Fertig Tallgrass Prairie
About this prairie
Fertig prairie was dedicated in 2018 as a Wachiska Audubon prairie. It is a nice size of 43 acres of sandy and wetland soils north of the Platte River in Colfax County. The dominant grasses are Prairie cordgrass in the low areas transitioning to Big Bluestem on the sandy hummocks. It has a unique flower, Purple Headed Sneezeweed that is seldom seen this far north. Thickspike gayfeather (Liatris) and Cat’s claw sensitive briar show up in good numbers. Late in the season you find Blue Lobelia. We were excited to find out that there is an old wagon trail across the site that is either the Mormon Trail or a military road from Omaha to Ft Kearney. Prairie was flooded in the 2019, but the resiliency of the grass and wetland plants limited any damage from corn residue and flood debris.
While we hay most of this site every year, we have been setting aside a small portion for good fuel load for conducting prescribed burns on a three to five-year schedule. Our main invasive concern here is Reed Canary grass in the old stream channel along the north boundary. We are also planning on controlling the Dogwood shrubs that are taking over the middle of the Prairie.
Recently we worked with the County Road Superintendent to get the road improved and new culverts installed improving access to the Prairie.
Type of habitat:
Sandy/Wetland Tallgrass Prairie
Colfax County, southeast of Richland, NE or southwest of Schuyler, NE
Wildlife and Plant Species Found Here:
Flora: prairie cordgrass, big bluestem, purple-headed sneezeweed, thickspike blazingstar, catclaw sensitive briar, great blue lobelia, leadplant, daisy fleabane, dotted gayfeather, St. John's wort, porcupine grass, meadow anemone, annual fleabane, silverleaf scurfpea, fringed loosestrife,
Fauna: bobolink, badger
GPS Coordinates: 41°24'46.6"N 97°09'23.0"W
Google Maps Address: CR7V+5CH Richland, Nebraska
5.25 miles west on US 30 from NE 15/US 30 intersection north of Schuyler to intersection with Rd 6, 2.5 miles south on Rd 6 to intersection with Rd B1; Prairie located southwest of Rd 6/Rd B1 intersection on west side of road; Prairie sign located in extreme southwestern corner of prairie and another 0.25 mile south of Rd 6/Rd B1 intersection, and, on west side of Rd 6.