Grassland Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Copyright © 2020 University of Nebraska


A red and white checkered water tower stands atop the hills on Lincoln’s northwest fringe. The tower sustains water pressure and is a waypoint finder for air traffic approaching the Lincoln airfield. In addition to these services, the tower’s checker pattern can symbolize the surrounding patchwork of native unplowed tallgrass prairie that comprises the Nine-Mile Prairie (NMP) Environs. At the core is NMP, a 230-acre public property full of tallgrass prairie biodiversity and Nebraska history. An area surrounding NMP, referred to as the “Environs” in the context of this strategic planning document, is almost entirely grassland or agricultural cropland. The story of NMP Environs includes Nebraska history, diverse and compatible land uses, biodiversity preservation and tallgrass prairie protection. NMP’s future lies not only within the property boundary but equally or of greater importance is the management of the environs around the prairie with compatible land use.

The Nine-Mile Prairie Environs Master Plan was initiated by the University of Nebraska Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ (IANR) Center for Grassland Studies. To pool resources and ideas, the IANR Vice Chancellor appointed an Advisory Council for Nine-Mile Prairie which includes representatives of the surrounding landowners (public and private), UNL, City of Lincoln, Lincoln Airport Authority, Lower Platte South Natural Resources District, and Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). Funding for the project was provided through the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The following individuals served on the Advisory Council and provided oversight for the project and review of the planning document: Dr. David Wedin - UNL Center for Grassland Studies; Dr. Steve Waller - Former Interim Director of Grassland Studies; Dr. Walter Schacht - Interim Director of Grassland Studies; Robert McNally - Lincoln Airport Authority; Nicole Fleck-Tooze - City of Lincoln Parks & Recreation; Dan Schulz - Lower Platte South NRD; Neil Dominy - NRCS; Michael Forsberg - Platte Basin Timelapse/UNL; Bill Oberg - Private Property Owner.