Dave and Denise Manary of North Platte, Nebraska

ManaryDave and Denise Manary operate a ranch 10 miles northwest of North Platte. Ranching is not their primary business, as Dave has been a dentist since 1971, practicing in North Platte for 21 years. Denise is a Certified Dental Technician with a bachelor’s degree in nutrition, and has worked in their dental office for the past 18 years. Dave’s grandparents ranched near where Dave and Denise now live, and a portion of that ranch now belongs to Dave and Denise. When Dave was a youngster visiting his grandparents ranch, he frequently admired the nearby ranch of Fred and Nellie Jackson. The Jackson property was especially appealing to Dave because of the numerous trees and the six acre spring fed pond. The pond is the headwaters of the White Horse Creek. As a young man, Dave hoped to someday own the Jackson place, a goal he never forgot.

Dave and Denise bought the Jackson’s original home and quarter section from the heirs of Fred and Nellie, completing the transaction in the winter of 1984. Fred had died many years earlier. After Fred died and Nellie aged, she was no longer able to maintain the property and it fell into serious decline. The pond had accumulated 50 years of silt and was choked with water lilies. The condition of the water in the pond was suitable only for common carp. The carp were so numerous that there was little oxygen left for game fish and minimal food for water fowl. The numerous carp kept the water constantly muddy.

Many of the trees Dave had admired as a child were now dead and most of the remaining trees were in advanced stages of decline. Access to maintain and upgrade the old trees was blocked by dense dead fallen trees, large piles of discarded cans and bottles, collapsed buildings, numerous junk tractors, cars and parts, collapsed fencing, and a variety of other discarded materials. An old dump truck that Dave and Denise purchased from Les and Eloise Weil was very useful in the removal of the debris on the place.

At first, Dave and Denise wondered if they had acquired a bigger job than they could manage. Their task seemed enormous and they wondered where to start. Dave’s dad, Chub Manary, gave them some excellent advice. He thought the first thing they should do was to plant a new windbreak. This seemed like a good idea and they went to work.

Dave and Denise have planted trees every spring since 1985. That spring they planted 685 Eastern Red Cedars through a Twin Platte Natural Resource District cost-share program. Dave and Denise installed a drip irrigation system for watering the trees. The next year they repeated this with another 347 cedars. In 1987, 525 trees of several varieties were planted and drip irrigated through the Twin Platte Natural Resources District cost-share program. In 1996 another 1,069 trees were planted through the Twin Platte Natural Resources District program and the U.S. Forest Service Stewardship Incentive Program. Dave and Denise also had 8,200 feet of water conservation mulch installed on the trees. Over the years they have planted 4,223 trees and shrubs. They have planted a large variety of species, but cedars, junipers, honeylocusts, and cottonwoods have been the most successful. Numerous berry producing shrubs have also thrived.

Dave and Denise have had a high rate of tree and shrub survival. They attribute this to several key factors including, irrigation, water conservation mulch, pest and disease control, species selection, regular replanting, timely and correct pruning, and fencing that excludes livestock. Dave and Denise have made their tree and shrub program a high priority and devote considerable time and effort to it each year.

Dave and Denise have completed several other conservation and wildlife habitat projects. The six acre pond was dredged and the existing dam was restored. A second dam was constructed creating a water fowl pond of about three acres. All work was completed with the appropriate permits from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the State of Nebraska. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service assisted in the construction of the second dam, and provided Rotenon to remove the carp from the entire White Horse Creek head waters. The State of Nebraska Game and Parks Commission assisted by providing manpower, technical assistance, and many of the replacement fish and frogs. Dave and Denise restored the old dam and dredged the pond at their own expense, doing most of the dredging and restoration labor themselves. They also purchased many of the fish.

The resulting condition of the water is much improved for wildlife. The water is now deeper and extremely clear, encouraging aquatic plant growth which provides oxygen for the fish and frogs, and provides food for innumerable ducks and other waterfowl. Dave and Denise fenced about 10 acres surrounding the old pond to prevent grazing and to create more wildlife habitat. They have also fenced an additional 30 acres of pasture and marsh as part of the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program. (WHIP)

Dave and Denise would like to express their gratitude for the valued help they have received. Dave’s parents, Chub and Tressa Manary have assisted in every possible way. Without their help, much of what Dave and Denise accomplished would not have been possible. Denise’s parents, Dave and Delores Kaufman, lived in Lincoln but they also helped in as many ways as they could. Denise’s father died in July 1998. Dave and Denise consider themselves extremely fortunate to have such supportive parents. Denise’s brother, David Kaufman, also contributed some time and effort.

Dave and Denise commented that the people employed by the Twin Platte Natural Resources District have been very helpful in all aspects of establishing the new trees. They say that they would not have planted nearly so many trees without the help of the Twin Platte Natural Resources District. Dave and Denise report that the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission have repeatedly provided valuable guidance and assistance and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Forest Service have also been very helpful.

Dave and Denise want to thank their many loyal dental patients. Their patronage over the years has made it possible for Dave and Denise to accomplish many of their goals. The hard working and loyal office staff employed by Dave and Denise have made it possible for them to have a successful practice.

Meghan Manary, Dave and Denise’s daughter, was born on January 26, 1997. Dave and Denise planted 1,069 trees and shrubs after they found out they were expecting Meghan. They want to thank Meghan for the enthusiasm and hope for the future that she gives them.

A tree is a precious gift from God. The Manary’s have greatly enjoyed nurturing these special little gifts that have grown into something so beautiful and beneficial.

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