U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Division of Refuge Planning
Mountain-Prairie Region

Completed Plan Contacts

The Service completed this plan
in 2011.




Rainwater Basin Wetland
Management District

73746 V Road
Funk, Nebraska


Rainwater Basin Wetland
Management District

P.O. Box 8
Funk, Nebraska 68940


308 / 263 3000




Land Protection Plan

Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District Expansion



The Service will expand protection of the Rainwater Basin in south-central Nebraska. This unique and highly diverse area is internationally known for its spectacular bird migrations.

The Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District was established nearly 50 years ago to support large concentrations of birds in the central flyway, especially during spring migration.

  • Established in 1963.
  • Acquisition goal of 24,000 acres for protection. Acquisition to date—22,023 acres.
  • Protection of an additional 4,505 acres donated by or obtained from other agencies, primarily the Farmers Home Administration.

We will increase land protection in the Rainwater Basin with an expansion of the district. The Service will acquire an interest in private lands from willing sellers only.

  • Increased acquisition goal (from 24,000) to 38,177 acres.
  • Acquire interest in about 5,000 acres through perpetual conservation easements.
  • Acquire fee-title ownership of about 9,000 acres.

Decades ago, the landscape was quite different than today, and the conversion of the area’s wetlands has occurred more rapidly than anticipated. Many of the wetlands and nearly all of the pastureland are gone.

Irrigation technology has changed the area from a landscape of diverse cropland, small fields, pastures, and wetland to a landscape of intensively farmed corn and soybean fields.

Image of the plan cover with a photo of pintail ducks (3 drakes and 1 hen) flying.

Plan cover with pintail ducks. © Mike Vesey

Conservation easement contracts will specify perpetual protection of habitat for trust species and limits on residential, industrial, and commercial development.

Contracts will prohibit alteration of the natural topography, conversion of native grassland to cropland, drainage of wetland, and establishment of game farms.

Contracts will not restrict grazing on easement land.

Easement land will remain in private ownership. Therefore, property tax and invasive plant control remain the responsibility of the landowner, who also retains control of public access to the land.

For information about management of the district, refer to the comprehensive conservation plan for the Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District.


Land protection plan (LPP)
LPP 2011 (12 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents (PDF)
Chapter 1, Introduction and Project Description (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 2, Area Description and Resources (3 MB PDF)
Chapter 3, Threats to and Status of the Resources (2 MB PDF)
Chapter 4, Project Implementation (3 MB PDF)
Appendices (6 MB PDF)

Draft environmental assessment (EA) and draft LPP
Draft EA and LPP 2011 (9 MB PDF)

By section, for faster download:
Contents (PDF)
Draft EA (1 MB PDF)
Draft EA Appendix (1 MB PDF)
Draft LPP (1 MB PDF)

Planning process documents
News release May 31, 2011
News release December 27, 2010
Fact sheet (1 MB PDF)