In 2011 Ducks Unlimited Wetlands America Trust purchased the Beam property, south of Oshkosh, Nebraska as part of the revolving lands strategy. The 447-acre property contains some of the last unbroken native wet meadow, which has spectacular blooms of the rare shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) wildflower. The land also contains North Platte River frontage and accretion ground, which is where Ducks Unlimited focused its restoration.
“My grandmother said there were never any trees on this property,” said Cherrie Beam-Clark, a former owner of the property.
Through the generations the habitat on the property has changed.
“A treeless habitat would be the case during Cherrie’s grandmother’s time when prairies were maintained via fire and other disturbance,” said John Denton, DU manager of conservation programs for Nebraska and Kansas. “With a lack of disturbance, invasive trees have taken over the area.”
With funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, DU removed invasive Russian olive and red cedar trees and thinned the forest to restore the property. Ducks Unlimited will also install fencing to allow periodic grazing, which will aid in preventing undesirable plants from taking over the property. Ducks Unlimited excavated a remnant channel of the Platte River which will provide additional waterfowl habitat on the property. Upon protecting this property with a conservation easement, DU will sell the property and reinvest the proceeds in another Nebraska wetland property.