NU Water-Related Research in the Lower Platte South NRD

The list below shows water-related research being conducted within your NRD or that affects your NRD. They are sorted by water topic, then by primary contact's last name.

Displaying 18 records found for Lower Platte South NRD


Topic Climate
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hu, Qi (Steve)
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email qhu2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6642
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=54
Project Information
Title Earlier winter wheat heading dates and warmer spring in the U.S. Great Plains
Other(s) Albert Weiss, School of Natural Resources, aweiss1@unl.edu; Song Feng, School of Natural Resources, sfeng2@unl.edu, P. Stephen Baenziger, Agronomy and Horticulture, pbaenziger1@unl.edu 
Description

Phenological* change of plants is an indication of local and regional climate change, independent of the instrumentation records and associated bias/error. Although some phenological changes have been identified for native and perennial species and used to infer climate change in various regions of the world, little has been known for changes in agricultural plants/crops. This study examined change in the heading or flowering date of a winter wheat cultivar, Kharkof, over 70 years at six locations in the U.S. Great Plains, including Lincoln, Nebraska.

Results showed that the heading or flowering date of the Kharkof occurred 6-10 days earlier in 2004 than in 1948. Because the heading or flowering date of winter wheat is primarily a function of spring temperatures (Xue et al., 2004), the earlier heading or flowering dates indicate warmer spring season temperatures in the region. Further analysis of temperatures showed that this heading or flowering date shift to earlier time is significantly correlated with the increase in spring season (March-May) daily minimum temperatures. Although this signal of warmer spring daily minimum temperatures is obtained from the instrumental records, the confirmation of this signal by changes in the heading or flowering date offers independent evidence for the temperature change, free of possible instrumentation biases or errors. This warming temperature signal is further supported by the result showing a trivial relationship between the heading or flowering dates and winter and spring precipitation at all the study locations. This trivial correlation with precipitation (Q. Hu et al. / Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 135 (2005) 284-290 289) points to rising minimum daily temperatures as the sole explanation of the earlier winter wheat heading dates.

*Phenology is the science dealing with the influence of climate on the recurrence of such annual phenomena of animal and plant life as budding and bird migrations.

Project Support US Department of Agriculture Cooperative Research Project
Project Website
Report Hu_winter_wheat.pdf
Current Status Published in Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 2006 135:284-290
Topic Drought
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Hanson, Paul
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email phanson2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7762
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=758
Project Information
Title Pre-Historic Drought Records from the Eastern Platte River Valley
Other(s) R. Matt Joeckel, School of Natural Resources, rjoeckel3@unl.edu; Aaron Young, School of Natural Resources, ayoung3@unl.edu 
Description Recent studies have related large-scale dune activity in the Nebraska Sandhills and elsewhere on the western Great Plains to prehistoric megadroughts. At the eastern margin of the Great Plains, however, little or no effort has been expended toward identifying the impacts and severity of these climatic events. The eastern margin of the Great Plains should be of particular interest in paleclimate studies because it represents an important biogeographic boundary that may have shifted over time. In dunes around the present confluence of the Loup and Platte Rivers near Duncan, Nebraska, optical dating contrains, for the first time, the chronology of dune activity in the central-eastern margin of the Great Plains. A total of 17 optical age estimates taken from dune sediments clearly indicate two significant periods of dune activation at 5,100 to 3,500 years ago and 850-500 years ago. These reconstructed time intervals overlap both periods of large-scale dune activity in the Nebraska Sandhills and ancient droughts identified from other paleoclimate proxy records on the western Great Plains. The agreement between results from the eastern margin of the Great Plains and data from farther west indicate that megadroughts were truly regional in their effect. In order to further test a hypothesis of geographically-widespread megadrought effects, future work will date other dune deposits in eastern Nebraska from sites along the Loup and Elkhorn Rivers, as well as dunes in east-central Kansas and western Iowa.
Project Support United States Geological Survey Statemap Program
Project Website
Report Hanson Eastern Platte Valley.pdf
Current Status Published in Geomorphology 103 (2009) 555-561
Topic Extension
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Skipton, Sharon
Unit Southeast Research and Extension Center
Email sskipton1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3662
Web Page http://www.southeast.unl.edu/staffdir/Skipton_Sharon
Project Information
Title Southeast Research and Extension Center
Other(s) Gary Zoubek, York County Extension, gzoubek@unl.edu 
Description Each day University of Nebraska Extension makes a difference in the lives of adults and youth. The faculty and staff in the Southeast Research and Extension Center and the 28 County Offices work to bring relevant researched based information to people in communities, towns and urban centers. Our efforts rely increasingly on partnerships with government agencies, business, industry, schools and community organizations. Working together with our partners Extension strives to strengthen the social, economic and environmental base of Nebraska's communities. Our programs must be ever-changing as Extension listens and responds to issues as they evolve. The Southeast Research and Extension District is unique because it serves both urban and rural communities Nebraska. The faculty and staff are committed to bringing the resources of the University and its research based information to the individuals and communities of Southeast Nebraska.
Project Support Varies according to program and project - for more information see http://www.southeast.unl.edu/
Project Website http://www.southeast.unl.edu/
Report
Current Status Continuous
Topic Hydrology
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Cheng, Cheng
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email ccheng2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472 0772
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/graduatestudent-member.asp?pid=798
Project Information
Title Statistical Distribution of Streambed Vertical Hydraulic Conductivity along the Platte River, Nebraska
Other(s) Xun-Hong Chen, School of Natural Resources, xchen2@unl.edu, Jinxi Song, Deming Wang 
Description Streambed vertical hydraulic conductivity (Kv) plays an important role in understanding and quantifying the stream-aquifer interactions. While several researchers have discussed the spatial variability of streambed horizontal hydraulic conductivity or Kv at one or several close-located sites in a river, they did not develop any statistical distribution analysis of streambed Kv at distant sites along a large river. In this paper, the statistical distribution and spatial variation of streambed Kv at 18 test sites in a 300-km reach of the Platte River in Nebraska are presented. Insitu permeameter tests using the falling-head method were carried out to calculate the streambed Kv values. Fine-grained sediments transported by two tributaries, the Loup River and the Elkhorn River, to the Platte River appear to result in lower streambed Kv values downstream of the confluences between the Platte River and the tributaries. The streambed Kv values were found to be normally distributed at nearly each test site. When the correlated Kv values were eliminated from the grid sampling plots, the remaining independent sub-datasets of streambed Kv values were still in normal distribution at each test site. Furthermore, the combined streambed Kv values upstream of the first confluence between the Platte River and the Loup River was normally distributed, which may be due to the lack of tributaries in-between and thus streambed sediments were well distributed in this reach and belonged to a single population of hydraulic conductivity values. In contrast, the combined dataset of all measurements conducted downstream of this confluence was no longer in normal distribution, presumably as a result of the mixing of different sediment sources.
Project Support Lower Platte North Natural Resources District, Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University of Ministry of Education of China
Project Website
Report Cheng_Distribution.pdf
Current Status Published in Water Resources Management DOI 10.1007/s11269-010-9698-5
Topic Hydrology
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Korus, Jesse
Unit Conservation and Survey Division
Email jkorus3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7561
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/staff-member.asp?pid=1010
Project Information
Title Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA)
Other(s)

Paul Hanson, School of Natural Resources / Conservation and Survey Division, phanson2@unl.edu; Sue Lackey, School of Natural Resources / Conservation and Survey Divison, slackey1@unl.edu; Matt Marxsen, School of Natural Resources / Conservation and Survey Division, mmarxsen2@unl.edu

Dana Divine, ENWRA Project Coordinator, ddivine@lpsnrd.org

Visit the Nebraska Maps and More website (http://nebraskamaps.unl.edu/home.asp) to order an excellent publication that describes this project more in-depth, Bulletin 1: Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA) Introduction to a Hydrogeological Study.

 
Description

Eastern Nebraska contains 70% of the state's population, but is most limited in terms of the state's groundwater supplies. The population in this region is expected to increase; thus the need for reliable water supplies is paramount. Natural resources districts (NRDs), charged with ground water management in Nebraska, seek to improve their management plans in response to growing populations, hydrologic drought, and new conjunctive management laws. Detailed mapping and characterization is necessary to delineate aquifers, assess their degree of hydrologic connection with streams and other aquifers, and better predict water quality and quantity.

In a collaborative effort between local, state, and federal agencies, the ENWRA project has been initiated to gain a clearer understanding of the region's groundwater and interconnected surface water resources. These resources can be difficult to characterize because of the complex geology created by past glaciations. Acquiring geologic and hydrologic data in the eastern, or glaciated, part of Nebraska requires the use of multiple, innovative techniques. Currently, little is known about which techniques are most effective and feasible. Once identified, the most effective and feasible tools will be used to provide data, interpretations, and models for improved water resources management.

The ENWRA group has established three pilot test sites for intensive study using a variety of investigative techniques. The goal of the initial work being done at the three pilot test sites is to determine the location, extent, and connectivity of aquifers with surface waters, with the hope of expanding these investigative techniques across other portions of eastern Nebraska. The pilot test sites are located near Oakland, Ashland, and Firth with each site exhibiting differing geologic conditions. The techniques that will be utilized in the study include: 1) helicopter electromagnetic (HEM) surveys; 2) ground-based geophysical surveys; 3) test hole drilling; and 4) geochemical analysis, just to name a few. So far HEM surveys were completed over approximately one township at each site. Other techniques were used to provide "ground truth" data to support the HEM interpretations.

The agencies involved in the ENWRA are:

  • Lower Platte South Natural Resources District
  • Lower Platte North Natural Resources District
  • Papio Missouri River Natural Resources District
  • Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District
  • Lewis and Clark Natural Resources District
  • Nemaha Natural Resources District
  • United States Geological Survey
  • University of Nebraska Lincoln Conservation and Survey Division
  • Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
  • Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Project Support Nebraska Department of Natural Resources Interrelated Water Management Plan/Program
Project Website http://www.enwra.org/
Report
Current Status HEM surveys are complete and 3-D aquifer diagrams have been prepared. Report Status: Ashland area report has been prepared and is under review and the Firth area report is being written.
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 Eastern Nebraska Water Resources Assessment (ENWRA) Study Sites. 
Topic Stormwater Management
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Dvorak, Bruce
Unit Civil Engineering
Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3431
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
Project Information
Title Yard Waste Compost as a Stormwater Protection Treatment for Construction Sites
Other(s) David Admiraal, Civil Engineering, dadmiraal2@unl.edu; Thomas Franti, Biological Systems Engineering, tfranti@unl.edu; John Stansbury, Civil Engineering, jstansbury2@unl.edu 
Description

City of Lincoln yard waste compost was used in a two-year field study to compare erosion control treatments. Plots with a north-facing 3 to 1 slope were used. Runoff water quality improvement from three yard waste compost erosion control treatments were compared with two conventional treatments and an untreated control during two growing seasons, using natural events and simulated rainfall. Runoff volume, suspended solids, nutrients, biomass, turf shear strength, and turfgrass color scale were monitored. The most effective compost treatment, a 5-cm thick blown compost blanket, produced 12.7 times less runoff and 9.8 times less sediment load than a straw mat and silt fence treatment. The compost treatments generated eight times more biomass than the straw mat treatments. Root development was significantly better on the compost treatments based on turf shear strength measurements. Tilled-in compost was not as effective as a compost blanket at reducing sediment loss, particularly before the establishment of grass on the plot. The cost of compost treatments was similar to that of straw mat with silt fence treatments.

Read more about this research in the Journal of Water Environment Research

Project Support Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Project Website http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/pages/publicationD.jsp?publicationId=534
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Stormwater Management
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Dvorak, Bruce
Unit Civil Engineering
Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3431
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
Project Information
Title Development of Storm Water Discharge Pollutant Load Model for Holmes Lake Watershed
Other(s) Dave Rus, U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Water Science Center, dlrus@usgs.gov; Rock Krzycki, City of Lincoln Public Works and Utilities Wateshed Management, RKrzycki@lincoln.ne.gov; David Admiraal, Civil Engineering, dadmiraal2@unl.edu 
Description A joint study of two Lincoln urban watersheds is on-going, with sampling sites in Taylor Park and Colonial Park in the Holmes Lake Watershed. The study is intended to occur over a five-year period (2008-2012) and will focus on providing semi-continuous water quality and quantity data using in-stream probes and monitors, as well as discrete monitoring data obtained by taking samples to the laboratory. Semi-continuous data that is collected include stream flow rate (gage height), dissolved oxygen, conductivity, and turbidity. Discrete data collected includes dissolved oxygen, conductivity, turbidity, total suspended solids, SSC, nitrate, TKN, total phosphorus, E. Coli, fluoride, chlorine, and chloride. The data will be used to develop correlations between the continuous and discrete monitoring data to then make estimates for the pollutant loadings. The overall goal is to better understand pollutant loadings from urban watersheds.
Project Support U.S. Geological Survey Nebraska Water Science Center, City of Lincoln, Lower Platte South NRD, Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Project Website http://ne.water.usgs.gov/projects/QWmonitoring.html
Report
Current Status Continuing
Topic Stormwater Management
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Dvorak, Bruce
Unit Civil Engineering
Email bdvorak1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-3431
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/BruceDvorak.shtml
Project Information
Title Urban Storm Water Quality Characterization for Lincoln, NE
Description

The storm water quality from three watersheds representing different land use patterns were compared in Lincoln, Nebraska. One watershed primarily represented residential land use (51 ha), a second was commercial (145 ha), and third industrial (20 ha). Twenty seven storm events from 1992 to 2007 were utilized for this analysis. Storm water quality data shows that, for most of the water quality parameters, the event mean concentrations (EMCs) and site mean concentrations (SMCs) from the commercial land use watershed were higher than the other two watersheds. At residential watershed, the difference in the COD and TKN SMC values from the other national SMC values was statistically significant. Similar TSS SMC values were found from the three watersheds compared to the national average values, except for commercial land use, which were significantly higher. Many nutrients SMCs, especially TDP and TP, were significantly higher for three watersheds than the national average values.

Fore more on this research read this master's thesis

Project Support City of Lincoln
Project Website http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/civilengdiss/3/
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Wastewater
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon
Unit Civil Engineering
Email sbartelt2@unl.edu
Phone 402-554-3868
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/ShannonBartelt-Hunt.shtml
Project Information
Title The occurrence of illicit and therapeutic pharmaceuticals in wastewater effluent and surface waters in Nebraska
Other(s) Daniel D. Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; Teyona Damon; Johnette Shockley; Kyle Hoagland, School of Natural Resources, khoagland1@unl.edu 
Description The occurrence and estimated concentration of twenty illicit and therapeutic pharmaceuticals and metabolites in surface waters influenced by wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharge and in wastewater effluents in Nebraska were determined using Polar Organic Chemical Integrative Samplers (POCIS). Samplers were installed in rivers upstream and downstream of treated WWTP discharge at Lincoln, Grand Island, and Columbus, downstream of Hastings' WWTP discharge, and from Omaha's effluent channel just prior to it being discharged into the Missouri River. Based on differences in estimated concentrations determined from pharmaceuticals recovered from POCIS, WWTP effluent was found to be a significant source of pharmaceutical loading to the receiving waters. Effluents from WWTPs with trickling filters or trickling filters in parallel with activated sludge resulted in the highest observed in-stream pharmaceutical concentrations. Azithromycin, caffeine, 1,7 - dimethylzanthine, carbamazepine, cotinine, DEET, diphenhydramine, and sulfamethazine were detected at all locations. Methamphetamine, an illicit pharmaceutical, was detected at all but one of the sampling locations, representing only the second report of methamphetamine detected in WWTP effluent and in streams impacted by WWTP effluent.
Project Support n/a
Project Website
Report Bartelt-Hunt_Wastewater.pdf
Current Status Published in Environmental Pollution 2009 157:786-791
Topic Water Quality
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Bartelt-Hunt, Shannon
Unit Civil Engineering
Email sbartelt2@unl.edu
Phone 402-554-3868
Web Page http://www.engineering.unl.edu/civil/faculty/ShannonBartelt-Hunt.shtml
Project Information
Title Fate and bioavailability of steroidogenic compounds in aquatic sediment
Other(s) Daniel Snow, School of Natural Resources, dsnow1@unl.edu; Alan Kolok, UNO School of Public Health, akolok@mail.unomaha.edu 
Description

Objective: To improve understanding of the role of sediment in the environmental fate, transformation and subsequent bioavailability of steroidogenic compounds. The central hypothesis of this study is that sediment-associated steroids remain bioavailable.

Research Questions: Are sediment-associated steroids bioavailable? How do sediment characteristics influence steroid fate? What biologically active steroid metabolites are produced in sediment?

Project Support National Science Foundation
Project Website
Report
Current Status Ongoing
Pic 1 Project Image
Pic Caption 1 A model of the project's experimental design 
Topic Water Quality
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Gitelson, Anatoly
Unit Center for Advanced Land Management Information Technologies
Email agitelson2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8386
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=39
Project Information
Title Using Remote Sensing to Detect the Threat of Blue-Green Algae
Description

Remote sensing is a useful tool for providing regulatory officials with the data necessary to make decisions regarding recreational waters. In 2005, CALMIT scientists undertook a collaborative effort with the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality aimed at developing a tool to identify lakes where blue-green algae populations are present. The overall purpose was to incorporate those affected lakes into a toxic-algae alert procedure to provide early warnings to the public about the potential danger. This project also served to promote coordination and information sharing about toxic-algae issues among local units of government, lake associations, lake owners, and the public.

Both in-situ (close-range) and remote techniques were employed to detect and quantify in real-time the algal phytoplankton pigment concentration and composition (i.e., chlorophyll-a and phycocyanin in the water column). Two criteria were used to identify lakes and reservoirs with high probability of toxic algae: 1) chlorophyll concentration above 50 mg/m3; and 2) existence of blue green algae (the phycocyanin absorption feature has been used to indicate remotely the presence of blue-green algae). These criteria were tested by analytical assessment of toxic algae and the tests were positive: when the sensor systems indicated high probability of toxins, they were found in water samples.

Project Support Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
Project Website http://www.calmit.unl.edu/research.php
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Wetlands
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Allen, Craig
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email callen3@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-0229
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=647
Project Information
Title Missouri River Mitigation: Implementation of Amphibian Monitoring and Adaptive Management for Wetland Restoration Evaluation
Other(s) Martin Simon, Benedictine College; Michelle Hellman, School of Natural Resources, michelle.hellman@huskers.unl.edu; Ashley Vanderham, School of Natural Resources, avanderham@huskers.unl.edu 
Description

Data are being collected to determine what constitutes a successful wetland restoration, given the desired goals of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Herpetofauna primarily amphibians are being used as indicators of wetland success. This will be accomplished by quantifying the occurrence and recruitment of amphibians at existing mitigation sites and formulating models of quality wetland restorations. These models will be used by managers in future restorations and for adaptive management approaches to the design of new wetland restorations. The study area is the Missouri River corridor of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska.

This project is a multi-institutional monitoring program that focuses on tightly linking monitoring with hypothesis testing in an adaptive framework. The design consists of frog call surveys to determine occupancy rates for a large number of wetlands on numerous restoration properties, coupled with intensive sampling of frogs, turtles and salamanders to assess abundance and recruitment on eight restored wetland complexes in four states. The focus areas for the Nebraska Coop Unit are three Missouri River wetland complexes located from Falls City to Omaha, Nebraska. Project collaborators at Benedictine College in Kansas are focusing on the Benedictine Wetlands in Kansas.

Click here to read a fact sheet on this project

Project Support United States Geological Survey, United States Army Corps of Engineers
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#missouririvermitigation
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Anderson, Tara
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email taraleeanderson@huskers.unl.edu
Phone 402-432-5233
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/undergrad/anderson-tara.asp
Project Information
Title Population Dynamics of Shovelnose Sturgeon in the Lower Platte River
Other(s) Mark A. Pegg, School of Natural Resources, mpegg2@unl.edu; Martin Hamel, School of Natural Resources, mhamel2@unl.edu; Jeremy Hammen, School of Natural Resources, hammenj@huskers.unl.edu 
Description

Reduction in range and abundance of shovelnose sturgeon Scaphirhynchus platorynchus over the past century has been primarily attributed to critical habitat loss, poor water quality, and overharvest. These declines have led to concerns about populations of this once ubiquitous sturgeon species in large rivers throughout their Mississippi River Basin-wide range. However, detailed analyses of shovelnose sturgeon populations do not exist in several potentially important portions of their range, such as the Platte River, Nebraska. Shovelnose sturgeon, for example have been documented in the Lower Platte River, Nebraska (i.e., Columbus, NE to Plattsmouth, NE), but little is known about their population dynamics. Additionally, indications that seasonal fishing pressure in the Lower Platte River may affect local abundances, growth and mortality rates, and age at maturity of shovelnose sturgeon create a need for obtaining more specific population information. Researchers have initiated a five year study of the shovelnose sturgeon population in the Lower Platte River to characterize the abundance, distribution, demography, population dynamics, and genetics of shovelnose sturgeon. For preliminary data from the first year of sampling, view the presentation via the website like below.

Click here to read Tara Anderson's Master's Thesis on Shovelnose Sturgeon Population Dynamics

Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Project Website http://watercenter.unl.edu/PRS/PRS2009/PPTs/Anderson%20Tara.pdf
Report
Current Status Completed
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Harvey, F. Edwin
Unit School of Natural Resources
Email feharvey1@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-8237
Web Page http://eas.unl.edu/people/faculty_page.php?lastname=Harvey&firstname=Ed&type=ADJ
Project Information
Title Salt Creek Tiger Beetle Research Project
Description

This extensive research project intends to determine the reproductive habitat parameters and develop rearing procedures for the federally endangered Salt Creek Tiger Beetle (SCTB). The SCTB is endemic to the saline wetlands of Lancaster County, Nebraska and was first described in the early 1900s. Based on museum records, it was apparently abundant in its type locality of the Capital Beach area of Lincoln, Nebraska. However, by the late 1980s, surveys indicated a dramatic decline in beetle populations, following corresponding losses in saline habitats upon which the beetle depends. Currently, the majority of beetles are limited to a single area along the banks of Little Salt Creek in Lancaster County. This means that in order to successfully recover the SCTB, it will be necessary to reestablish populations at restored historic sites and at new sites. This will require data on the appropriate management of the sites to provide reproductive habitat.

Although the basic life history and habitat requirements of the SCTB is known, much detailed biological information on the SCTB biology is lacking, and this information is essential for developing appropriate conservation and recovery plans. A well-defined group of beetle species occur exclusively in saline wetlands; however, physiological basis for these habitat preferences are not known. Considerable speculation surrounds the association of soil salinity with SCTB oviposition (laying eggs).

Harvey and his students are conducting research to characterize the hydrogeology and hydrochemistry of the alluvial and bedrock aquifers beneath eastern Nebraska's saline wetlands. They are also attempting to quantify the mixing relationship between fresh surface and shallow groundwater, and the deeper saline groundwater that moves to the surface under artesian pressure Their research is aimed ultimately at assessing the impact of both spatial and temporal hydrological changes across the wetland on the SCTB.

Dr. Harvey's portion of the larger research project will contribute to the conservation of the SCTB by identifying suitable release sites and developing habitat management guidelines for existing and restored habitat sites. The project will also use existing information to further refine and develop practices and protocols in order to successfully and efficiently captive-rear the SCTB.

Three Master's theses have been completed and a third is in progress:

  • Coke, Gordon R., (2008) Groundwater Dynamics Within the Saline Wetland Alluvium of the Little Salt Creek Valley, Lancaster County, Nebraska, MS Thesis, UNL School of Natural Resources. 79 p.
  • Gilbert, James, (2008) Groundwater Mixing Dynamics in the Saline Wetlands of the Little Salt Creek Watershed, Lancaster County, Nebraska, MS Thesis, UNL School of Natural Resources, 148 p.
  • Kelly, Bridget, (2011), Using Electrical Resistivity Imaging (ERI) to Map Saline Groundwater and Subaqueous Spring Discharge: An Example From the Saline Wetlands of Eastern Nebraska, MS Thesis, UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, 150 p.
Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/harvey/projecttiger.htm
Report
Current Status Continuing
Pic 1 Project Image
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Pegg, Mark (advisor)
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email mpegg2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-6824
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=739
Project Information
Title Catfish Population Dynamics in the Platte River, Nebraska
Other(s) Tony J. Barada, abarada2@unl.edu 
Description

Catfish angling is popular throughout the United States and catfish are the most sought after fish species in the Platte River. However, catfish management in the Platte River is minimal as little is known about current populations. The objective of this study was to determine the current status of channel catfish and flathead catfish populations in the central and lower Platte River. Specifically, the study evaluated population characteristics including relative abundance, size structure, condition, age, growth and mortality.

Channel catfish are much more abundant than flathead catfish in the Platte River. The current Platte River channel catfish population appears to be average, comparable to many Nebraska and Midwestern rivers. Population characteristics displayed considerable variation along the Platte River and some longitudinal patterns were evident. Channel catfish in the central Platte River had lower relative abundances, higher condition, greater size structure, faster growth and lower mortality compared to lower Platte River channel catfish. Key factors likely influencing differences in channel catfish population characteristics are prey availability, flow modifications, habitat characteristics, tributary inflows and angler exploitation. Water manipulations from the Loup River Power Canal were also identified as a possible negative influence on lower Platte River channel catfish populations because hydropeaking is likely creating a stressful environment. However, channel catfish in the central Platte River appear to have benefited from recent high flows that likely increased productivity and food availability in the central Platte River.

Tony Barada's Master's Thesis on Catfish Population Dynamics in the Platte River

Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Federal Aid in Sportfish Restoration
Project Website
Report
Current Status Graduate thesis project completed - thesis available at UNL CY Thompson Library (Call # LD3656 2009 .B373)
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Pope, Kevin
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email kpope2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7028
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=759
Project Information
Title Population Assessments of Temperate Basses in Nebraska Reservoirs
Other(s) Christopher Chizinski, School of Natural Resources, cchizinski2@unl.edu 
Description

Branched Oak and Pawnee reservoirs are two waterbodies in eastern Nebraska that provided important local fisheries for nearly half of Nebraska’s population. Littoral species of fish, such as black crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass, dominated the angler catch early in the life of these reservoirs. However, sedimentation and erosion have substantially altered the habitat of these reservoirs, which resulted in shift from clear-water littoral habitat to turbid-water limnetic habitat. These habitat changes caused a shift in the sportfish community from one dominated by shallow-water species such as black crappie, bluegill and largemouth bass, to one dominated by open-water species such as walleye and white bass. In addition to habitat changes, introductions of the white perch into these reservoirs have caused additional changes in the fish communities and their associated dynamics. Since their introduction, white perch numbers have increased precipitously over the last 15 years resulting in populations of stunted white perch. Elimination of the stunted status for these white perch populations through increased stocking of predators has been unsuccessful to date.

This study will provide an in depth analysis of the white perch populations in these two Nebraska reservoirs. Specifically, we will estimate the biomass of each white perch population and quantify the spatiotemporal (daily and seasonally) distribution of white perch in both reservoirs.

Project Support Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Project Website http://snr.unl.edu/necoopunit/research.main.html#temperatebasses
Report
Current Status Underway
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Pope, Kevin (advisor)
Unit Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
Email kpope2@unl.edu
Phone 402-472-7028
Web Page http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/who/people/faculty-member.asp?pid=759
Project Information
Title Impact of White Perch on Walleye and Predators of White Perch at Branched Oak and Pawnee Reservoirs
Other(s) Nathan Gosch, Graduate Research Assistant 
Description

Habitat alterations and accidental introduction of white perch into Branched Oak Lake have shifted the fish community from one dominated by littoral (near-shore) species (e.g., largemouth bass and bluegill) to one dominated by pelagic (open-water) species (e.g., white perch and gizzard shad). Along with the change in the fish community, angler trips to Branched Oak Reservoir have declined by 85% over the last two decades. Further, the white perch population has become stunted, meaning there is a high density of slow growing individuals that mature at a small size. Like Branched Oak Lake, Pawnee Lake historically supported an active and diverse fishery, and has experienced similar habitat alterations and accidental introduction of white perch; however, unlike Branched Oak Lake, stunting has not yet occurred for the white perch population in Pawnee Lake.

Studies at both lakes enable researchers to examine white perch interactions with other fishes in two similar Nebraska reservoirs having different white perch population stages (i.e., stunted and non-stunted). Food habits and diet overlap among white perch, crappie, walleye, white bass, and channel catfish are being evaluated. To study diet, fish stomachs are pumped and the contents analyzed to understand which fish species prey on white perch. All stomach content samples are analyzed and data synthesized. Stable isotope analyses of stomach contents have been conducted and the results confirmed.

By documenting the potential competition bottlenecks that exist between white perch and other fish species of importance, management program may be developed to eliminate stunted status for the white perch population in Branched Oak Lake and to prevent stunting of the white perch population in Pawnee Lake.

Project Support U.S. Geological Survey, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
Project Website http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/epubs/U1500/B011-2008.pdf
Report
Current Status Completed - report available
Topic Wildlife
Project's Primary Contact Information
Name Stansbury, John
Unit Civil Engineering, UNO
Email jstansbury2@unl.edu
Phone 402-554-3896
Web Page http://www.civil.unl.edu/faculty/John-Stansbury
Project Information
Title Multi-Criteria Assessment of Habitat Restoration for the Missouri River Project
Other(s) Istvan Bogardi (retired), ibogardi1@unl.edu 
Description

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in cooperation with other agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is currently planning, designing, and constructing projects designed to restore habitat in and along the Missouri River. The primary focus of the projects is restoration of habitat for three endangered or threatened species: pallid sturgeon, least tern, and piping plover. Management and restoration of the Missouri River is a complex endeavor that affects many people with many and often conflicting priorities. In addition, restoration of habitat is a complex process with many and often conflicting objectives. For example, habitat restoration activities for one species may interfere with habitat needs for another species. Finally, habitat restoration success is difficult to measure, in part because there is often a significant lag time between the restoration activity and the response by the target species. Therefore, a method is being developed, using multi-criteria assessment tools, to help the USACE and cooperators assess the status and the progress of the habitat restoration program.

The goal of this project is to develop a multi-criteria assessment tool that can be used to assess the overall status and progress of the habitat restoration efforts on the Missouri River. To achieve this goal, the first step will be to determine the requirements for habitat (e.g., water depths, velocities, bottom substrates, etc) for the endangered species. Then measurement criteria (i.e., what data will need to be collected to assess the availability of the required habitat) will be established. Finally, a multi-criteria assessment tool will be developed and used to integrate the conditions of the various measurement criteria (depths, velocities, etc.) to gain an understanding of the overall quality and quantity of habitat at different points in time.

Project Support U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Project Website
Report
Current Status Continuing