Photo of the Week – February 24, 2010

Ice storms can be extremely damaging to trees and powerlines.  They can severely disrupt our lives by cutting power and making travel dangerous.  Conversely, ice doesn’t really have much impact on prairies.  Prairie vegetation is dormant during the winter, so any damage to aboveground portions of grasses and wildflowers is merely cosmetic.  The next year’s growth comes from buds that are safely belowground.

Barbed-wire in western Nebraska following an ice storm. The Nature Conservancy's Kelly Tract.

Western Nebraska experienced an ice storm last weekend that left the landscape sparkling in the sunshine by the time I drove out to visit one of our prairies Monday.  I managed to find a few minutes to photograph some of the results of the storm, but I didn’t have time to get very far into the prairies.  Fortunately, I could get as far as the fencelines, which provided plenty of opportunities for photographs.

Here is one of them.