Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 58.49
Liaison Cody Friend
Submission Date Feb. 13, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Nebraska at Omaha
OP-10: Biodiversity

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 2.00 / 2.00 Sarah Burke
Sustainability Coordinator
Student Affairs
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution own or manage land that includes or is adjacent to legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance?:

A brief description of the legally protected areas, internationally recognized areas, priority sites for biodiversity, and/or regions of conservation importance:

Glacier Creek Preserve is a topographically diverse nature preserve dedicated to the study and appreciation of the tallgrass prairie and associated ecosystems of eastern Nebraska. The site provides critical habitat for prairie flora and fauna with opportunities for education, research, and appreciation of prairie ecology and management. The preserve is composted of three tracts: the Allwine Prairie Tract (the original preserve), the Papio Tract and the Barbi Hayes Overlook. The Barn at Glacier Creek is an on-site Environmental Education and Research Facility that provides a field-connected laboratory for use by classes as they expand on their field investigations.

T.L. Davis Prairie is managed to provide habitat for loess bluff prairie biota to support teaching and research efforts as well to provide as a place to enjoy our natural heritage. The Preserve is a significant addition to the diversity of ecosystems available for research, education, and general appreciation, in that it adds the loess hill prairie and savanna-woodland ecosystems.

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify endangered and vulnerable species (including migratory species) with habitats on institution-owned or –managed land?:

Has the institution conducted an assessment or assessments to identify environmentally sensitive areas on institution-owned or –managed land?:

The methodologies used to identify endangered and vulnerable species and/or environmentally sensitive areas (including most recent year assessed) and any ongoing assessment and monitoring mechanisms:

Glacier Creek Preserve:
Flora: Landscape vegetation surveys of the Allwine Prairie Tract were conducted in 1979, 1993, 2009.

Fauna: Ongoing studies include a survey of small mammals from 2012-2014 on the un-farmed portion of the Papio Tract and Barbi Hayes Overlook as a first stem in long-term monitoring of the effect of planned future restoration of these sites. Additional research on small mammal diversity is ongoing.

Butterfly Monitoring: Since 1998, twenty Pollard Transect butterfly population censuses have been conducted each year from early June to mid October; since 2001, data have also been collected on nectar plants visited by butterflies observed in the censuses. These data provide a characterization of the butterfly community at the Allwine Prairie tract of Glacier Creek Preserve, nectar plants utilized by the butterfly community, seasonal and annual variations in the community, butterfly dispersal, and determination of the effects of prescribed burning on butterfly populations.

T.L. Davis Prairie
Long term research plots were established in 2006 on the ridgetop loess hills prairie to assess plant community responses to savanna restoration efforts and to the reintroduction of fire to the ecosystem. An evaluation of the woodland vegetative composition was conducted in 2014 with permanent plots in the woodlands planned for the future.

A brief description of identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Glacier Creek Preserve
Flora: More than 320 species of woody and herbaceous plants have been identified. Quantitative surveys of the Preserve find slopes and hilltops of the tallgrass areas to be dominated by big bluestem with little bluestem and sideoats grama are common. Lowland areas are predominantly big bluestem, reed canary grass, ans switchgrass. Little blue stem and sideoats grama dominate the mixed-grass prairie. Common forbs include wild indigo, black-eyed susan, leadplant, round-headed bush clover, greyhead prairie coneflower, rosinweed, Missouri goldenrod, and Canada goldenrod.

Fauna: Over 140 species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals have been observed in various locations throughout the preserve. Breeding bird species include the Mourning Dove, Meadowlark, Dickcissel, and Grasshopper Sparrow. The prairie also serves as a haven to migrant species such as LeConte's and Harris' Sparrows and Marsh Hawks. Mammals of the prairie and woodland include the White-tailed Deer, Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel, Prairie Deer Mouse, White-footed Mouse Prairie Vole, Coyote and Red Fox. Fox Snakes and Red-sided Garter Snakes are also relatively common. A diverse invertebrate community includes 54 butterfly species.

T.L. Davis Prairie
The Preserve hosts a variety of habitats supporting a wide array of floral and faunal diversity. Preliminary plant surveys suggest that a high diversity of remnant prairie and savanna species exist at the Preserve. Upland prairie species include big and little bluestem, sideoats grama, june grass, plains muhly, blue-eyed grass, white and purple prairie clover, lead plant, indian plantain, stiff and Missouri goldenrod, whorled milkweed, and round-headed bush clover. Woodland and savanna species include an overstory mostly of bur oak with an understory of white snakeroot, columbine, tall bellflower, white vervain, and slender wild rye. A survey of terrestrial fauna has yet to be conducted. Fish surveys conducted at the Elkhorn River access area include many native fish species.

A brief description of plans or programs in place to protect or positively affect identified species, habitats and/or environmentally sensitive areas:

Glacier Creek Preserve:
Land Management: Prescribed burning is essential to the management of the Preserve. In 1974, the recently restored Preserve was burned in its entirety. In 1975, the Preserve was divided into three management units with only one unit burned each year. Prescribed burns are conducted in late spring with management units burned in rotation to simulate a three-year fire return interval. Research plots are burned every spring, summer, and fall. Because grazing was a significant part of the historic tallgrass prairie, future plans include introduction of grazers. In addition to prescribed burning, land management at the Preserve includes mechanical and chemical control of invasive species, over-seeding areas to increase plant diversity, restoration of newly acquired or disturbed areas, tree removal and occasional haying.

Research: Long-term research at the Preserve provides information on changes in plant and animal populations and communities that occur over time which, among other benefits, aids in deciding how to best manage this and other preserves.

T.L. Davis Prairie
Current management of the Preserve is designed to remove most trees and shrubs in the prairie portion of the Preserve with the intent of approximating the upland prairie's historic distribution, as inferred from 1941 aerial photographs of the site. The forests of the mid- and lower-slopes will be maintained intact but with efforts to control exotic species, particularly garlic mustard.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data source(s) and notes about the submission:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.