I made a quick trip up to our Niobrara Valley Preserve this week to help set up time lapse cameras that will help document recovery from last year’s massive wildfires. More on that next week…
The weather followed the same pattern we’ve seen the last couple weeks; cold and wet early, followed by gradual warming. We delayed the trip a day to wait for the latest snowstorm to move through, but three inches of snow were waiting when we arrived mid-day on Tuesday.
Most of the snow had melted by Tuesday evening, leaving barren post-wildfire soils exposed once more. The cool spring has slowed early vegetation growth, though there were some sedges and a very few other species starting to green up in the prairies.
Some of the cameras we set up will watch for soil erosion. I was pleased not to see any evidence that severe erosion started over the winter – even with some decent rain and snow events. There has been some, of course, but less than I’d expected. Some of the erosion created interesting patterns in the ashy sandy soils (below).
The next several weeks and months of green-up will bring big changes to the appearance of the Niobrara Valley, which has been largely barren and drab-colored since the wildfires last July. It’ll be really nice to see some green there again.