In 2011 Ducks Unlimited Wetlands America Trust purchased the Beam property, south of Oshkosh, Nebraska as part of the revolving lands strategy. The 447-acre property contains some of the last unbroken native wet meadow, which has spectacular blooms of the rare shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) wildflower. The land also contains North Platte River frontage and accretion ground, which is where Ducks Unlimited focused its restoration.
"My grandmother said there were never any trees on this property," said Cherrie Beam-Clark, a former owner of the property.
Through the generations the habitat on the property has changed.
"A treeless habitat would be the case during Cherrie's grandmother's time when prairies were maintained via fire and other disturbance," said John Denton, DU manager of conservation programs for Nebraska and Kansas. "With a lack of disturbance, invasive trees have taken over the area."
With funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, DU removed invasive Russian olive and red cedar trees and thinned the forest to restore the property. Ducks Unlimited will also install fencing to allow periodic grazing, which will aid in preventing undesirable plants from taking over the property. Ducks Unlimited excavated a remnant channel of the Platte River which will provide additional waterfowl habitat on the property. Upon protecting this property with a conservation easement, DU will sell the property and reinvest the proceeds in another Nebraska wetland property.
Ducks Unlimited is the world's largest non-profit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, DU is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, with special events, projects and promotions across the continent. Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org. Connect with us on our Facebook page at facebook.com/ducksunlimited, follow our tweets at twitter.com/ducksunlimited and watch DU videos at youtube.com/ducksunlimitedinc.
Jennifer P. Kross