It rained!


Cherry Creek habitat – last year’s cattail stalks in a marshy area. April 2013

It rained last night. Most of Nebraska is still in a drought – every drop of rain helps! I hope when we get back to the office on Monday the berm we started is still intact and held the runoff from the office roof. If not, that’s OK. The berm is a work in progress – we’ll shore it up.

I’m sure the plants/wildlife at the neighboring saline wetlands appreciate the rain. You know, we haven’t talked about our neighbors. Just to the north of our Cherry Creek site, is an amazing resource few people know about. It is the Lincoln Saline Wetlands Nature Center, 92 acres of unique habitat. Map

What’s a Saline Wetlands? From the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District who manages the sites in our area: “When the ground water rises to the surface a wetland is created. When that water passes through salt deposits on its way up, a saline wetlands is created. Lincoln, Nebraska is one of the very few places on earth where that happens…. “

The saline wetlands and salt deposits played an important role in the city of Lincoln’s history. The salt attracted settlers to the area. Salt manufacturers were hoping to extract the salt deposits. Capital Beach Lake is still the region’s “Salt Lake”. The city of Lincoln (at the time called the city of Lancaster – the name was later changed) never became a hub of salt production, but it did become the center of government and higher education.

According to the History of the Salt Marshes in Nebraska the area where our office and Cherry Creek habitat sits, was used as a dump… “anything that could be hauled, that had to be disposed of and would raise the level of the land. Most of the wetlands east and south of Salt Lake, on both sides of West O Street and south to the Burlington Railroad Yards, were filled and prepared for industrial, commercial and housing developments. Additional impetus for draining and filling these wetlands was provided by America’s mosquito phobia of the 1950s.”

Thankfully, not all saline wetlands areas were developed (map). I’ve had the pleasure of hiking youth over to the saline wetlands near our office. Along the edges of waterways, the ground is white from the salt deposits. Some of the plants growing there are unique to saline wetlands. It is truly a special place. Next time I head over there, I’ll take some photos.

More resources about Saline Wetlands

“Did you know? Nebraska has lost more than one third of its wetlands in the last 125 years. At the time of statehood in 1867, Nebraska had an estimated 2.9 million acres of wetlands, which covered about six percent of the state, according to T.E. Dahl of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.” University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension

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About Soni Cochran

Mother, Wife, Grandma! I am an extension associate with the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County. I work with urban pests and wildlife, youth programs and manage the office web site at My degree is in education and I taught in rural public schools in Nebraska before coming to Nebraska Extension - UNL. I am Deputy Commander of the 155th Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol in Lincoln - my focus is on public affairs, disaster relief and emergency services. Great organization of adults/teens serving this nation. Love my family, jobs, and sharing my love of nature and the outdoors with anyone who will listen.

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