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Habitat Work on DU’s Verona Complex

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Ducks Unlimited recently installed fence on four properties on the Verona Complex in Clay County. Additional fencing is planned, but is contingent upon securing additional funds for this important work. Parking areas and access points have been created as part of the fencing plan. Care was taken to incorporate parking/access facilities away from fragile hydric soils and wetlands to minimize disturbance to waterfowl and waterfowl habitat. The bottom wire on all fences is a smooth wire to minimize snagging black labs, fawns and other four legged critters.

In addition to relieving parking issues and congestion at Verona, the fence will facilitate the use of grazing for vegetation management. Cattle can be the most cost effective management tool to improve and maintain both upland and wetland habitat. With proper timing, stocking rate, and duration, cattle can be used to set back invasive vegetation in wetlands and promote early successional species, like smartweed and barnyard grass, species that provide abundant food for waterfowl. Cattle can also be used to keep a proper forb to grass ratio in the uplands, an important consideration for pheasants and other upland wildlife species. DU conservation staff plan to utilize temporary, internal cross fencing to focus grazing where it needs to be done, and at the right times. Nebraska DU conservation staff wants to reassure DU members that grazing is a management tool and is only used to improve and maintain habitat.

For more information, contact Nebraska DU Land Manager Tim Horst 402-364-3135.

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