Improvements in the environmental process are often accomplished due to research projects which support environmental initiatives within NDOR.
Federal TransportationResearch Funds, first used in 2002,are being utilized currently for several research projects.
This research project is being conducted by UNL and may help NDOR gain more knowledge about this endangered species’ life historyand survival rates. The blowout penstemon is found primarily in the Nebraska Sandhills, and is restricted to blowouts or depressions created in the sand by wind erosion. At an NDOR property near Bassett, Nebraska, UNL researchers are providing guidance at a site that was graded, sand exposed and 600 blowout penstemon seedlings planted. Additional seedlings will be planted in 2006 to be monitored byUNL students and staff. Research may provide NDOR with mitigation options if unavoidable impacts affect an existing blowout penstemon population.
Western Prairie Fringed Orchids
This threatened flower, found in the eastern two-thirds of Nebraska, from the Missouri River in the east to Cherry and Keith counties in the west, was a factor in the US-83 project between Thedford and Valentine. Research, with permission from the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, is underway on the refuge by Marge From, Henry Doorly Zoo Micro Propagator/Horticulturist. Her research involves the germination of seedlings, evaluating soil samples and gathering other pertinent data. A significant factor from this research is that Marge From’s laboratory is one of the only laboratories in the world able to grow these plants from seed.
Through a recent agreement with UNL, research is being conducted to evaluate the most effective erosion control methods for roadway backslopes and foreslopes. An agreement between NDOR and the University of Texas is also supporting research on erosion control products and methods for use in our program.