Wetlands

North Lake Basin

North Lake Basin

Previously located on North Lake Basin Wildlife Management Area near Utica, Nebraska, this camera focused on a large playa wetland in the Rainwater Basin. The Rainwater Basin is the largest playa complex in Nebraska and it is a globally important stopover for migratory birds such as northern pintails and buff-breasted sandpipers. Playa wetlands form in depressions where a thick clay layer causes water from precipitation to pond on the surface.

Cottonwood Ranch West

Cottonwood Ranch West

Existing conditions at Cottonwood Ranch grassland–wetland habitat area (August 2017 – April 2018), construction activities associated with development of broad-scale recharge water project facilities (May 2018 – August 2018), after construction conditions at Cottonwood Ranch grassland-wetland habitat with fall through spring operations of recharge facilities which creates an extensive whooping crane/sandhill crane roosting habitat during the fall and spring migrations.

Mormon Island Restoration

Mormon Island Restoration

Located on Mormon Island on lands owned and managed by the Crane Trust, this camera views a former corn/soybean crop field that was rested from cultivation and seeded with native prairie species in 2019. Images capture successional changes in the field across time and provide visual data to accompany ground-based biological monitoring. The restored field is located adjacent to the main channel of the Platte River near one of the most actively used crane roosts in the central Platte.

Nine-Mile Spring

Nine-Mile Spring

Many groundwater-fed springs and seeps at Nine Mile Prairie flow when the water table is high. Here at the head of the big draw that runs along the south edge of the property, one spot has never run completely dry, even during the drought of 2012 and 2013. Nine Mile Prairie is owned and managed by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and is an important research site for ecologists and grassland managers.

Little Salt Fork Marsh

Little Salt Fork Marsh

Little Salt Fork Marsh is the perfect place to visit Lincoln’s unique and rare saline wetlands. Saline wetlands are wetland and marsh-like environments with unusual salt levels from shale deposits dating back to when Nebraska and the Midwest were part of the ocean floor. Depending on the time of year, it’s possible to see migrating waterfowl out here. This place is a lovely host for a hike and serves as a public hunting ground. The Lower Platte South NRD owns Little Salt Fork Marsh and is adjacent to several properties owned by Nebraska Game and Parks.

Jack Sinn Wildlife Management Area

Jack Sinn Wildlife Management Area

Jack Sinn is an area of land and water designated by the government for conservation– also known as a wildlife management area, or WMA. It is owned by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and named in honor of a wildlife biologist who passed away in a plane crash while surveying the deer population in the area. This saline wetland is covered mainly by water, is home to many species of waterfowl, and serves as a good spot for hunting– particularly for pheasants. Conservation efforts have occurred here to preserve this ecosystem’s salinity and water levels. Other birds, such as American pipits and cliff sparrows, can be seen here during migration.

Holmes Lake

Holmes Lake

With open waters and a winding path around Holmes Lake, hiking, walking, biking, and kayaking are all welcome here. This lake in the heart of Lincoln was originally built for flood control by the US Army in 1962 and named after George Holmes, a Parks and Recreation Advisory Board member. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission began the Aquatic Habitat Program here in 2001 to stabilize the sediment and repopulate fish within the lake. Holmes Lake has also been the site of other water quality improvement plans through the early 2000s, with great success. With excess sediment removed and cleaner waters, Holmes Lake has become a great place for aquatic life as well as recreation. It is a community hotspot with volleyball nets, an extensive playground, and pavillions equipped for summertime grilling. The south side of the lake also hosts Hyde Observatory, allowing Lincoln to have public astronomy shows.

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