Introducing our Nachusa Ecosystem Restoration Scientist!


Nachusa is about to make a big move.  We are excited to welcome Dr. Elizabeth Bach as our Nachusa Grasslands Ecosystem Restoration Scientist.

Bach will coordinate with external scientific partners, TNC staff, and stewardship volunteers to design and implement a high-impact research program that supports/enhances on-site management and restoration efforts while further developing Nachusa’s status as the premier site for tallgrass prairie restoration research.  She will oversee scientific surveys of endangered, threatened and unique plant and animal species at Nachusa Grasslands, collect and manage long-term monitoring data, and will be responsible for tracking and evaluating the results of multiyear research projects.  She will share findings with the relevant science community by publishing in peer-reviewed journals, attending conferences, workshops, etc. While primarily focused on science, she will also assist with prescribed fire, bison management, events, and engage with volunteer stewards, donors, neighbors, and the general public.

Elizabeth Bach received her Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Iowa State University, M.Sc. in Plant Biology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale (SIUC), and B.A. from Cornell College, with honors.  Most recently, Elizabeth has served as Executive Director of the Global Soil Biodiversity Initiative, housed at Colorado State University.  We think Elizabeth is a great fit for this new position and are excited to have her at Nachusa.

Elizabeth starts at the end of May.

Below is a recent photo of former and current Nachusa science researchers, including Elizabeth, at the Natural Areas Conference in Ft. Collins, CO in October 2017.  Pictured from left to right: Ben Wodika (Assistant Professor of Biology, Truman State University), Elizabeth Bach, Ryan Klopf (Mountain Region Steward, Virginia Natural Heritage Program, and Member of the Board of Directors, Natural Areas Association), Lewis Reed (Reserve Steward, UC Davis Bodega Marine Reserve), and Nachusa Project Manager Bill Kleiman.

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Cut stem treatment on buckthorn

James McGee is the author of this thorough treatise on controlling invasive buckthorn.

Results of Frilling in Winter XIII James McGee

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GRN 2018 Workshop September 5 & 6, 2018

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GRN Konza Workshop well done


The night before the workshop some of us early arrivals met for dinner.

Sara Baer was the lead planner and host of this GRN.  Sara is a researcher at Konza who chairs the Plant Biology program at Southern Illinois University.  She studies various aspects of soil ecology related to grassland restoration.   Thank you Sara for a great workshop!

60 some folks attended. Day one we looked at various long term field experiments.  Here are the underground study plots where ideas are tested to see their effects on fungi and other microorganisms, soil characteristics,  and above ground species composition.

Konza Biological Station has published something like 1,600 papers, currently has about 120 annual researchers!  Their Long Term Ecological Research started in the early 1980s.  It is a very significant research station.

Konza is divided into various watersheds for decades long ecological studies. Here is a photo of a watershed that is Fall burned Annually, with no grazing.  It has a lot of grass and forbs.

Here is a watershed where it is not grazed, but burned annually in the spring. John Blair noted that the fall and spring fires resulted in very similar prairie.

Here is a patch burn watershed where a third of the unit is burned annually and cows choose where they want to go.  They like the recently burned sections and this area was just grazed that morning and likely a number of previous days.  Konza has bison too.

About 50 yards away is an unburned section of the patch burn unit with less cattle grazing.

The GRN format has us in the field to see and discuss.  Here are some Konza stars: In the aqua blue shirt is Jill Haukos who runs many education programs at Konza, then clockwise is Walter Dodds who showed us his study of the effects on stream water chemistry after thinning brush from an encroached stream.  John Briggs runs Konza.  Sara Baer, as I noted above, was the lead planner and host of this GRN.  Last with the Western hat is KC Olson who works for KSU on the livestock grazing end of research.

Jesse Nippert shows us the watershed that was on a “no fire” plan for 20 years, and now they are reversing the fire regime to annual fire.  Now they will get to study how to get the grassland back and give us the science we all can benefit from.


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GRN workshop at Konza

Our GRN meeting will be a hot one, both in content and temperature.  Those registered and attending should wear their lightest fabrics, favorite sun hat, water bottle, sun screen.  We will be in the field, but I doubt hiking too far.

We have solid attendance, and a full agenda with a bunch of the Konza experts to talk to.

See you there!

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Schedule for GRN 2017 workshop at Konza


Konza Prairie Biological Station and Long Term Ecological Research Site

Manhattan, Kansas


July 11th


12:00 pm            The Grassland Restoration Network (Chris Helzer)

Konza Prairie Welcome Presentation (John Blair)


1:00 pm               Headquarters Area Tour (John Blair, Lydia Zeglin, and Sara Baer)

Hulbert plots

Belowground Plots

Rainfall Manipulation Plots

Irrigation Transects


3:00 pm               Refreshments and Discussion (led by Chris Helzer)


5:00-7:00 pm     Break or Konza Nature Trail (Jill Haukos and docent)


7:00 pm               Catered Dinner


8:00 pm               Keynote: Long-term effects of fire and grazing on tallgrass prairie (Jesse Nippert)


July 12th


8:00                      Meet at Konza Conference Center


Konza Watershed Tour

Est. 8:15-8:45                   Riparian woody vegetation removal (Walter Dodds)

Est. 9:00-9:30                   Patch-burn grazing (John Briggs and KC Olson)

Est. 9:45-10:15                 Watershed plot-studies (John Blair/Lydia Zeglin)

Est. 10:30-11:00                Shrub dynamics (Jesse Nippert)


11:30 pm            Catered Lunch


1:00 pm               Overview of Restoration Research (Sara Baer)


Est. 1:45-2:15                   Tour restoration experiments


2:30 pm               Refreshments and Departing Discussion (led by Bill Kleiman)


4:00 pm               End

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Registration open!!! July 11-12, 2017 Grassland Restoration Network Workshop

Join us at Konza Prairie Biological Station in Manhattan, KS for overview and field presentations on long-term plot and watershed-level studies in grassland ecology. This year’s workshop will focus how science at this National Science Foundation-funded Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) site has deepened our understanding of drivers influencing pattern and process in tallgrass prairie. Discussions will focus on how science can inform grassland restoration.

Here is the URL to the registration page for the workshop.  Space is limited so register today.  $155 includes meals.

Lodging is not part of the registration. There are many hotels to choose from in Manhattan, but the Hilton Garden Inn and Fairfield Inn are walking distance to the Flint Hills Discovery Center (a must see!) and downtown (Poyntz Ave.), which hosts a number of restaurants and the Tallgrass Brewing Company.  There are a few beds or rooms available at Konza. Bill Kleiman is the person to email if you want of those,

The meeting will begin at 12 pm on Tuesday, July 11th.

DIRECTIONS: From I-70, you can exit Hwy 177 N, then take a left on McDowell Creek Rd., just before the bridge over the KS River. Alternatively, you can take the McDowell Creek Rd. exit off of I-70 (west of Hwy 177). Turn onto Konza Prairie Lane (there is a sign for the Konza Prairie Biological Station). Follow the gravel road into the Biological Station and continue until you see a large stone house on the right. We will meet in the conference center, which is a renovated stone barn just across the road from the stone house. Parking is available behind the conference center or behind the lab buildings in front of the conference center.


Learn more about the Konza Prairie Biological Station:

Learn more about the Konza Prairie Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Site:

Tentative GRN Agenda

July 11th

Arrive already having eaten lunch because next meal is dinner.

12-5 pm

Welcome presentation – Konza LTER (John Blair)

Walking field tour

Hulbert plots

Belowground Plots (Lydia Zeglin)

Rainfall Manipulation Plots and Irrigation Transects (John Blair)

Refreshments and Discussion (led by Chris Helzer)

5 pm Break/Konza Nature Trail hike

7:00 pm Catered dinner

8:00 pm Keynote: Long-term effects of fire and grazing on tallgrass prairie (Jesse Nippert)

July 12th

8-11 am

Morning watershed tour

Patch-burn grazing (Tony Joern)

Riparian woody vegetation removal (Walter Dodds)

Shrub dynamics (Jesse Nippert)

Watershed Plot-studies (Melinda Smith graduate students)

NEON site (?)

12 pm Catered lunch

1 pm      Short overview of restoration research (Sara Baer)

Visit Restoration plots

2 pm      Refreshments and Departing Discussion (led by Bill Kleiman)

3:30 pm Everybody heads home



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