River otter

Animals like the river otter were impacted during March's blizzard and flooding.

Nebraska’s wildlife seems to have fared well overall in the wake of March’s blizzard and flooding.

While some animals likely died, some new habitat to benefit wildlife has been created. The full impact of the blizzard and flood, in many cases, won’t be known for some time.

A check of some species:

Upland game — There likely were not many upland game bird deaths because of the flooding, which occurred before nesting season. These birds are mobile and likely fled the rising water. It is too early to determine what nesting impacts there may be on pheasants and quail but brood surveys and whistle counts, in conjunction with the Rural Mail Carrier Survey should provide a better picture on the impact of this winter and flooding. The April RMCS appeared to indicate that this winter may not have been as hard on pheasants and turkey as initially thought. In addition, biologist still are finding prairie grouse in all their traditional mating areas, but it appears the peak breeding activity may be slightly behind schedule compared to average years.

Waterfowl — It is too soon to know if the blizzard hurt Canada goose nesting, but the precipitation should provide good nesting conditions through May. Flooding likely didn’t impact waterfowl negatively, but instead created habitat for foraging spring migrators.

Furbearers and carnivores — Some semiaquatic furbearers, such as mink, muskrat, beaver and river otters, may have drowned or been killed when dens were blocked or destroyed. Beaver dams and lodges likely were blown out by floodwater and debris. The long-term outlook may be good, as surge flooding creates new channels, sloughs and backwaters that will provide new habitat.

Nongame birds — In general, floods likely are beneficial to ecosystems and species long term. The March blizzard and flooding produced a tremendous amount of wetland habitat, which would benefit millions of migratory birds. Some birds, especially some early-arriving insectivores, likely died in the blizzard, but most cold-sensitive species do not arrive until the latter part of April.

Big game — There have been dead deer observed after the blizzard; diet, malnutrition and disease seemed to contribute to the loss. However, good numbers of deer still are being seen in many areas. No losses of bighorn sheep, elk, antelope or turkey have been reported.

Other wildlife — While individual animals may have been impacted, most species were likely not affected at the population level. For the most part, flowers were not blooming yet, most migrant species were not in Nebraska, and birds were not nesting during the time of increased precipitation. Some benefits include the increase in connectivity of waterways, scouring of invasive vegetation, and aggregation of sandbars.

Outdoor Expo at Fort Kearny

Learn new skills and discover more about the outdoors at the Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo on May 11.

This free event, designed for people of all ages and experience levels, will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, located just southeast of Kearney. A park entry permit is required of each vehicle entering the park.

With more than 50 activities, demos and presentations, the expo offers a full day of outdoor experiences. Those who attend can try kayaking, fishing, bow fishing, archery, slingshots, crossbows, and spear and tomahawk throwing. Other activities include do-it-yourself backyard games, a gaga pit, air guns, a Dutch oven cooking contest, shooting ranges, a live snake presentation and kids’ turkey gobbling contest. There’s a free hot dog roast from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. while supplies last.

Special guest Sam Larson, a wilderness instructor, author and speaker, will share the story of how he won the survival reality TV challenge “Alone.”

River access still closed

River access for kayaks and canoes remains closed for safety reasons at Platte River State Park, Schramm Park State Recreation Area and Louisville State Recreation Area, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission said.

The lower Platte River along these park areas in Sarpy and Cass counties is experiencing above-normal flows.

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Archery classes for women

Archery classes run by Becoming an Outdoors-Woman begin in May at Platte River State Park.

Classes are May 1, 8 and 15 at 6 p.m. Each $10 class will have a different topic.

In addition, the Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center in Lincoln will host a Ladies’ Lunch and Lessons Beginning Archery program May 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30. These $20 sessions are for beginners.

Visit outdoornebraska.gov/bow for more information or to register.

Calendar

WEDNESDAY

» Beyond Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Archery Class, Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, Platte River State Park, Louisville. Also May 8 and 15.

THURSDAY

» Start of the Cornhusker Trapshoot, Nebraska Trapshooting Association grounds, Doniphan

SATURDAY

» Take Pride in America Day, Verdon State Recreation Area, Verdon

» Hooked for Life, Medicine Creek Reservoir SRA, Trail 3, Cambridge

» Lake Cleanup, Holmes Lake, Lincoln

» Community Fishing Day, Holmes Lake, Lincoln

» Spring Muster, Fort Hartsuff State Historical Park, Burwell

» National Bird Day, Arbor Lodge SHP, Nebraska City

» Living History, Fort Atkinson SHP, Fort Calhoun

» Becoming an Outdoors Family for Hearing Impaired, Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex, Platte River SP, Louisville

To share your trophy picture or calendar item, send it to Outdoor Sports, World-Herald Sports Dept., 1314 Douglas St., Suite 700, Omaha, NE 68102 or email the photo and details to outdoors@owh.com. A daytime or cellphone number must be included.

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