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T.L. Davis Prairie.

History and Description
T.L. Davis Prairie is a 25-acre preserve that was donated to the Biology Department in Spring 2005, and is named after the donor's grandfather, Thomas L. Davis.  T.L. Davis Prairie is a significant addition to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Department of Biology in that it expands our existing tallgrass prairie preserve (Allwine Prairie) to include additional historic plant communities. The main area consists of upland loess bluff prairie remnant and oak woodland slopes.  Historically, the slopes consisted of an oak savanna system, as evidenced by large, open-grown bur oak trees.  However, due to fire suppression, the slopes and upland became overgrown with Eastern red cedar, elm, rough-leaved dogwood, smooth sumac and other woody species.  The preserve also includes access to the Elkhorn River.

Purpose
T.L. Davis Prairie will be restored as a preserve for native plants and animals and will be used both for educating students of all ages about prairies and savanna ecosystems and for conducting research.

Management
Restoration efforts were initiated during Summer 2005, and consisted primarily of Eastern red cedar, dogwood and other tree removal along on the upper-most prairie bluffs of the preserve.  Future management plans include continuation of tree removal by cutting and using prescribed burning to restore the historic fire regime.

 

T.L. Davis Prairie 1941

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aerial photos of T.L. Davis Prairie from 1941 and 2003 show tree encroachment, most likely resulting from years of fire suppression. Lighter-colored areas in the 1941 photo are prairie habitat and darker areas are trees. Little exposed prairie remained in 2003. Restoration efforts will attempt to expand prairie habitat.

Flora and Fauna
The preserve hosts a variety of different ecosystem habitats, and thus provides 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, round-headed bush clover, and many others. Woodland/savanna species currently include bur oak trees, columbine, tall bellflower, white vervain and slender wild rye. Fish surveys conducted on the Elkhorn River access area indicate the presence of many native fish species. A terrestrial faunal list will be constructed in the future.

Species lists are available at the following links:

T.L. Davis Prairie Flora List

T.L. Davis Prairie Fishes of the Lower Elkhorn River List

Use of T.L. Davis Prairie
Like Allwine Prairie Preserve, we encourage the use of T.L. Davis Prairie for research projects, educational activities, and visitations to the extent that such use does not affect the long-term value of the Preserve as an ecological research site.  Hunting and collection of plants, animals, or other material are not permitted except when approved for research or classroom activities by the director or manager of the Preserve.  Research materials should not be disturbed or removed from the site (marked with colored tape or flagging). 

Please keep in mind that parking is limited at T.L. Davis Prairie.  A small parking lot currently exists, but can hold only approximately five cars.  Access to the Preserve is limited to foot traffic only.  Individuals or groups wishing to utilize T.L. Davis Prairie should make arrangements by contacting the Preserve Manager prior to visiting. 

Location
T.L. Davis Prairie is located at the end of Pine Ridge Road, which is east of the Elkhorn River and 245th Street and south of Q Street.  For more detailed directions or for more information, please contact the Preserve Manager .

 

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