Over the past few months, we have had very little moisture and the prairie is dry! Fortunately, our first irrigation starts today and will continue for one week. The fields will be wet, but if you stay on the trails there will be good bird watching as the back prairie gets saturated.
Land and ranch work is focusing on fencing and irrigation. In addition to our large herd of horses, we have eleven healthy and happy cows grazing on the prairie that help keep our irrigation ditches free of grass. We hope to have enough moisture and irrigation water available to grow our own hay again this year.
On Earth Day, April 20, students will get the chance to learn more about water use on campus as they assist Tyson with these irrigation efforts.
Have you noticed any large equipment around campus as of late? On April 11, we brought excavators out to assist Tyson in laying 30 feet of pipe to repair a collapsed culvert. Additionally, there is a backhoe on the north prairie being used by The Fountain Mutual Irrigation Company used to line the irrigation ditch with clay.
Looking ahead, keep an eye out in the next several months for a new self-guided interpretive nature trail designed to tell the story of our prairie. It will include plant and animal species, as well as ecological interactions that make our prairie the special place it is. There is also a possible mountain bike trail expansion master plan on the horizon.