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Conservation Strategies


Shallow water wetland with drainage ditch photoThreats

Nebraska’s wetland resources have been greatly reduced since settlement. Historically, Nebraska contained an estimated 2,910,000 acres of wetlands that covered about 6 % of the State. By 1989, approximately 1,005,000 wetland acres or 35% had been lost, and many of the remaining wetlands have been degraded.

Wetland losses primarily occurred as a result of agricultural and urban development and was accomplished primarily by draining, filling, tiling, ditching, digging concentration pits, land leveling, stream degradation, and increasing sedimentation.

While wetlands have been lost throughout Nebraska, we estimate that about 90% of the historic Rainwater Basins, 45% of central Platte River wet meadows, and 36% of the original Sandhills wetlands have been lost.


Conservation Strategies

The objectives of the Partners Program in Nebraska are to:

(a) protect and restore Federal trust species on private lands through cooperative efforts with other governmental agencies and private partnerships;

(b) conserve biological diversity through the careful selection, design, and implementation of restoration projects; and

(c) provide technical assistance to USDA and landowners involved in the implementation of key conservation programs.

Jumbo Valley Fen restoration project photo

Future Needs

Riparian habitat along a Nebraska stream photo

The Partners Program needs to continue to restore/establish wetland, grassland, riverine, and riparian habitat on private land throughout Nebraska. More specifically, the Partners Program in Nebraska has the following future needs:

  • Protect, restore, and enhance 12,500 acres of degraded or destroyed wetlands plus 12,500 acres of associated upland habitat throughout the Rainwater Basin area of south-central Nebraska.
  • Protect and restore approximately 20,000 acres of drained wetlands throughout Nebraska’s Sandhills and enhance the Sandhill wetland-grassland ecosystem.
  • Protect, restore, and enhance approximately 10,000 acres of riverine and wet meadow habitat along the central Platte River for federally listed species and migratory waterbirds and grassland nesting birds.
  • Restore and conserve 10,000 acres of riverine floodplain habitat along the Missouri River for migratory waterbirds and other native fish and wildlife species.
  • Restore and enhance over 5,000 acres of wetland and grassland habitat along the North Platte River Valley.
  • Protect, restore, and enhance over 500 miles of stream/riparian habitat throughout Nebraska.
  • Work with private landowners throughout Nebraska and other partners to improve habitat on their property.

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