Nebraska experiences a wide range of temperatures and precipitation levels, which can set the stage for such varied and extreme weather events as tornadoes, drought, and blizzards. Just as environmental factors affect today's farmers and ranchers, such factors played a key role in the successes and failures of homesteaders.
The park monitors for nonnative species in the prairie and woodland areas and uses a combination of techniques, including prescribed fire, to manage these areas. The intent is to present the environment seen by early homesteaders and to preserve a diverse mixture of native plants.
As the deep-rooted prairie grasses have been ploughed over to make way for agricultural fields, erosion of topsoil has become an increasingly significant issue, clouding the waters of once-pristine rivers. Fertilizers, some pesticides, road salt, and industrial waste can also affect water quality.
Homestead National Monument partners with Beatrice Middle School to monitor water quality in Cub Creek.
Did You Know?
The Homestead Act of 1862, which gave away 160 acre claims, was repealed in the lower 48 states in 1976. In Alaska, claims could be filed up to 1986! More...