Prairie Dog Waterfowl Production Area

in Kearney County
520x222 Clark - Killdeer - Frerichs - Lindau - Prairie Dog Vicinity Maps

The first tract of property was purchased in 1968. It remains one of the larger WPAs managed in Rainwater Basin. The combination of grazing and pumping has caused a good mix of aquatic vegetation with extensive waterfowl use primarily by ducks during the spring migration. The WPA contains our largest prairie dog town. It can be easily viewed from the county road.

Recent Management: In the 1980's and early 1990's this wetland had received relatively little waterfowl use. The watershed has been diminished by land-leveling and irrigation reuse pits. Reed canarygrass has invaded the wetland basin and built up a thick organic layer that absorbs most of the runoff the wetland receives. 

In 1998, some restoration was done. A dike going through the wetland was rebuilt so at least a portion of the wetland would have water during pumping. The upper portion of the wetland (see photo below) was disked to knock down canarygrass. In the spring of 2000, the central portion of the wetland was burned and then grazed heavily to further weaken the canarygrass. A heavy summer rain flooded the wetland with over two feet of water, killing a large amount of canarygrass. As the summer progressed, smartweed began to emerge above the water. Fall use by ducks, especially blue-winged teal and pintails, was tremendous. 

Dry conditions in 2001 allowed our staff to fill a concentration pit located in the western portion of the wetland. Approximately 20,000 cubic yards were moved. Fill material came from scrapping about one foot of silt material off an area of the wetland.

In 2002, two small pits located on the eastern portion of the wetland were filled. Although their holding capacities were small, the pits had breached through the clay layer and provided a way for the water to quickly seep out of the wetland. The length of time pumped water stayed on the wetland after the pits were filled drastically increased.

Since the early 2000's reed canarygrass has overtaken the main portion of the wetland. In 2009 the reed canarygrass was sprayed in late October. The result was a dramatic emergence of sedges and other wet meadow plants.

Facts About Prairie Dog Waterfowl Production Area

Location: 6 miles south, 9 miles west of Minden, Nebraska

Size: 892 acres: 471 acres of wetland, 421 acres of upland

GPS: N 40.400, W -99.122

PDF Map: Prairie Dog WPA