National Park Service


Date of this Version



Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR 2011/345 / NPS 368/107296, April 2011: xi,

Published by the United States National Park Service in conjunction with the Kansas Biological Survey, Kansas Applied Remote Sensing Program, and NatureServe

USGS-NPS Vegetation Mapping Program, Homestead National Monument of America

Also available at:

Please cite this publication as:

Kindscher, K., H. Kilroy, J. Delisle, Q. Long, H. Loring, K. Dobbs and J. Drake. 2011. Vegetation mapping and classification of Homestead National Monument of America. Natural Resource Report NPS/HTLN/NRR—2011/345. National Park Service, Fort Collins, Colorado.


United States government work. Public domain material.


Executive Summary

Homestead National Monument (HOME) was created at the to celebrate the significance of the Homestead Act of 1862 which granted 160 acres of free land to claimants and was one of the most significant and enduring events in the westward expansion of the United States. The National Monument encompasses 184 acres in Gage County, west of Beatrice, Nebraska. This unique site also hosts the oldest prairie restoration in the National Park system, and the second-oldest tallgrass prairie restoration known. This park unit also has a small remnant of native tallgrass prairie and remnants of bur-oak forest.

A three-year program was initiated to complete the task of mapping and classifying the vegetation at HOME. The Kansas Biological Survey in conjunction with NatureServe developed a vegetation classification using the National Vegetation Classification System and produced a digital vegetation map. To classify the vegetation, 17 representative plots located throughout the approximately 1,725 acre project area (parks + environs) were sampled during the summer of 2008. Additional data were obtained from vegetation plots sampled by the Inventory & Monitoring program in 2006. Analysis of the plot data by KBS produced six distinct plant associations and alliances and four land-use classes. Two of the communities, encompassing the upland and lowland restored tallgrass prairie area, were unique to HOME. Descriptions and a field key for all plant communities of HOME are included in this report.

Draft maps were printed, field tested, reviewed and revised. Twelve accuracy assessment (AA) data points were collected in 2009 by KBS and used to verify the map’s accuracy.

Homestead National Monument Vegetation Mapping Project

The Homestead National Monument of America (HOME) Vegetation Mapping Project was organized and coordinated by the Kansas Biological Survey (KBS) at the University of Kansas, in cooperation with NatureServe, in accordance with the standards set forth by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – National Park Service (NPS) Vegetation Mapping Program.

The HOME Vegetation Mapping Project was initiated because a unified objective classification, such as outlined in the National Park Service’s Vegetative Mapping Program, can become a valuable aid to the preserve for the use in vegetation management, fire, and monitoring wetlands and wildlife. Since the National Park Service is charged with conserving, protecting, and interpreting the resources of this prairie landscape, an accurate and detailed vegetation map and data layers for a GIS will be very useful for management purposes.

Common to all Vegetation Mapping Program projects, the three major components of the HOME Vegetation Mapping Project are vegetation classification, vegetation mapping, and map accuracy assessment. In this report we discuss each of these fundamental components in detail.