Nebraska Academy of Sciences


Date of this Version



1996. Transactions of the Nebraska Academy of Sciences, 23: 9-21. Copyright © 1996 Steinauer, Rolfsmeier and Hardy.


The Sandhills of north-central Nebraska and south-central South Dakota are the largest sand-dune area in the Western Hemisphere. In 1991 and 1992, an inventory of Sandhills fens in Cherry County, Nebraska, documented 39 fens ranging in size from 4 to 280 ha. The majority of these sites had been ditched and were used as hay meadows. In 1996, a detailed floristic survey of six fens in Cherry County documented 191 species and one subspecies of vascular plants, including 21 species considered rare in Nebraska. Fifteen Sandhills fen indicator species were identified. The Sandhills populations of the indicator species are disjunct from their primary ranges to the north and east of the Great Plains suggesting these populations to be glacial relicts.

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