Partnerships and Perseverance Conserve Nebraska Wetlands

Restoration of the Spotted Tail wetlands complex, which will be completed this spring, is a prime example of the importance of partnerships in conservation. Platte River Basin Environments (PRBE), a local conservation group and Ducks Unlimited partner, owns most of this impressive wetland complex, which is located along the North Platte River just west of Mitchell, Nebraska. Conservation work began on the Spotted Tail wetlands over a decade ago, when PRBE members identified this landscape as a priority for acquisition and wetlands restoration. DU engineer Roger Smith developed a plan to restore several hundred acres of seasonal wetlands along the Platte with water diverted from a local spring known as Toohey Spill.

Over the next decade, DU and PRBE diligently worked to complete this ambitious wetland restoration plan. DU secured several grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; acquired land from private landowners; and built and installed water-control structures that will supply water to seasonal wetlands throughout the Spotted Tail complex. When migrating waterfowl return to Nebraska this spring, the birds will find a vast wetland complex that will help them rest and refuel on their return trip to the breeding grounds.