Bow Creek Grazing Lab
Learn the principles and benefits of grazing management systems from certified educator, Ralph Tate. Ralph will discuss basic ideas that will enable attendees to start managing their land for increased production and profits. After lunch, provided on site) visit local farms to see how managed grazing is being used on pastures and farm ground. Pat Steffen has been implementing rotational grazing for 30 years and has seen an increase in land and animal health and farm profits. He will share his experiences and lessons learned along the way. Matt and Susan Kathol recently started grazing multi-species forage crops on irrigated and dryland farm ground. In their second year the plant species have been adjusted to meet the needs of the land and livestock. Visit their farm to see the results of this year’s forage crop and benefits from last year’s forage crop. LCNRD producers and ag professionals providing services within the LCNRD may attend at no cost. Registration fee for those outside the LCNRD is only $20 and included lunch!
The Bow Creek Watershed contains 392,574 acres in portions of Cedar, Dixon, and Knox Counties. A rich history extends back to before the days of Lewis and Clark. Clark’s journal entry on August 26, 1804 mentions Bow Creek, writing, “above the mouth of this creek a Chief of the Maha Nation displeased with the conduct of Black Bird, the main cheif, came to this place and built a town which was called by his name Petite Arc (or Little Bow)...we gathered great quantities of grapes and three types of plumbs, one yellow round, one ovel and one the common wild plumb.”
In 2019, the Lewis & Clark NRD updated their Water Quality Assessment Plan and added Bow Creek as a priority area based on Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy Basin Rotation water quality testing. The 2016 Basin Rotation water quality testing showed elevated levels of sediment, phosphorus, nitrates and E. coli in Bow Creek. Working with FYRA Engineering, models were created to show the potential to decrease nonpoint source pollutants in Bow Creek by increasing the adoption of best management practices (BMPs) in priority Bow Creek sub-watersheds.
Those best management practices include, but are not limited to:
- Nutrient Management
- Cover Crop
- No-till Management
- Land Use Change: CRP or Riparian Buffer Strips
- Grazing Management Plans
- Livestock Exclusion Plans with Alternative Water Sources and Fencing
- Septic System Upgrades
Through grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy, these BMPs are eligible for additional practice implementation and education payments through the Bow Creek Watershed Project. Practices must be part of approved conservation contracts to be eligible. Details for implementation of BMPs will be planned with NRCS technical assistance and Bow Creek programs will then be applied for through the LCNRD office. For more information contact:
Bow Creek Watershed Coordinator
Lewis & Clark NRD Office
608 N Robinson Ave., Hartington, NE 68739