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The Nebraska Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (NE PFW Program) first began in 1989. Our mission is to conserve, protect, and enhance fish and wildlife and their habitats on private (non-federal) lands. Technical and financial assistance is provided to landowners who voluntarily restore wetlands and other fish and wildlife habitat on their land. The objective of the Nebraska PFW Program is to work cooperatively with landowners and other partners throughout the State to restore and maintain habitat for Federal trust species. Partners include landowners, other Federal agencies, State and local governments, conservation organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and private individuals.
Although our program covers the entire state, there are eight main focus areas where we conduct the majority of our work, including the Sandhills, the North Platte River, the Central Platte River, Eastern Tallgrass Prairie, the Loess Canyons, and the Rainwater Basins.
The Nebraska Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program is primarily interested in the restoration or enhancement of naturally occurring Rainwater Basin wetlands for the benefit of migratory birds. Most of these wetlands range in size from one acre up to 40 acres. A few are larger than 1,000 acres. Rainwater Basin wetlands are characteristically shallow, with flat bottoms and gently sloping sides. Water depth in each wetland varies with the ideal level being eight inches or less. These wetlands fill with runoff from snowmelt, springtime rains, and intense summer storms. By mid- to late-summer, all but the largest wetlands were usually dry. Smaller temporary and seasonal wetlands are usually dominated by annual moist soil plants while larger semi-permanent wetlands are filled with native plant life like bulrushes, pondweeds and smartweeds. To a landowner in south-central Nebraska, a Rainwater Basin is often referred to as a low spot in the field or an area with little economic value. When landowners can plant a crop, these crops frequently drown out. The NE PFW Program, in conjunction with their partners, focus on finding a win-win solution for both the landowner and wildlife by offering programs that provide landowners with alternatives to farming on areas not conducive to growing crops.
The Rainwater Basin Partners Program does not provide funding for stock or fish pond construction. We can provide technical assistance that can help you improve your existing pond for general wildlife use. If you already have a pond and are interested in stocking it with fish, contact the Nebraska Game and Parks
Do you have an idea, but need a little help to make it work? We can provide informal advice on the design and location of potential projects, or we can assist with the design and funding of projects under a voluntary cooperative agreement with the landowner. Under a short-term conservation agreement, a landowner agrees to maintain the restoration project as specified in the agreement for 10 years. Our agreement is a Wildlife Extension Agreement, which outlines the work to be completed, the partners responsibilities, and the funding sources.
No. You are not required to open up your land to the public. U.S. Fish and Wildlife employees may occasionally access the project area to check on its progress.
If you wish to speak with a private lands biologist regarding a potential wetland or other wildlife habitat project in the Rainwater Basin region, please contact:
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Prescribed burning is used to remove old vegetative growth, release nutrients back to the soil, decrease woody and other invasive and undesirable plant species, increase warm season grasses and forbs, and reduce the amount of organic matter (litter) on the soil surface.