Grassland Restoration Network- 2016 Workshop
September 13-14, 2016 – Aurora/Wood River, Nebraska
Co-Hosted by The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies
and Prairie Plains Resource Institute
9am-11:30am – Optional walking tours of prairie restorations in Aurora, Nebraska by Bill Whitney of Prairie Plains Resource Institute. Bill planted these diverse prairies in the early 1980’s through the 1990’s along what is now the Lincoln Creek Trail. He will discuss how the prairies established and changed over time, along with the history of Prairie Plains Resource Institute as an educational land trust.
12:30pm – 5:30pm – Tours of Prairie Plains Resource Institute’s Gjerloff Prairie north of Aurora, including various restored sites, remnant prairie on loess bluffs along the Platte River, fire and grazing management, and seed storage/processing facilities.
6pm – Catered supper at the Prairie Plains Education Center
7pm – 9pm – Social time
Lodging on your own at nearby hotels in Aurora and Grand Island, Nebraska. Consider Holiday Inn Express in Grand Island, Ken’s Motel in Aurora, or other options.
8:30-11am – Field sessions on evaluation and research results at The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies south of Wood River, Nebraska. Topics will include: long-term monitoring of mean floristic quality in restored prairie, impacts of soil texture/nutrient levels on prairie restoration establishment, response of grassland birds to patch-burn grazing of restored prairie, results of overseeding projects in degraded remnant prairie, and the response of small mammals, bees, grasshoppers, and ants to attempts to enlarge and reconnect prairie remnants through prairie restoration.
11am-Noon – Tour and group discussion of a restored wetland/stream (former sand and gravel mining ponds). The site was restored in stages between 2003 and 2013 and has established well, but is threatened by a number of invasive plants that are well-established upstream of the site.
12pm – 1pm – Catered lunch
1pm – 3:30pm – Tours of cropland restored to high-diversity prairie/wetland habitat in 2013 and 2016 and field sessions on research results from the Conservancy’s Diversity Research Plots – a series of ¾ ac replicated plots planted with various levels of plant diversity. Ongoing and completed research has focused on the impact of plant diversity on invertebrate communities, resistance to invasion, soil properties, and drought response and other aspects of ecological resilience. Researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Kansas State University will discuss their projects.
3:30pm – Depart