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Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District manages conservation easements on about three dozen tracts of land scattered throughout eastern Nebraska.  Most of them are located within the Rainwater Basin region.  All but three of those tracts were transferred from Farmers Home Administration during the early 1990s.  The owners of the properties at that time were unable to make agriculture sustainable on the low-production lands.  No additional easements were obtained until 2009 when two tracts were purchased from Ducks Unlimited.

The conservation easements are part of the National Refuge System.  The title for each property remains in private ownership.  The conservation easement however, places restrictions on what the land can be used for.  The most common restriction prevents the landowner from developing the land--either by building homes or by farming.  Livestock grazing is allowed on nearly all easements.

Conservation easements can be a good alternative for low farm ground that has poor production or gets flooded frequently.  The tracts obtained from Ducks Unlimited will have the wetlands restored and the upland reseeded to grassland.  Once grasses are established, the land will be sold to a private landowner for agricultural use, primarily grazing and haying.   

Last Updated: Jul 24, 2012
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