Mountain-Prairie Region  Partners for Fish & Wildlife
Introduction and General Description

Wetland restoration in York County

Nearly 1,000 landowners in Nebraska have joined with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through its Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to restore fish and wildlife habitat on their lands. Through the Partners Program, the Service provides technical and financial assistance to help farmers and ranchers realize their goal of making their land a better place for fish and wildlife while sustaining profitable farming and ranching.

map of Nebraska showing project locations

The Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program was first implemented in Nebraska in 1991 and has been growing ever since. Since the early 1990's, approximately 1,000 projects have been accomplished, resulting in a substantial amount of habitat restored for Federal trust species (i.e., migratory birds and threatened and endangered species).

Nebraska is located in the heart of the central Great Plains, and its wildlife resources are highly diverse and very dynamic. The Partners Program works with farmers and ranchers to restore wetlands, stream and river corridors, prairies, grasslands, and other important fish and wildlife habitat.

Technical Assistance

In Nebraska, the predominant wetland restoration and enhancement techniques involve restoring the natural hydrology through the blocking of drains, breaking tiles, filling in concentration pits, removing sediment, installing grass buffers, installing fences along stream corridors, and addressing problems throughout the watershed. Wetland enhancement activities include working with the landowners to better manage the wetland through the use of grazing, haying, discing, and burning.

Upland and riparian areas are restored and enhanced through the installation of cross fencing, providing alternative sources of water, and the development of grassland/grazing management plans. Prairie restoration along the central Platte River involves the conversion of cropland to a high diversity mixture (e.g., 100 to 200 species) of local harvested native grasses and forbs.


The Partners Program in Nebraska identifies priorities based on numerous criteria including:

  • Habitat loss
  • Future threats
  • Habitat functions and values
  • Benefits to federal trust species
  • Land ownership and partners goals and objectives

Nebraska's landscape, and thus its wildlife resources, are very diverse and vary due to their geographic location, hydrology and other physical properties. In Nebraska, the Partners Program focuses its efforts in ecosystems or watersheds where our efforts will accomplish the greatest benefits. A high priority is given to projects located in three major geographic focus areas of international importance to wildlife:  the Rainwater Basin area of south-central Nebraska, the Big Bend reach of the Central Platte River and the Sandhills in north-central Nebraska. Additional important habitat complexes of importance in Nebraska include the Missouri River, Eastern saline wetlands and the North Platte River Valley which contain important habitats for migrating, wintering and breeding fish and wildlife.

The priorities for the Nebraska Partners Program are developed in coordination with our partners including the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, The Nature Conservancy, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Sandhills Task Force, Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Ducks Unlimited and numerous other groups and organizations. The overall priority of the Nebraska Partners Program is to continue to develop successful partnerships with private landowners and other agencies and organizations to improve habitat on private land through Nebraska.

Our target species include the whooping crane, sandhill crane, lease tern, piping plover, waterfowl, shorebirds, grassland nesting birds and native fish and mussels.


The long-term goals of the Nebraska Partners Program are to protect and restore Federal trust species habitats on private lands and to contribute to the conservation of biological diversity through the careful selection, design and implementation of restoration projects.