Frank Shoemaker Marsh
The Frank Shoemaker Marsh was purchased in 2003. The site is 160 acres of land containing nearly 50 acres of eastern saline wetlands. The marsh provides a habitat for a variety of wetland plants and wildlife. Saline plants found on this site include the state endangered saltwort plant.
When the City purchased the property it was a primitive, highly degraded complex with no designated trails. Shortly after the purchase of the marsh, the City hired a consultant and began putting together a restoration team that included representatives from each full-share partners of the Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership as well as individuals from other state and federal agencies. The restoration plan and design was completed in 2006. Wetland construction began in September of 2006 and was completed in April of 2007.
The primary goals of the restoration project included enhancing and restoring degraded wetland systems, preventing further stream degradation, maintaining known wildlife habitats (specifically those of the Salt Creek tiger beetle), and complementing the restored wetland systems with native upland plant species. The plan included: sediment removal from wetland basins, reconstruction of existing berms and waterways to allow for better wetland functioning, installation of three in stream grade controls (called gabions) to maintain the stream grade and reduce erosion, creation of mud flats along the stream as Salt Creek tiger beetle habitat, removal of trees and shrubs from prairie areas, removal of invasive species, and replanting of prairie areas with a high diversity prairie seed mix. Five water level control structures were also installed, allowing the operator to control water levels between the three primary wetland basins that comprise the marsh.
The response by saline plants and native wildlife species appears to have been very positive. Numerous species of shorebirds, waterfowl, waders, and grassland birds returned to the newly reconstructed habitat, including several species that had been absent prior to the restoration. Endangered species have been noted and appear to be reproducing on the created mudflats.
The City of Lincoln has also encouraged nature-based recreational uses of the marsh and planned for better public access in its restoration project. A trail winding through portions of the site, a handicapped accessible observation pier overlooking the greater marsh area, a wildlife-viewing pier, and a bridge over Little Salt Creek allow visitors to enjoy the beauty of the marsh and its wildlife up close and personal. The site has signage, which indicates its designation as an Audubon Important Bird Area, discusses Frank Shoemaker's life, the importance of the eastern saline wetlands, and acknowledges the partners' efforts.