Ducks Unlimited has helped further Clive Ostenberg’s legacy of improving wildlife habitat in western Nebraska by restoring a wetland that will host thousands of waterfowl a year. As 2007 wound to a close, DU Regional Engineer Mitch Messmer put the finishing touches on the project on property purchased by a conservation organization dedicated to fulfilling Ostenberg’s dream. The group, Platte River Basin Environments, Inc. (PRBE) contracted with DU to restore the property’s wetlands so it will once again draw ducks and other waterfowl to the land.
The project on the Diamond Bit property, near Scottsbluff, will provide approximately 35 acres of seasonal wetland habitat within a mile of the Platte River. In fact, just days after the project was completed, the wetland was already filling with water from a nearby spring. Restoring such a large marsh in close proximity to the Platte River will provide excellent waterfowl habitat for years to come.
The real story behind the restoration of the Diamond Bit property started in the 1930’s, when a teenager named Clive Ostenberg developed a life-long passion for hunting and wild places along the Platte River and in the nearby Wildcat Hills. Later in life, Ostenberg helped establish the first Ducks Unlimited chapter in western Nebraska. Obsessed with hunting and habitat conservation, Ostenberg was also a successful businessman in the Scottsbluff community. Shortly before his death in 1989, Ostenberg directed that $1.5 million of his estate be dedicated towards wildlife habitat projects in western Nebraska. A group of his closest friends, including DU volunteers Hod Kosman and Bruce Rolls, formed PRBE to fulfill Clive’s dream of protecting important wildlife habitats and natural areas for future generations to enjoy. PRBE has acquired and protected many properties, working closely with other conservation agencies and organizations, including DU.
Clive Ostenberg decided to leave his wealth where he left his heart. Today, DU has restored another 35 acres of wetlands, thanks to his generosity and passion for waterfowl. Clive’s legacy lives on.