N P Dodge Memorial Park, NE

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Jess Riddle
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N P Dodge Memorial Park, NE

Post by Jess Riddle » Sun Nov 03, 2013 6:54 pm

NTS,

I recently stopped to follow up on a couple of trees I saw during field work this summer at N P Dodge Memorial Park. The park, operated by the city of Omaha, lies in the Missouri River floodplain, and has been developed with open lawns, a campground, and a marina.

The park also contains a couple tracts of native forest. Part of one tract was bulldozed, bare ground in 1983, but now supports a dense cottonwood stand, with some trees over 100’ tall. Mixed in with those cottonwoods are a few peachleaf willows that have been forced to grow tall by the competition. The tallest I could find was a new height record at 4’8” x 88.8’.
IMG_3942.JPG
The other tree I wanted to return to was the largest cottonwood I saw in visiting over two dozen sites along the Missouri River this summer. The tree stands in a diverse patch of older forest near the bluffs. Common upland species like hackberry and basswood had colonized this stand during the period following dam construction and flow regulation. However, those upland species were all killed by a 2011 flood lasting over two months. The cottonwood turned out to be a nice 15’10” x 120.6’.
Flood line on cottonwood
Flood line on cottonwood
15'10" cbh x 120.6' tall cottonwood in center
15'10" cbh x 120.6' tall cottonwood in center
A forest of pokeweed grows underneath the forest canopy
A forest of pokeweed grows underneath the forest canopy
Jess

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