Photo of the Week – February 20, 2015

Nebraska’s Central Platte River always becomes a focus of attention about this time of year as migratory ducks and geese descend upon the river by the thousands and millions, followed shortly after by a half million sandhill cranes.  This year, the river grabbed our attention a little early when ice jams shunted flowing water across several thousand acres of nearby land, including some of our prairie.  I’ll provide some more descriptions and photos of that event next week, but for today, here are two images I took yesterday as I walked around an ice field sitting on top of that prairie.

(And don’t worry, the flood shouldn’t cause any major damage to the prairies, though we’ll be watching closely for a potential influx of invasive plants brought in by the water and rebuilding a few fences.)

Ice

A crust of ice across the top of a prairie slough cracked apart as the water receded beneath it.  The Nature Conservancy’s Platte River Prairies, Nebraska.

ice

A prairie slough, normally a groundwater-fed wetland, flowed with river water for a week or so during the flood.

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About Chris Helzer

Chris Helzer is the Director of Science for The Nature Conservancy in Nebraska. His main role is to evaluate and capture lessons from the Conservancy’s land management and restoration work and then share those lessons with other landowners – both private and public. In addition, Chris works to raise awareness about the importance of prairies and their conservation through his writing, photography, and presentations to various groups. Chris is also the author of "The Ecology and Management of Prairies in the Central United States", published by the University of Iowa Press. He lives in Aurora, Nebraska with his wife Kim and their children.
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5 Responses to Photo of the Week – February 20, 2015

  1. Cindy Crosby says:

    Love your water pix — these are fantastic! Thank you for sharing the prairie through the seasons.

  2. Jean C Smith says:

    The slough photo is particularly good. Like your use of “slough” – do you know Barry Lopez’ book Home Ground: Language for an American Landscape. To add to his definition, when I lived in the Inter-Lake region of southern Manitoba, anything wet that wasn’t a river or a like was called a slough.

  3. tony says:

    seasonal flooding on the prairies, thats awesome

  4. Pingback: Ice Jam Flooding | The Prairie Ecologist

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