Controlling Invasives in Central Nebraska

Phragmites is a growing problem in the waterways and riparian areas of Nebraska, while Russian olive and eastern redcedar are invading uplands. These shrubs thrive in poor soil, and are darned hard to kill. They also re-sprout vigorously after cutting or burning. Controlling these invasives typically involves cutting, followed immediately by burning or an application of herbicide.

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What Are Invasives?

Aggressive invasions of native and exotic shrubs such as tamarisk, Russian olive, eastern redcedar and reeds are causing problems on western Great Plains rangelands. They hog the water, shade the sun from nurturing the grass, and disorient game and nongame wildlife. These pests adversely impact ag economics, the ecology, and native wildlife on the Plains.

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Program Allows Farming While Protecting Wetland

Jerry Stevens enrolled in the Rainwater-Basin Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Program, which restores and protects wetlands in fields under production by allowing center pivots to cross the rainwater basins. It’s win-win. The program protects a wetland, and allows the producer to farm the circle around it.

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Kansas Producers Self-regulate Water Use

New legislation in Kansas makes it possible for producers to work within water conservation districts to create Locally Enhanced Management Areas (LEMAs) and agree among themselves how much groundwater use they can curtail. Brad Oelke talks about the first LEMA, which began in January 2013, and how NRCS may be able to help irrigators reduce consumption.

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Conservation Planning to Reduce Water Use

Realizing the vital importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to the High Plains, The Natural Resources Conservation Service launched the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative. Playa lakes recharge the aquifer, and because of that, NRCS provides ways, through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, for producers to rehabilitate playas in cropland. NRCS Conservationists can help landowners develop a conservation plan that meets their goals, using this and other USDA conservation programs.

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Helping Landowners Conserve Playas

  Duane Cheney, from the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, talks to landowners and operators in western Kansas about the benefits of enrolling playas in a Wetlands Reserve Easement or the Continuous Conservation Reserve Program, thereby taking those “mudholes” out of production and converting them into wonderful wildlife habitat that also helps recharge the […]

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NRCS Ogallala Aquifer Initiative

Realizing the importance of the Ogallala Aquifer to High Plains states, the Natural Resources Conservation Service created the Ogallala Aquifer Initiative to attempt to reduce the quantity of water removed from the aquifer, improve water quality using conservation practices, and enhance the economic viability of croplands and rangelands in the region. This episode explains how playas fit into these goals.

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Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation

The Comanche Pool Prairie Resource Foundation is a regional grazing group located in south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma on 5.4 million acres of mixed-grass and sand-sage prairies. The group works with ranchers in its area to educate how best to manage grasslands to produce wildlife, clean air and water, as well as income from livestock grazing.

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Canadian River Cooperative Weed Management Area

This partnership — consisting of agencies, non-governmental organizations and landowners — is working to control invasive plants along the banks of the Canadian River in the Texas panhandle and western Oklahoma. Saltcedar, eastern redcedar and Russian olive trees are being controlled if not eradicated.

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Sandhills Task Force in Nebraska

The mission of the Sandhills Task Force is to partner with ranchers in north-central Nebraska to “identify, prioritize, plan and implement projects that benefit private ranching, wildlife and vegetative diversity and associated water supplies.” Besides ranchers, members include representatives of local communities, groups, organizations and state and federal agencies.

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