Nebraska's Eastern Saline Wetlands:
Accomplishments and Stewaradship
by Tom Malmstrom, City of Lincoln Parks and
Nebraska’s Eastern Saline Wetlands occur in swales and depressions within the floodplains of Salt Creek and its tributaries in Lancaster and southern Saunders counties. Characterized by saline soils and salt-tolerant vegetation, the source of salinity for these wetlands is the discharge of saline groundwater into the stream channels and at the surface of the adjacent floodplain. These saline wetlands are considered an endangered wetland complex (LaGrange, 2005) and a Biologically Unique Landscape in the Legacy Plan.
The saline wetlands provide habitat for a variety of native plant and animal species that depend on a saline environment and include several saline plants and an insect found nowhere else in Nebraska. In addition, Nebraska’s Eastern Saline Wetlands are important habitat for shorebirds and waterfowl during migration. The exposed saline mudflats provide an abundance of invertebrates as a food source. During the last century, more than 250 species of birds were reported at the salt basins of Lancaster County (Jorgensen, 2017). The wetlands and the adjacent native prairie also provide much needed greenspace and flood protection for Lincoln.
Tom will talk about the history and unique qualities of the saline wetlands and the successful conservation work that has been accomplished and is still being planned.
Join Tom and Wachiska on Thursday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m. at Lincoln’s Unitarian Church, 6300 A Street. Free parking is readily available in the church lot with overflow parking in the Pius X High School lot across the street to the west. There is easy access to the church with no steps and plenty of space for visiting with the speaker and mingling with friends while enjoying refreshments following this free public program.
Half a Million Birds of Happiness
by John Carlini, Field Trip Coordinator
Saturday, March 21, 2:00 p.m.
South side of the Capitol
Cranes are symbols of good fortune, longevity, and in Japan are called birds of happiness. About 500,000 sandhill cranes will be visiting Nebraska when their numbers peak this spring, so if you need some cheer, join our annual journey to the Alda area to see them. We'll first view the crane flocks from our vehicles as they feed, lounge, and "dance" in the fields. Then at day's end, we'll observe the thrilling sight of them thronging overhead as they gather to amass on the Platte River to spend the night. Last year was highly unusual because of flooded river conditions that forced the cranes to sleep in the fields which hopefully won't be the case this year.
We'll meet on Saturday, March 21, at 2:00 p.m. in Lincoln on the south side of the Capitol, on H Street across from the governor's mansion. Participants can either caravan or carpool for the 100-mile trip to our destination. Bring binoculars and scope if you have them and warm clothing if you plan to stand by the river after sunset. No fee or entry permit is required, and the public is welcome. If you have questions, call John at 402-475-7275.
March Calendar of Events
No Education Committee
March 9 Conservation Committee, Wachiska Office 5:30 p.m.
March 12 General Meeting, “Nebraska's Eastern Saline Wetlands” by
Tom Malmstrom, Unitarian Church, 7:00 p.m.
March 15 Newsletter submission deadline, Wachiska office, 5:00 p.m.
March 16 Postmark Deadline for Spring Birdseed Sale orders
March 17 Board Meeting, Wachiska office, 7:00 p.m.
March 21 Sandhill cranes/waterfowl field trip 2:00 p.m. (page 2)
March 26 Legislation Committee, DaVinci’s, 11th & G sts., 6:00 p.m.
March 27-28 Spring Birdseed Sale pick-up. 14th and Arapahoe (page 3,4)
The photos on this website were taken by Wachiska members. Many thanks to Bruce Wendorff,
Linda Brown, Paul Johnsguard, Tim Knott, Stu Luttich, John Carlini and Elizabeth Nelson.