After receiving word that the Fish and Wildlife Service was in the process of cutting trees on the lakes on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, KVSH News reached out to Matt Sprenger, Superintendent at Fort Niobrara. Sprenger stated that there was a plan in place to cut timber on the Valentine refuge. The Fish and Wildlife Service has entered into contract with two contractors to cut primarily cedar trees around the lake edges as well as some of the volunteer trees that have sprouted up on the grassland. A few pines are also marked to fall. Superintendent Sprenger emphasized that there are no plans to cut deciduous trees at this time.
This plan was established to return the grassland to what Fish and Wildlife considered to be historically natural to the sandhills, stating also that because they create protective shelter for predators, the cedars posed a threat to the variety of bird species at Valentine Refuge.
It was emphasized that there is no immediate plan to cut any timber on Fort Niobrara NWR.
Superintendent Sprenger will be our guest to explain the plan in greater detail during our Comment Program on Monday October 23, so tune-in for that program beginning at 10:15.