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Great Plains


The Conservation Garden of the Great Plains  

Lauritzen Gardens is a participating institution in the Center for Plant Conservation, a coalition of the nation's leading botanical institutions working to prevent the extinction of America's endangered plants. Our conservation work is focused on the Great Plains region where more than 100 plants are in danger of becoming extinct in their native habitat.  


The work of conserving endangered plants involves research, seed banking, and restoration projects. 


Project Profile: Sandsage Prairie-Clover  

Lauritzen Gardens is engaged in a multi-year research project to document the ecology and conservation needs of sandsage prairie-clover (Dalea cylindriceps), a native wildflower that appears to be in serious decline. Sandsage prairie-clover is rare throughout its range in the western Great Plains and is ranked as a Tier I At-risk Species in Nebraska.  


Jim Locklear, director of conservation at Lauritzen Gardens, has carried out three conservation assessments of sandsage prairie-clover for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. In 2013, he surveyed 22 sites in Nebraska where this species has been observed or collected in the past and found only five small occurrences in four northwest Nebraska counties. In 2014, he conducted a more focused survey in the sandsage prairie region of southwestern Nebraska.  While he did not locate any occurrences in the study region he did discover two large and previously-unknown occurrences in Garden and Keith counties in 2014. Jim will continue research on this rare species in 2015, resulting in the location of four new populations.  


Jim's research reports on sandsage prairie-clover can be viewed at: 



2015 Prairie-Clover Research   

Prairie-Clover Taxonomy & History  


Project Profile: Kimball Grasslands 

The Kimball Grasslands (pictured above) is recognized as a Biologically Unique Landscape by the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project . Located in the southwest part of the Nebraska Panhandle, the Kimball Grasslands hosts a significant number of Nebraska plants of conservation concern.  Most of these are associated with escarpments, bluffs and other rocky habitat.  Director of conservation Jim Locklear conducted a reconnaissance survey of this region during the spring and summer of 2014 to gain a better understanding of the ecology of rock outcrop communities in the Kimball Grasslands and of the associated rare species.    


Jim's survey targeted ten plant species of conservation concern in Nebraska.  He visited localities where these species have been observed in the past, as well as other areas of potential habitat, surveying about 40 different sites in all. Jim made observations on the habitat and ecological associations of these plants, as well as their relative abundance and conservation needs.  He also identified different vegetation types associated with rock outcrop habitat and documented the uniqueness of these communities and their importance to the conservation of biological diversity in Nebraska and the Great Plains. Jim's research report has been circulated by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to conservation biologists, university botanists, and ecologists in Nebraska and the region. 


Jim's research report on the Kimball Grasslands can be viewed at:  


2014 Kimball Grasslands Research  



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