Nebraska, May 24, 2007
–The Rainwater Basin Habitat Conservation Project, Phase II, a joint project of Pheasants Forever (PF) and Ducks Unlimited (DU), has received a $1 million grant through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA). The project will restore or enhance over 8,500 acres of wetland and grassland habitat in the Rainwater Basin to benefit the millions of waterfowl, other migratory birds, pheasants and other wildlife that call the basin home.
NAWCA grants require applicants to match each federal dollar with at least one dollar from a non-federal source, so the project has also secured an additional $1 million through matching funds provided by PF, DU and other partners. The more than $2 million in grant and match will help benefit wildlife in Adams, Butler, Clay, Fillmore, Franklin, Gosper, Hall, Hamilton, Kearney, Nuckolls, Phelps, Polk, Saline, Seward, Thayer and York Counties.
NAWCA is a federal grants program that funds wetland habitat conservation projects throughout North America. NAWCA projects protect, restore and enhance habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife that depend upon wetlands. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Rainwater Basin has been identified by the North American Waterfowl Management Plan as a waterfowl habitat of major concern, having lost approximately 90 percent of its original wetland habitat.
"Pheasants Forever is pleased to see the Rainwater Basin region of Nebraska recognized as an area of conservation importance," said Pete Berthelsen, PF senior field coordinator. "Many hunters and landowners are equally as passionate about pheasants and waterfowl, and two conservation powerhouses - Pheasants Forever and Ducks Unlimited – have the potential and the power to improve the area's wildlife habitat."
"Ducks Unlimited is very excited to be working with Pheasants Forever and several other partners involved in this effort," said Steve Donovan, DU’s manager of conservation programs for Nebraska. "The restoration and enhancement of wetlands, in association with native grasslands, will provide significant benefits to waterfowl, upland game birds and many other species of wildlife."
"This project is an excellent example of conservation organizations and agencies working cooperatively to accomplish habitat restoration," according to Steve Moran, coordinator of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture. In addition to PF and DU, the project includes the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Phelps County, numerous private landowners and four natural resource districts.