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For more information about the Wachiska prairie preservation program call, write, or email:

Wachiska Audubon Society
4547 Calvert St.
Suite 10
Lincoln, NE
68506-5643
(402) 486-4846

 
 

Wachiska Prairies

Chapter Plays Major Role in Tallgrass Prairie Preservation in
Southeast Nebraska

Wachiska's On-going Dedication to Prairie Preservation:

The tallgrass prairie was the landscape that greeted the pioneers, but today less than 2% of the tallgrass prairie remains. Wachiska Audubon Society has set a goal to preserve an educational prairie in each of the 17 southeastern Nebraska counties that are in its membership area.

Do you own or manage a native prairie pasture in Southeast Nebraska? or a virgin hay meadow? These remnants of our natural heritage are dwindling due to attractive commodity prices and the shortage of feed for livestock. If you would like to make sure your native hay land or pasture is maintained for future generations, Wachiska Audubon would like to help you.

As a nonprofit conservation education organization, Wachiska is dedicated to protecting native grasslands in Southeast Nebraska. One of the tools available to landowners is a conservation easement. These are flexible agreements between Wachiska and an interested landowner to maintain the grassland in perpetuity. Wachiska maintains easements in 14 counties from Richardson to Fillmore to Saunders. There may be one near you.

An easement does not interfere with farming operations. It just protects the grassland from conversion to cropland or development. In select situations, Wachiska has purchased native grasslands and managed them for agricultural and habitat production. If you or someone you know would be interested in protecting native grassland, contact Don Pepperl at 402-489-9321 or Ernie Rousek at 488-9032 or the Wachiska office. If you'd like to see what a conservation easement looks like in your area, let us know and we will put you in contact with one of our conservation partners.

Typical prairie flower

Prairies Owned by Wachiska Audubon Society, public access encouraged

Dieken Prairie (14 acres, Otoe County, southwest of Unadilla NE)

1.5 miles south on Rd 20 from northwest corner Unadilla and NE 02/Rd 20 intersection to intersection with Rd I, 0.75 miles west on Rd I; Prairie located on south side Rd I and in the northwest corner of the northwest quarter section.

Good wildflower displays are seen throughout the year. Visit in late May to Mid June for prairie phlox and narrow flowered scurf pea. Mid June to early July is best for New Jersey tea, black-eyed Susans, and leadplant. Rough gayfeather is outstanding in August. Downy gentian and ladies’ tresses are seen in good numbers in September and October.

Klapka Prairie (400 acres total, Pawnee County, southeast of Table Rock NE)

Native unbroken prairie: 25 acres-excellent condition in 3 separate locations; 111 acres-fair/good condition in 3 separate locations; 32 acres-poor condition in 1 location; balance of property in various stages of prairie restoration.

At east edge Table Rock and intersection NE 04 and Pawnee Street, proceed east-southeast on Pawnee Street until intersecting with Ave 626 (~0.25 mile), proceed south ~ 2.25 miles on Ave 626 to the intersection with Rd 712; ~120 acres located immediately southeast of intersection, ~ 240 acres ~0.5 miles east on north side of Rd 712, and, ~40 acres 1 mile east on south side of Rd 712; Native prairies in excellent condition located in three separate locations on property (need a map for precise locations).

Lamb Prairie (6.3 acres, Johnson County, southwest of Sterling NE)

2 miles west from Sterling west end on NE41/43 to Ave 608 (Lutheran Church on north side road at intersection), 2 miles south across BNSF RR tracks to intersection with Rd 732; Prairie in the northeast corner of the northeast quarter section, and, southwest corner of intersection.

This small hilltop prairie is packed with wildflowers. Especially prominent are lead plant, purple prairie coneflower, plains evening primrose, and pruple prairie clover. Best time to visit: late June to Early July.

Storm Prairie, aka Yutan Prairie (21 acres, Saunders County, northeast of Yutan NE)

1.0 mile north on Rd 5 from Rd 5/NE 92 intersection at the southeast edge Yutan to Rd N, 1 mile east on Rd N to intersection with Rd 4, 0.5 mile north on Rd 4; Prairie on east side of road bordered by evergreen grove on north and NRCS Conservation Easement prairie on south. (These are unimproved roads. If Rd N is not passable, proceed 1 more mile north on Rd 5 to Rd O, followed by traveling 1 mile east on Rd O to end of Rd O at intersection with Rd 4, and, 0.5 mile south on Rd 4 to prairie site on east side of Rd 4.) (The prairie does not have a sign!)

A Platte River floodplain prairie, this one is a good location for seeing bobolinks in late May and June. A rare plant, the wood betony or lousewort, blooms in May. Tall gayfeather and compass plant bloom in mid July to early August.

Wildcat Prairie (30.5 acres, Gage County, south-southwest of Virginia NE)

7 miles south on Liberty Road (S 162 Rd) from northwest corner Virginia and NE 04/Liberty Road intersection to “Stop” sign on B-Line Rd, 1 mile west on B-Line Rd to intersection with Rd S 148; 1 mile north on Rd S 148 to E. Osage Rd, 0.5 mile west on E. Osage Rd; Prairie located on north side of E. Osage Rd (E. Osage Rd is a minimum use “minimum maintenance road”).

One of the best displays of orange-red flowering butterfly milkweed plants anywhere. The milkweeds plus dark blue scurfpea and yellow black-eyed Susans form a great combination from mid June to early July.

Wildcat Prairie Sign

Privately owned prairies open to public access

Fricke Cemetery Prairie (5 acres, Richardson County, north-northeast of Falls City NE)

Please park on road and walk in, and please close gate after entering or leaving prairie!

5 miles north on US 73 from north end Falls City to intersection with Rd 712, or, 9 miles east Verdon, on US 73/Rd 712 to intersection with US 73/Rd 712 and Rd 712, 3.5 miles east on Rd 712 to intersection with Ave 655, 0.5 miles north on Ave 655; Prairie on west side of Ave 655 in northeast corner of the quarter section and west across road (Ave 655) from permanent farmstead.

This small cemetery prairie is thick with wildflowers from mid June to early July. Golden Alexander, prairie phlox, pale purple coneflower, New Jersey Tea, leadplant, and others are common. In mod October, red sumac,round head lespedeza and blue azure asters make a great combination.

Gewacke Prairie (11 acres, Fillmore County, west-northwest of Ohiowa, or, east-northeast of Strang NE)

No advance notice needed before visiting. Property owner(s): Margaret Nichols

2.5 miles west from Ohiowa Spur Road, or, 5 miles east from NE 74/US 81 intersection (northwest of Strang) to intersection with Rd 18, 0.5 miles north on Rd 18; Prairie on west side of road in southeast corner of the northeast quarter section.

Historical Note: Prairie named in honor of original property owners Clyde and Thelma Gewacke, parents to Margaret (Gewacke) Nichols.

Linwood Cemetery Prairie (6 acres, Butler County, south of Linwood NE)

1 mile south on Rd X from southeast corner Linwood to end in Rd X; Prairie located immediately south of Rd X terminus.

Linwoood Cemetery is a bluff-tip prairie with a great view of the Platte Valley. It has many of the typical upland prairie wildflowers including rush skeleton plant, plains evening primrose, scurf pea, and leadplant. Best time to visit: mid June to mid July.

Bentzinger Prairie (13.5 acres, Johnson County between Syracuse and Tecumseh NE)

No advance notice needed before visiting. Property owner(s): Bentzinger, Louis and Grace

10.5 miles south on NE 50 from NE 50/NE 02 intersection at Syracuse, or, 9.5 north on NE 50 from NE 50/US 136 intersection north of Tecumseh; Prairie on west side NE 50 in northeast corner of the northeast quarter section and, bordered by NE 50 on east and Otoe/Johnson County boundary (Otoe Rd S/Johnson Rd 738) on north.

Bentzinger Prairie has both upland and some wet prairie species. Narrow flowered scurf pea and plains evening primrose start appearing in late May. By mid June, butterfly milkweed, prairie phlox, and New Jersey Tea are starting to bloom. In early July, leadplant, purple prairie clover, prairie coreopsis, and blazing star gayfeather are blooming in the upland areas. Tall white indigo blooms in June and tall gayfeather blooms in July in the wetter areas.

Shavlik Prairie (18.4 acres, Saunders County northeast of Linwood NE)

Please contact the landowners before visiting for help finding site, and because he’d like to meet visitors!  Property owner(s): Shavlik, Stanley and Jean, Tele: (402) 666-5867

2.0 miles south on NE 79 from intersection US 30/NE 79 in North Bend across Platte River to Linwood Rd at Morse Bluff, 6 miles west on Linwood Rd to intersection with Rd 31, 1.5 miles north on Rd 31, including across bridge and along levee to Rd terminus; Prairie located at terminus (end) of road into open field.

A sandy floodplain prairie near the Platte River, Shavlik prairie has something blooming all summer long until haying time. Best time for visit: mid June to early July.

Kasl Prairie (6.6 acres, Saline County (west-northwest of Wilber NE)

Advance notice is welcome but not required, and chatting about area history is likely to happen if call in advance. Property owner: Richard R. Kasl. Tele: (402) 821-2619

2 miles north on NE 103 from NE 103/NE 41 intersection in Wilber to Rd N, 2.5 miles west on Rd N; Prairie located on north side Rd N in the southwestern corner of the southwestern quarter section, and, northeast of Rd N/Rd 2000 intersection.

Fletcher Prairie (25 acres, Lancaster County (west of Walton or east side Lincoln NE)

This easement REQUIRES contact with the landowners before visiting.  Schedule permitting, landowner may be able to give personalized tours to visitors!  Property owner(s): Fletcher, Larry and Peggy. Tele: (402) 488-4451.

0.25 mile south on 105th Street (Lincoln) and intersection of 105th and “A” Streets, west of Walton; Prairie located east-southeast of street end and entrance to private drive.

A recreated prairie near Walton, Nebraska, Fletcher prairie was seeded with a highly diverse mix of prairie plants from species throughout southeastern Nebraska.  Fletcher prairie has a variety of wildflowers blooming throughout the year.  Highlights include spiderwort, white false indigo, rattlesnake master, butterfly milkweed, rough gayfeather, and compass plant.

Download the information above in PDF format : HERE

 

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