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#5667 05/11/06 05:58 AM
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Norm, I think the better question here is 'How do we avoid canary grass?'. There is already canary grass (and cattails) at the site and you know how fast that spreads. I am afraid it would be very costly to try to establish anything else. If there is a cheap way to control canary grass and get something else established I NEED to know about it, because my shoreline is a solid mat of canary grass. hahaha

Norm, Are you going to be down this way anytime soon again?


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#5668 05/11/06 07:04 AM
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Nedoc, are sure those are cattails and not some sort of native bullrush that is prevelant in your area? From a short distance they look very similar. The bullrush plants at my brothers wetland do look like cattails from a short distance but do not grow in as deep in the water as the common cattails I have seen.



#5669 05/11/06 07:54 AM
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I thought they were typha angustifolia (narrow leaf cattail) but I didn't look very closely. And I'm not sure I would know the difference anyway this early in the year. That is all the more reason you need to come visit your brother. \:D We need some expert vegetative advice.

It sure would be nice if it was bullrush.


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#5670 05/11/06 08:14 AM
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 Quote:
We need some expert vegetative advice
See the Bill Whitney suggestion, he knows way more than I ever will about wetlands vegetation. ;\) Another good person to talk with would be Eric Volden. ;\)



#5671 05/11/06 08:43 AM
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NEDOC, the short answer is no, there really isn't a good, easy way to get rid of reed canary grass. It is incredibly invasive as you know. Ask Bill Whitney at 402-694-5535. He is probably the formost expert in the Midwest on native prairie management and restoration.

The best way I've found to control it is to get prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata) in there first. Cordgrass is established by plugs.

NebraskaLand magazine had about a 20 page article about managing CRP land for waterfowl and upland game birds. They found that they could have a whole quarter (160 acres) of brome that produced NOTHING! Bruce Condello is doing an excellent job of taking a pure brome pasture and slowly managing it back to native species.

I grew up on a farm by Bellwood. The rainwater basin reaches its NE corner at the airport just south of David City. I've always love that type of landscape.

It pleases me greatly to see that so many Nebraskans (as well as people in other areas) care about our total native environment. I have quite a bit of experience in this area and could give you some specific ideas.


Norm Kopecky
#5672 05/11/06 08:56 AM
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Norm, thanks for that. I have a good friend of mine that used to work with Bill. The friend actually rented a house of mine in Aurora that NEfish's dad sold me (small, small world). I will try to get a hold of Bill to see how I can manage some of my upland areas. Mine are very similar to Bruce's, in that they are solid cool season (mostly brome) grasses. I was going to begin restoring this June. I may have to contact Bill before I make any mistakes. I was going to manage mine with mowing much like Bruce, but I may see what Bill thinks. I am only 25 miles from Aurora so maybe he can come and take a look.


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#5673 05/11/06 09:07 AM
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Nedoc, when you talk to Bill mention to him that you can gather some seed stock from the Brinkerhoff wetland south of Sutton. ;\)



#5674 05/11/06 09:19 AM
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NEDOC, it is a small world.

This is kind of for anyone that is interested in restoring a pasture back to native prairie health. Almost all of our invasive foreign grass are "cool season". That means they grow in the cool moist spring and fall. Most of our native grasses are "warm season". They grow in the hot summer.

There are three major cool season invasive grasses. Brome, Kentucky bluegrass and fescues. We have to attack them when they are growing and the warm season plants are not.

We can spray with Round-up in the early spring when these grasses are growing but the warm season plants aren't.

We can mow the area in the mid spring to set the cool season grasses back and release competition for the warm seasons.

We can burn the area in June (in the Upper Midwest) to set back the cool seasons.

We can use cattle to graze the area very hard in the spring to set back the cool seasons. In Oklahoma, many ranchers buy calves in the fall, run them all winter on their pastures and sell them in late spring/early summer. Their pastures are in great shape compared to ranchers that have regular cow/calf operations. Bill Whitney has used this technique very successfully with Nebraska pastures.

The very best technique is to use all of these forms of management as needed.


Norm Kopecky
#5675 05/11/06 09:56 AM
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Thanks for that Norm. Pheasants Forever's mag usually does a great rundown on some of these techniques for restoring warm seasons. One question I have is since I have a near homogenous stand of cool seasons, would it help to mow/interseed warm seasons or can I just mow it at the end of June (which is what Bruce does) and assume the warm season grasses will fill in. I was planning on doing a few test plots this spring and summer to see which method worked the best, but I have no interest in any grazing by cattle.

What you have listed is very consistent with everything I have ascertained from others. I think the easiest method for me is mowing as short as I can at the end of June each year.

Oddly, I have found several pheasant nests in my brome stands this year (already). I have not found any the prior 4 years.

SHORTY, thanks for the offer. I will mention that to him.


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#5676 05/11/06 11:56 AM
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Norm,
I plan on (finally) pursuing the WHIP program this coming Spring of 2006. There will be strategic areas of WWNG. The State biologist and my NRCS agent walked the property with me and we laid out preliminary plans.
The question: did I hear them say something like "you can mow a path thru the WWNG once or twice a year, alternating the area that is cut, but I have to wait until (June or July?) the nestlings are hatched and fledged before the first mowing"?

#5677 05/12/06 09:54 AM
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Brettski, as far as regulations are concerned, take the word of your local officials. They're the ones that will enforce the regulations and you want to work with them, not against them.

NEDOC, many of the changes in the various CRP programs have come from research done by NE GFP, especially at the Norfork office. For upland game birds, they found that very heavy disking was the most cost effective management tool by far.

I'm impatient, so here's what I would do. I would burn the brome off in early winter or very first thing in the spring to get rid of the thatch. Then, just as soon as the cool season grass started growing again, I would hit it hard with Round-Up. This would really set the brome back but you will still have lots of seed left in the ground. If you have any warm season grasses or seed left, you will see it that fall.

More than grasses, it's the forbs that are important to raise young chicks. Illinois bundleflower is so good that there really isn't a close second. Second tier forbs are annual sunflowers, showy partridge pea, Maximillian sunflowers and false sunflowers. Then comes a whole host of wildflowers that are pretty and attract insects for the chicks to eat.

Bill Whitney (with others) wrote a book about restoring native prairie that I think you would love.


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#5678 05/12/06 10:16 AM
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NEfish talked to Bill yesterday and got some good info. I was going to call Bill today but don't have enough time b/w patients to have a good conversation so I may wait til my day off and call than. Thanks so much for the info. I didn't know the info about the Illinois bundleflower, VERY interesting.


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#5679 05/12/06 01:05 PM
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Yes I did talk to Bill and he said the same thing Norm did. The forbs and native warm season grasses around the pond will provide the best upland game bird production as well as bank stabilization and erosion prevention.

He also recommended that we remove all the over-hanging cedars and ash trees that surround a lot of the pond. Even though they provide a wind break they prevent the grasses from growing and the root systems of the trees does not prevent erosion. He told me that the grasses and forbes will work the best and the trees will just erode and fall in.

I had Casey, the guy Im working with, take some pictures of the progress and hopefully will have them posted soon. He told me last night that the construction is moving faster than he expected and there was a crew of 4-5 guys with a lot of machinery working away yesterday. This might get done a little quicker than we anticipated. \:D


Anyone in need of a fisheries biologist to put to work???
#5680 05/12/06 03:27 PM
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Casey needs to register and get in this conversation.

I talked to John (the contractor) at noon and he was complaining about how slow it was going. hahaha He said they hit some gravel when digging the core trench. Uh Oh!

Can't wait for the pictures.


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#5681 05/13/06 09:50 PM
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I have had success in north central Kansas with buffalo grass.- It is a very dense extremely short grass that will spread itself after you get it started- i just had a soil conservation look at my pond- have a south facing dam that catches a lot of wave action. need some dam repair. We will relocate the discharge point of the spillway eventually and will be using buffalo grass for the ground cover.

#5682 05/15/06 10:32 AM
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Bad news, the gravel turned into water! I think they might be hitting the water table. The only thing I can think of is to bring in a lot of clay and not make the pond as deep. Any suggestions??


Anyone in need of a fisheries biologist to put to work???
#5683 05/15/06 07:31 PM
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I think you are on the right track. Back off and cover the gravel with 2 or 3 ft. of well packed clay. I mean real well packed.


It's not about the fish. It's about the pond. Take care of the pond and the fish will be fine. PB subscriber since before it was in color.

Without a sense of urgency, Nothing ever gets done.

Boy, if I say "sic em", you'd better look for something to bite. Sam Shelley Rancher and Farmer Muleshoe Texas 1892-1985 RIP
#5684 05/16/06 11:28 AM
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They hit water 6 ft. down from where the existing pond bottom was. With the packed clay I think we will be ok with a depth of 12 ft. at the deepest place.


Anyone in need of a fisheries biologist to put to work???
#5685 05/18/06 05:49 PM
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Hello everyone, I am working with NEFish on the pond project that this topic got started on.

I was back last weekend (13th 14th), the test hole (30'x 20') filled with about an inch of water. I don't think it would be wise or economical to go much deeper anyway. Will the 12' be sufficient to winter the fish? What minimum dimmensions of this deep area could I get away with? (I would estimate the pond will be about 6 surface acres.)

PS I'll try to get my pics up but they are not real great
Thanks

#5686 05/19/06 07:27 AM
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12' should be fine to winter fish. I am sure you will get better answers than mine, but my 20 acre pond isn't much deeper and it seems fine with wintering fish. The concern in your case might be making sure that it is full and actually 8'+ deep going into winter. It will be nice if you guys can use a well to keep it full, esp. since we are in a drought and you may have a tough time getting enough runoff anyway.

You may want to go through a winter and make sure it holds before putting too much $ into stocking.


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#5687 05/19/06 10:59 AM
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Sounds good, thanks for the advice NEDOC, I will be back Saturday if you wanna check out the progress. John said they had the core trench in, and will have to wait for the pipe (atleast another week.

#5688 05/19/06 12:48 PM
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I have been talking to John, nearly daily about the progress. His biggest concern seems to be having enough runoff to fill it and/or keep it full. You should be able to talk to someone at the NRCS office (I think her name is Janet) that would tell you the total acres of runoff you have available and the amount you need per acre foot to keep it full. Kurt should know who to talk to. (John should also)


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