On July 1, 1997, the states of Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming, together with the Department of the Interior, entered into a Cooperative Agreement to deal with Endangered Species Act (ESA) issues in the Platte Basin in a coordinated, comprehensive, manner. The named species were the endangered whooping crane, least tern, pallid sturgeon and the threatened piping plover. The product of the Cooperative Agreement was the plan for dealing with the ESA issues, the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (PRRIP).
I am unhappy with the whole bunch in Washington, and I don’t care what party they are or what position they hold. The president in his State of the Union speech made some references to really addressing the deficit, but when he presented his budget, it didn’t even make a dent in curbing the deficit. For that matter, what I have seen of the budget proposals of the Republicans and the Democrats aren’t really going to reduce the deficit.
I remember myself at 8 years old, reading with a flashlight in the Victorian home we lived in on Tennyson Street in Denver. Across the street was Elitch Gardens amusement park, carnival lights flashed through our stained-glass windows while I read “Pippi Longstocking”—Astrid Lindgren’s books meant so much to me, a little nearsighted girl in a bustling family, in a burgeoning city. Pippi gave me courage; she was my bravest and strongest childhood friend; it was she who started me on my lifelong journey with my most stalwart and true ally, the book.
Scientists now know that ground- and surface water should be treated as a single hydrological system because that is the way they behave in nature. Since 1996 Nebraska has changed its law twice to finally recognize this profound connection of surface water and groundwater and bring coherency to its water law.
Our grandparents planted saplings on the prairie while looking ahead a generation or more. It was customary to plant young trees with the intent of securing enjoyment for children or grandchildren. Things have changed! Modern techniques and specialized equipment make it easy for homeowners and landowners to enjoy trees of a size that immediately provide a settled and dynamic presence. Mature trees serve as an anchor and calming focal point wherever present in a landscape. What would the great gardens be without their towering giants? Our national parks and forests showcase significant trees. Trees near our homes and in our communities provide tangibles including refreshed air, shade and beauty. Many communities worldwide honor and protect specific individual trees considered famous due to age, size or association with an event or notable person.
One day in late March or early April the sandhill cranes in the Platte Valley feel the lift of warm south winds. They rise on thermals and leave Nebraska. Their departure marks, for me, the beginning of spring in Wilderness Park. I begin a series of almost weekly walks through the Saltillo Road portion of this “wildy” city park running at least 10 miles along the Salt Creek floodplain on the southwestern edge of Lincoln. Through the years there have been both early and late springs. Still, on every walk I make new discoveries. I am a birder, so I am always hoping for the arrival of a new migrant. For this article, I would like to share with you my journal entry of a walk I made in Wilderness Park two years ago.
The state of Nebraska has some ecological and landscape attributes that have placed it at the center of a vast, invisible aerial pathway known to biologists as the Central Flyway. To the west, the Rocky Mountains provide the western boundaries of a broad north-south corridor formed by the Great Plains, while to the east the Missouri River Valley offers similarly conspicuous landmark guidelines for north- or south-bound birds. Nebraska’s Platte River and thousands of other mostly small Nebraska wetlands are situated roughly halfway between the Gulf Coast and the transition zone between the northern Great Plains and the vast Canadian coniferous forests, the last geographic barrier to arctic-bound breeders.
It’s that time of year again, when our yards that were once white with snow are now tan after their long winter’s nap, and the spring greening process is upon us. It is also a time when our local waterways are at risk for decreased water quality.
As part of Prairie Fire's ongoing effort to be an information resource for all populations in the state, in this issue we are presenting a Spanish translation of Amelia Maria de la Luz Montes' article for both our Spanish-speaking friends and our English-speaking friends struggling to become bilingual. For ease of comparison, English and Spanish are presented in alternating columns.