History Nebraska Blog

Marker Monday: The Prairie States Forestry Project


The trees have been removed.

513th Ave, Orchard, Antelope County, Nebraska

View this marker's location 42.357289, -98.24290


Marker Text


The Prairie States Forestry Project was initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1935 to combat the severe wind-caused soil erosion of the Dust Bowl days. From 1935 through 1942, the U.S. Forest Service, working with the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps planted windbreaks throughout the Great Plains. Nearly 220 million seedlings were planted creating 18,600 miles of windbreaks occupying 240,000 acres on 30,000 farms. Nebraskans led this effort planting almost 4,170 miles of windbreaks occupying 51,621 acres on 6,944 farms. The windbreak before you was planted in April, 1935 on the John Schleusener farm and was the first windbreak established under this project in Nebraska.

Today, the growth and vigor of many of the trees has declined due to close spacing, age, and invasion of undesirable, short-lived trees. The Nebraska Forest Service and the Upper Elkhorn Natural Resource District, in cooperation with the Schleusener family, has established two demonstration areas within this windbreak to show methods of improving the condition of the remaining trees and to encourage new growth and establishment of desirable trees. The area closest to the roadway will remain unaltered as a living reminder of the Prairie States Forestry Project and the efforts of Nebraskans to protect our valuable farmland.

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