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Rainwater Basin
Wetland Management District

Vast numbers of waterfowl fly above and around a wetland, darkening the sky.  Hundreds of other waterfowl float upon the water at Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District.
P.O. Box 8 - 73746 V Rd.
Funk, NE   68940 - 0008
E-mail: rainwater@fws.gov
Phone Number: 308-263-3000
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Millions of migratory birds use the wetlands found in Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District.
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Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District

The Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District (WMD) staff manages 61 tracts of wetlands, totaling 23,059 acres scattered over more than 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska. Each of the 61 areas, known as waterfowl production areas (WPA), is located in a geographic area known as the Rainwater Basin. The name "Rainwater Basin" originates from the geologic formation of large, wind-blown shallow depressions, which become flooded after rain and snow melt.

WPAs are managed to provide resting stops for millions of migratory water birds. Upland areas are managed for grassland species. WPAs provide excellent recreational opportunities, including hunting, photography, and bird watching.

Getting There . . .
The 61 WPAs in Rainwater Basin WMD are scattered throughout 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska, extending from Gosper County in the west to Seward County in the east. Please contact Rainwater Basin WMD staff for directions to a specific WPA.

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Wildlife and Habitat

Water birds from all along the southern states and coastal areas concentrate in the Rainwater Basin during spring migration.

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Historically, the landscape within Rainwater Basin WMD was part of the northern grasslands of the Great Plains. The large expanse of grassland and scattered wetlands provided food and rest for migratory birds during their spring migration.

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    Recreation and Education Opportunities
Environmental Education
Wildlife Observation
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Management Activities
Rainwater Basin wetlands are most valuable to migratory birds when they are managed in an early successional stage. Each of the WPAs was farmed prior to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's purchase of the properties. Thus, management activities on these WPAs focus on restoring the areas to native grasslands with the highest diversity of grassland and wetland plants possible.

Each year, native seeds are harvested from more than 100 species of native plants and planted on newly acquired properties. About one-fifth of the wetlands are burned annually. Domestic livestock grazing is also used to mimic historic grazing by bison and other native ungulates. The combination of fire and grazing promotes open water areas and provides an abundance of native aquatic food sought after by waterfowl and shorebirds. During drought years, natural runoff is supplemented through pumping water into key WPAs.