Clearing of unwanted red cedar trees at the Valentine Mill Pond has recently been done by the Middle Niobrara Natural Resources District.
The removal of the cedars was done in accordance with fire concerns of the community, said Zac Peterson, the natural resources technician of the NRD. There was also vegetative trimming to clear the corridor associated with overhead power lines. Some stumps will remain from the larger trees removed so area visitors will recognize their presence will walking around the site.
A portion of the lumber from the larger cedar trees will be used to create a sign to commemorate the Big Rock fire that occurred ten years ago, just to the north of the Mill Pond and Valentine City Park.
Smaller portions of the removed trees have been mechanically chipped. These chips have been used to stabilize recreational trails in the area.
The NRD is also chipping cedar trees removed at Schlagel Creek WMA by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Reducing the tree piles to chips is a portion of research investigating whether tree chips as soaked with cattle and hog manure, when spread upon land, can provide mineral nutrients to plants and soil.
Grants from the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality and U.S. Forest Service have been instrumental in this research associated with local landowners.