Nebraska Game and Parks Commission



Hildebrand, Terri and Steven B. Rolfsmeier. Undated. A Description of the Grassland Communities of the Wildcat Hills Region of Northwestern Nebraska Including Scotts Bluff National Monument and Rare Plant Survey of the Wildcat Hills Region of Northwestern Nebraska, Volume I. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. 98 pp.


This study resulted from a Cooperative Agreement between Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the National Park Service (NPS), with funding provided by the Natural Resource Preservation Program of the NPS. Scotts Bluff National Monument was seeking to characterize the native grassland communities of the Wildcat Hills region in order to develop species composition models for prairie restoration of disturbed lands at the monument. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission needed similar information to refine community classification for the Wildcat Hills region, and to update rare plant species inventories. This report includes a description of the grassland communities and a rare plant survey of the Wildcat Hills region.

Vegetation sampling was performed in the Wildcat Hills region of northwestern Nebraska in 1995 and 1996. Species composition and abundance levels of native grassland communities were determined, and community classification of the region refined. Scotts Bluff National Monument was included in the study area. Pristine regions of the Wildcat Hills were identified and sampled. A pristine condition was defined for an area if: 1) exotic species levels were low to non-existent, 2) anthropogenic impact was minimal or non-existent, 3) past or present overgrazing was not evident, and 4) native species were well-represented. Continuums consisting of 50 meter lines were established with circular plots of ten square meters sampled at ten meter intervals. Soil type was identified for each continuum. Species present, abundance levels, species richness, percentages of unvegetated ground, and landscape features were resolved for each region and soil type sampled. Prairie restoration at Scotts Bluff National Monument has incorporated the result of this study into their efforts.