Spotted Tail Complex
The Spotted Tail Complex is located on the north side of the North Platte River between Mitchell and Morrill, Nebraska. It encompasses approximately 1,200 acres of riparian river frontage, wet meadows, grasslands and farm land. It is bounded on the east by Dry Spotted Tail Creek, on the north by the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railroad and two private properties, on the south by the North Platte River and on the west by the Bowen Arrow Ranch. From the time of irrigation development until 1958, much of the area served as a means for returning irrigation water down Tooey’s spill from Pathfinder and Tri-State Irrigation Projects and Canals back to the North Platte River. This return water was channeled under the Enterprise Canal and allowed to find its way over the meadow and back to the North Platte River. In 1958, Tooey’s Spill was ditched directly to the river, thus drying up much of the marsh. Many obligate wetland plants can still be found on the channels previously used to return water to the river. Gentian still blooms profusely on the wet meadow, and Nebraska sedge can still be found. Red tail hawks nest in old growth cottonwood trees, and snipes can be seen and heard in the wet meadow areas. Meadowlarks nest in the meadow, and various species of ducks nest on the remnants of the wetland. White tailed deer can be found along old channels of the river. Killdeer nest on the sandbars, and many other birds use the area to nest and feed. Russian olive plants are being removed from the old channels, fence lines, borders and wet meadow area. Salt cedar is being controlled along the sandbars and old river channels. Canada thistle has proven to be difficult to control. Cleanup has taken place to remove agricultural equipment and items left at various sites.