our NRCS assistance."
“Through the use of new tools (TERRA MODEL/survey grade GPS/ ATV's) we are now able to produce surveys, design, layout and checkout with considerable time/labor saving's,” Chick said. “What may have taken one person with a Total Station and 2 rodmen 4-5 hours to survey can now be done by just one person in one hour using the Trimble Survey grade GPS and we produce a better quality survey! Along with time savings in TERRA MODEL there is also a huge time savings by using the computer program for end products such as quantities, area, profile and creating a complete set of drawings. The final product is a much more professional set of drawings and designs … I was very impressed with the simplicity of the final designs that Joe [Dush] produces for the contractor to construct the wetlands.”
Dush is a Civil Engineering Technician with the NRCS.
These projects were managed by the Saint Paul office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.