Tallgrass Prairie

Nebraska’s Tallgrass Prairie, which covers the eastern quarter of the state, consists mainly of rolling hills bisected by stream valleys. The rolling hills were once covered with grass (dominated by big bluestem, Indian grass, switchgrass and Canada wild-rye) easily reaching five feet in height. Today much of the landscape has been converted to agriculture. This ecoregion was shaped over the last seven million years by glacial activity, wind and water. The receding glaciers left behind till deposits and hilly moraines. After the glaciers receded, windblown loess was deposited over the till. This left the basis for the deep, fertile soils that typify eastern Nebraska. The Missouri River, the continent’s and state’s largest river, forms the northern and eastern boundaries of the state. Along the river the terrain includes wooded bluffs, river terraces and floodplains. The Tallgrass Prairie ecoregion also includes saline wetlands along the Salt Creek and its tributaries as well as playa wetlands in an ancient valley of the Platte River known as the Todd Valley.

Title Category Address Description
Alexandria State Recreation Area 40.233, -97.334 With 778 acres, it consists of a 43-acre lake, marshes, streams, ponds, and wooded habitats.
Arbor Lake 40.904, -96.679 It consists of a 63-acre saline and semi-permanent wetland that seasonally supports great-tailed grackles, migrant ducks and shorebirds, and prairie passerines.
Arrowhead Wildlife Management Area 40.101, -96.872 With 320 acres, it consists of upland habitats.
Audubon: Spring Creek Prairie 40.69, -96.858 Over 600 acres native tallgrass prairie, some small wetlands including a spring and riparian wooded habitats.
Beaver Bend Wildlife Management Area 41.586, -97.884 Area 27 acres. An area located along Beaver Creek, with riparian wooded habitats.
Big Blue Ranch & Lodge 40.108, -96.413 Big Blue Ranch & Lodge is a 2000+ acre working ranch in Pawnee County near Burchard.
Black Island Wildlife Management Area 42, -97.003 This area consists of wooded habitats (primarily cottonwoods), grassy/weedy vegetation, and some wet grassy areas. It also has access to the Elkhorn River.
Boosalis Park 40.861, -96.656 Boosalis Park (undeveloped) is part of Lincoln's landfill area. Closed on Sunday. This little-visited part of Lincoln can only be reached by following 48th Street north to the city landfill entry station.
Bowwood Wildlife Management Area 40.168, -96.242 Area 320 acres, and comprised of wooded areas, croplands, grasslands and two small ponds.
Branched Oak Lake State Recreation Area 40.978, -96.88 Area 4,406 acres, reservoir 1,800 acres. This is the biggest of the reservoirs in the county, and one that seem to attract many rare birds (gulls, waterfowl, loons) during fall, winter and early spring.
Brownville State Recreation Area 40.394, -95.651 Located at southeastern edge of Brownville, and provides boating access to the Missouri River.
Bur Oak Wildlife Management Area 40.897, -97 Area 143 acres. Upland habitat including timber.
Burchard Lake Wildlife Management Area 40.167, -96.304 Area 560 acres, with a 150-acre reservoir, surrounded by native grasslands and some hardwoods.
Clatonia Public Use Area 40.48, -96.856 Area 115 acres, with a 40-acre reservoir.
Conestoga Lake State Recreation Area 40.764, -96.856 Area 486 acres, reservoir 230 acres.
Cottontail Public Use Area 40.646, -96.764 Area 148 acres. Includes a 28-acre reservoir.
Dead Timber State Recreation Area 41.717, -96.691 This 200 acre area near Scribner on the Elkhorn River has 50 acres of water and offers primitive camping, picnicking, fishing and non-powered boating.
Diamond Lake WMA and Donald Whitney Memorial WMA 40.041, -96.869 Diamond Lake consists of open grasslands and hardwood stands around a 33-acre reservoir. The adjoining (to north) Donald Whitney Memorial Wildlife Management Area is much smaller, and also includes a reservoir.
Eugene T. Mahoney State Park 41.025, -96.313 This is a highly developed park, with lodging, cabins, eating facilities, and other popular attractions.
Four Mile Creek Wildlife Management Area 40.041, -95.935 Area 160 acres. Mostly upland habitats along a creek-bottom.
Fremont Lakes State Recreation Area 41.442, -96.552 Includes 20 small sandpit lakes totaling 280 acres, with many recreational facilities.
George Syas Wildlife Management Area 41.433, -97.684 Area 917 acres. Includes 1.5 miles of frontage along the Loup River. About half wooded with the rest grasses, crops, and planted shrubs.
Hackberry Creek Wildlife Management Area 42.178, -98.16 Area 180 acres. Includes a mile of Elkhorn River frontage, several marshy oxbows, mixed woods and grassland.
Hedgefield Wildlife Management Area 40.602, -96.567 Area 114 acres. Contains a 44-acre reservoir with surrounding rolling upland with some wooded vegetation.
Hickory Ridge Wildlife Management Area 40.313, -96.359 Area 250 acres. Includes 60 acres of hardwoods, a small pond, and fairly steep grassland and creek-bottom habitat.
Holmes Lake Park 40.778, -96.631 A southeast city park located around a small reservoir that has a resident flock of Canada geese.
Homestead National Monument of America 40.288, -96.834 This monument celebrates the Homestead Act. It includes a 2.5 mile trail passing through riparian wooded habitats and restored prairie.
Iron Horse Trail 40.241, -96.447 Several units, varied areas extending from east of Beatrice to west of Steinauer.
Jack Sinn Memorial Wildlife Management Area 41.042, -96.606 Consists of mostly seasonally wet lowlands that occur along a creek drainage, and include some beaver ponds up to six feet deep approximately.
Killdeer Wildlife Management Area 40.677, -96.766 Area 69 acres. Contains a 20-acre reservoir, with surrounding marsh. wooded draws, and uplands.
Kinters Ford Wildlife Management Area 40.055, -95.997 Area 200 acres. Includes riverbottom woodland, grassland and cropland.
Larkspur Wildlife Management Area 41.086, -96.904 Includes 37 acres of bur oak wooded habitats, plus areas of native prairie and seeded grassland.
Lincoln Saline Wetlands 40.829, -96.734 The east side of Capital Beach Lake still supports a good saline marsh habitat that is now being preserved as the Lincoln Saline Wetlands.
Little Salt Creek Marsh 40.959, -96.722 A Nature Conservancy wetland three miles west of Raymond, north and south side of Raymond Road and NW 1st. Saline wetlands similar to Arbor Lake.
Lookingglass Creek Wildlife Management Area 41.465, -97.602 67 acres along Loup River. About half wooded, the rest grassland, with two small lakes.
Louisville Lakes State Recreation Area 41.005, -96.17 Area is 142 acres, including 50 acres of water.
Loup Lands Wildlife Management Area 41.408, -97.765 Area 485 acres, 4 miles southwest of Genoa on Highway 22.
Margrave Wildlife Management Area 40.015, -95.468 Consists of 106 acres along the Nemaha River, including wooded habitats, cropland, grasses and marshy areas.
Mayberry Wildlife Management Area 40.221, -96.33 Consists of 195 acres of grassland, trees and a small reservoir.
Mayberry Wildlife Management Area 40.221, -96.33 Consists of 195 acres of grassland, trees and a small reservoir.
Meadowlark Lake Recreational Area 41.036, -96.915 Natural Resources District. Area 320 acres.
Nine Mile Prairie 40.873, -96.806 One of the few remaining native tall-grass prairies in the county, and a classic site of early ecological research by university biologists such as John Weaver.
Oak Glen Wildlife Management Area 40.978, -96.987 Upland habitat with bur oak woods. Many song birds, raptors and game species present at this site.
Oak Lake Park 40.831, -96.719 A small northwest Lincoln city park around two lakes that attract gulls, cormorants, geese, ducks, and other waterbirds during migration.
Oak Valley Wildlife Management Area 41.953, -97.625 Area 640 acres. Includes a hardwood bottomland forest, bisected by Battle Creek; otherwise grassy uplands.
Olive Creek State Recreation Area 40.577, -96.844 Area 438 acres, reservoir 175 acres. This small lake seems to attract rare waterfowl, especially scoters, which turn up almost every year.
Osage Wildlife Management Area 40.418, -96.225 Area 778 acres. Mostly comprised of wooded habitats and intervening grassland habitats, plus tree plantings and crops.
Pawnee Prairie Wildlife Management Area 40.034, -96.324 Area is 1,021 acres. Comprised mostly of native prairie, with some wooded habitats and a small amount of cropland.
Pawnee State Recreation Area 40.852, -96.877 1906 acres, reservoir 740 acres. This fairly large reservoir (second in area to Branched Oak in the county) attracts many migrant waterfowl during spring, and also has many prairie species.
Pioneers Park and Chet Ager Nature Center 40.774, -96.772 This is the oldest of Lincoln's city parks, and one of the largest. It has a few small ponds, and some native prairie, but is mostly planted to pines and other conifers.
Platte River State Park 40.991, -96.214 Another popular park, this area is quite similar to Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, and also to Louisville Lakes State Park.
Powder Horn Wildlife Management Area 41.712, -96.702 Consists of riparian wooded habitats bounding the Elkhorn River, plus adjoining grasslands, marshes and croplands. Good for finding woodcocks in April.
Prairie Knoll Wildlife Management Area 40.062, -96.073 Area 120 acres. Includes a small reservoir and a mixture of wooded habitats, tree plantings, grassland and cropland.
Red Cedar Public Use Area 41.163, -96.872 Area 175 acres, with a 50-acre lake.
Red Fox Wildlife Management Area 41.99, -97.053 Area 363 acres. Includes a wooded remnant oxbow, a 25-acre sandpit lake, 0.6 mile of Elkhorn River frontage, and 163 acres of grassland.
Red Wing Wildlife Management Area 42.154, -98.104 Includes 1.5 miles of Elkhorn River frontage. Mostly riparian wooded habitats, some grassland and marshes.
Rock Creek Station State Historical Park 40.11, -97.056 Area 393 acres. Pony Express Station on the historic Oregon Trail. State park entry permit required.
Rock Glen Wildlife Management Area 40.096, -97.063 Includes 706 acres of rolling native upland and tree-lined drainages.
Rockford Lake State Recreation Area 40.224, -96.582 Area 436 acres, with a 150-acre reservoir. State park entry permit required.
Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium 41.024, -96.251 This area includes the Ak-Sar-Ben aquarium, and some excellent wooded habitats that teem with warblers during spring migration.
Stagecoach Lake State Recreation Area 40.598, -96.642 Area 412 acres, reservoir 195 acres.
Table Rock Wildlife Management Area 40.183, -96.063 Includes mainly wooded bottomland along the Nemaha River, plus grassland and cropland.
Teal Wildlife Management Area 40.556, -96.877 Area 66 acres. Contains a 27-acre reservoir, with surrounding wooded bottomland and rolling upland.
Triple Creek Wildlife Management Area 40.664, -96.404 Area 80 acres. Contains two intermittent streams and 16 acres of wooded habitats.
Twin Lakes Wildlife Management Area 40.832, -96.953 Includes 2 lakes which total about 270 acres along with surrounding uplands, a substantial amount of native prairie and include some timber areas.
Twin Oaks Wildlife Management Area 40.331, -96.14 Area 795 acres. Mostly lowland wooded habitats, with some grassland (both native and restored prairies) and food plots.
Verdon Lake State Recreation Area 40.147, -95.724 Area 30 acres, including a small reservoir. State park entry permit required.
Wagon Train Lake State Recreation Area 40.632, -96.585 Area 750 acres, reservoir 315 acres. Much like the other lakes in the area, with many flooded trees at its upper end.
Whitetail Wildlife Management Area 41.439 , -97.084 Consists of 93 acres of Platte River bottomland forest and 123 acres of islands and river.
Wilderness Park 40.771, -96.715 Wilderness park has about 20 miles of hiking and horseback trails.
Wildwood Wildlife Management Area 41.039, -96.843 Area 491 acres. Includes a 107-acre reservoir surrounded by native wooded habitats, hilly grassland and crops.
Willow Creek State Recreation Area 42.176, -97.571 Area is 1,600 acres, with a 700-acre reservoir.
Wood Duck Wildlife Management Area 41.931, -97.302 Area 668 acres. Consists of riparian wooded habitats bordering the Elkhorn River, with several oxbow lakes and a stream.
Wyuka Cemetery 40.813, -96.665 An excellent location for migrant songbirds such as vireos and warblers, mainly along the wetter western edge.
Yankee Hill Lake Wildlife Managment Area 40.724, -96.787 Includes a 210-acre reservoir surrounded with rolling grassland and wooded bottomland.
Yellowbanks Wildlife Management Area 42.043, -97.663 Area 680 acres. Includes 1.5-mile frontage of the Elkhorn River. Includes steep riverine bluffs that support mature hardwood forest and some grassy uplands.