The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in cooperation with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission (NGPC) plan to construct by contract a new concrete boat ramp on Watts Lake at the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in Cherry County.
The access road to the boat launch will be closed starting June 9th for this construction. The existing rock boat ramp will be replaced with a new 60 foot concrete ramp. A concrete walkway will be installed to provide for handicap access from the current parking pad to a dock. A new 60 foot steel dock was purchased last year.
The fish community has deteriorated in Watts Lake and plans are to lower the lake level and conduct a total fish renovation this coming fall using rotenone, fish toxicant. In addition, modifications are in the final design and planning stages for the water control structure. The lake will be restocked with game fish following the renovation.
A public meeting will be scheduled in Valentine soon to provide information about an upcoming project on the refuge. Raised earthen roadways and berms, channel excavations, modifications to water control structures and the installation new carp control barriers are being planned for other lakes connected on the refuge.
These Watts Lake boat ramp improvements will be made possible by USFWS dollars and NGPC game cash funding through the purchase of Nebraska fishing permits.
If you have questions, you can call the refuge at 402-376-1889 or 402-376-3789.
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The 72,000 acre Valentine National Wildlife Refuge lies in the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills, a vast area of grass blanketed sand dunes, which flow across north-central Nebraska. Lakes and marshes in the valleys and prairie grasses in the hills and meadows provide habitat for many kinds of wildlife like the prairie chicken.