(Posted 8/17) The Loup River Prescribed Fire Training Exchange (TREX) provides an annual two-week live-fire training opportunity for professional wildland fire practitioners that benefits native prairie and grassland production on private lands. One of the greatest threats to prairie conservation and livestock production in the Great Plains is the invasion of eastern red cedar, and one of the most effective ways to manage it is with prescribed fire.
Ten landowners cooperated with TREX for the 2017 event. To prepare for prescribed fire they rested their pastures and constructed fire lines. In late March, 51 firefighters from Canada, Indonesia, Mexico, Spain and the United States arrived to carry out the prescribed burns, and were joined by several landowners and their neighbors, which added valuable capacity. In total, 3,000 acres were burned safely and effectively. Reintegration of fire into this landscape is helping control the invasion of eastern red cedar, one of the most prominent threats to prairie conservation and livestock production throughout the Great Plains.
Since the inception of the Loup TREX program in 2009, over 29,000 acres of mixed-grass prairie have been improved. These efforts have enhanced landscape scale habitat for native wildlife, while also improving foraging conditions for area livestock operations. The Loup TREX program has provided a great opportunity to use fire to dovetail meaningful habitat conservation with productive private land agriculture. Project partners have included Lower Loup Natural Resources District, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Nebraska Natural Legacy Project, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, and The Nature Conservancy.over 29,000 acres of native mixed-grass prairie
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