Visiting Dalbey Prairie

Please protect this research and natural area by observing the following rules: no hunting or shooting; pedestrian traffic only (no horses or mountain bikes); no motorized vehicles without written permission; no unauthorized collection of wildlife or plants; do not disturb research flags, traps, or equipment; no camping or campfires; no smoking or fireworks.

Overview

In April 2020, the Halleck Farm and 500 acres of the adjacent Dalbey Property were sold by the University of Nebraska. The remaining 135 acres of the Dalbey Property were established as Dalbey Prairie under the management of UNL’s Center for Grassland Studies. Dalbey Prairie will support UNL’s mission of research, teaching and outreach and with a theme of grassland conservation in working agricultural landscapes.

These changes for Dalbey Prairie were the result of five years’ efforts to honor the intentions of the Dalbey Family, which donated the property to the University of Nebraska in 1944, to conserve intact unplowed prairie, and to work with private groups and state agency partners promoting conservation in the Southeast Prairies Biologically Unique Landscape(BUL). In the end, a conservation easement with the Nebraska Land Trust was placed on 500 acres of Dalbey Prairie before it was sold in April 2020. This will guarantee that the land is never plowed, subdivided, or developed. It will remain productive, private rangeland contributing to the local economy and local tax base.

The remaining 135-acre tract was kept by UNL because it was the property’s best quality prairie with a high diversity of native prairie plants and low numbers of invasive plants. Although the 90-acre hay meadow within the 135 acres was not hayed in 2020, the long-term management and research at the property will continue to integrate haying as a management tool. In fact, prairie biodiversity in the hay meadow was well preserved over the last 75 years precisely because this was a well-managed hay meadow. The meadow was not hayed in 2020 to leave sufficient fuel to have a prescribed fire at the site in April 2021. The fire removed the abundant, although small, encroaching trees and discouraged non-native cool-season grasses. A fire break was mowed (hayed) around the burn unit in fall 2020.

During the summer of 2020, a new fence, gate, and signage were installed at Dalbey Prairie. Beatrice contacts with gate keys include Sam Cowan (NGPC, Neighbor) and Kent Pfeiffer (Northern Prairie Land Trust / NGPC).

dalbey prairie on google earth
Dalbey Prairie Stakeholder Advisory Committee (July 2021)
Name Position Location
Walter Schacht Interim Director, Center for Grassland Studies, UNL Lincoln, NE
David Wedin School of Natural Resources, UNL Lincoln, NE
Sam & Vicky Cowan Neighbors Beatrice, NE
Nathan Mueller Extension Educator, UNL Wilber, NE
Dave Clabaugh Lower Big Blue NRD Beatrice, NE
Kent Pfeiffer NGPC Beatrice, NE
Mark Goes SECC Beatrice, NE
Justin Linder NRCS/USDA Pawnee City, NE
Dennis Hippin Neighbor Virginia, NE

Dalbey Prairie Location

Address: 34500 South 162nd Road, Virginia, NE 68458
Coordinates: 40.18149, -96.50030
Phone: 402-472-4101
Fax: 402-472-4104
Email: grassland@unl.edu