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Glacier Creek Project:

Allwine Prairie Preserve is the focus of the Glacier Creek Project, an exciting and ongoing effort that will provide both an environmental education and research facility and expanded preserve boundaries. The education and research facility, scheduled for completion in late 2012, is being developed from an 1890's historic diary barn that was donated by Barbi Hayes to UNO in 2011. The barn was moved from its present location to Allwine Prairie on January 13, 2012, where it will be upgraded by Randy Brown Architects to accommodate lab, lecture, and basic utilities for the preserve. Land to the east of Allwine Prairie was purchased in 2009 with financial support from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District. This expansion importantly extended the preserve to the Big Papillion Creek habitat corridor. Ongoing efforts are focused on acquisition of properties to the west and north of Allwine Prairie Preserve so as to incorporate the entire Glacier Creek watershed, creating a unique tallgrass prairie watershed preserve. The resulting Glacier Creek Prairie Preserve will be a one-of-a-kind, ecologically sustainable enviornmental resource for the region providing visitors, such as area schools, groups, and individuals, a glimpse into eastern Nebraska's Tallgrass Prairie heritage. We are currently seeking additional funds for both land acquisition and the education and research facility

To request more information about these projects, or to find out how you can help, please contact:

Thomas B. Bragg
Professor, Department of Biology
University of Nebraska at Omaha
Omaha, NE 68182-0040
Phone:  (402) 554-3378
Cell: (402) 980-7089
E-mail: tbragg@unomaha.edu


Glacier Creek Project: Education and Research Facility

A historic dairy barn and silo, gifted to UNO in 2011 by Barbi Hayes, is being moved to Allwine Prairie where it will be transfomed to a state-of-the-art education and research facility for area schools and researchers to use for further learning about Nebraska's tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The basic structure, which is scheduled for completion in 2012, will include much needed teaching and research space featuring a modern lab, classrooms, office and large multipurpose space in the haloft in addition to restrooms and other necessities to support field research. The hayloft in the barn will be available for meetings, receptions, and similar activities. As a major, eastern Nebraska natural resource, this unique facility will be equipped to accommodate individuals and groups of various sizes from a variety of organizations and institutions ranging from PK-12 schools through university-level institutions. The Preserve Manager and university professors will be available to assist in educational programs and visits. The design for the facility is being provided by Randy Brown Architects, one of the top "green design" firms in the country. The University will provide facility maintenance and land management.

Glacier Creek Project: Expansion of Allwine Prairie

Phase I:

In 2007, the Nebraska Environmental Trust (NET) awarded the Glacier Creek Environmental Initiative a $1 million grant toward the purchase of a portion of 126 acres of land extending east of the preserve to the Big Papillion Creek. In 2009, eighty-three (83) acres of property adjacent to Allwine Prairie Preserve on the east were acquired by UNO using the NET funds as well as funds from the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resouces District (NRD) and UNO. This acquisition extended the northeast boundary of the preserve to the Big Papillion Creek. Plans are currently underway that will restore Glacier Creek and create wetlands along this corridor.


Phase II:

Presently we are seeking financial support to acquire land to the north and west of Allwine Prairie with the goal being to incorporate the entire Glacier Creek watershed within the preserve boundaries. Phase II is expected to extend over several years with the North Viewshed tract our first objective, the West Watershed our second objective, and the Heritage tract the last acquisition.




Benefits of the Glacier Creek Project Land Expansion Include:

  • At something over 500 acres, the preserve would be large enough to (1) support multiple populations of species ensuring their ecological sustainability into the future and (2) support a diversity of inter-related habitats, including many not presently available, maintaining the natural dynamics and integrity of our historic tallgrass prairie heritage.
  • Securing the entire watershed ensures a prairie landscape view-shed without the visible presence of adjacent developments so that visitors can see a prairie landscape much like that seen by those first traveling through the region.
  • Manageing an entire watershed, the Glacier Creek Prairie would avoid adverse effects of runoff from adjacent developments onto the preserve, runoff that could contain chemicals, silt, and debris that could adversely affect the plants and animals of the preserve.
  • Securing an entire watershed, from hilltop to hilltop, would minimize light and noise pollution.
  • Securing the surrounding hills would facilitate both fire control and smoke management during prescribed burns.
  • Containing the entire watershed, the preserve would protect the high-quality of Glacier Creek from off-site pollution of its water. Glacier Creek is a small spring-fed tributary of the Big Papillion that originates from springs on the present preserve.
  • Securing the entire watershed, adverse effects of roads on vegetation, wildlife, hydrology, and the environment could be avoided.

Overall Benefits of the Glacier Creek Preserve to the Region
  • Creates a large, undivided green space in an expanding Omaha
  • Provides a significant local educational resource in support of environmental education
  • Maintain ecological sustainability of a diverse, regional resource representing our natural heritage
  • Maintain viable habitat for native prairie and associated aquatic biota
  • Complements regional habitat diversity provided by Fontenelle forest and Neale Woods
  • Increases wetland and stream habitats in an area where these habitats are rapidly being lost as development expands
  • Generally, benefits to water quality and flood control by reducing runoff and retaining water on-site during high rainfall events
  • Provides a model for preserving environmental resources within urban development.