Arbor Day Foundation joins four partners in Missouri River cottonwood planting

Cottonwood trees are returning to the bank of the Missouri River.

Last week, a group of Nebraska City employees of the Arbor Day Foundation joined Nature Conservancy staff to plant 1,500 cottonwood seedlings along the river in southeast Nebraska, just north of Nebraska City. The two organizations are aided by the U.S. Forest Service and Nebraska Forest Service.

Lincoln-based Foundation employees participated in a similar planting earlier in the year.

Tyler Janke of the Nature Conservancy says cottonwoods were chosen because they are “tough” and grow quickly, even in the face of flooding.

“In a sense, cottonwoods are a pioneer species,” he said.

Cottonwoods are so resilient that they “essentially create their own microclimate,” Janke continued, “and they represent the beginnings of the forest community.”

And that’s exactly what we’re looking for – a chance to reforest and renew the ecosystem along the Missouri River, both in Nebraska and further downstream if we can. The new cottonwoods will make the area more sustainable and better able to withstand future flooding.

You can see the planting for yourself in this short video. Credit is due to Amy Stouffer, web content manager and e-communication specialist with the Foundation in Nebraska City, for preparing the footage and photographs.

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