Ducks Unlimited and its partners may have more than a million dollars to spend on conservation in Nebraska, if the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board confirms its initial grant approval recommendation. Ducks Unlimited staff developed seven of the proposals being considered for funding by the board. Four of the proposals were submitted by DU, and the other three were submitted by partner organizations working closely with DU staff. All seven of the proposals were recommended for full funding.
“This is very exciting news for Ducks Unlimited”, said Steve Donovan, manager of conservation programs. “With these grants, we will have an additional $1.4 million available to deliver a series of habitat conservation projects across Nebraska.”
The grants still require final approval by the NET board in April before DU can begin to implement the projects.
Three of the proposals include funding for a series of projects in the Rainwater Basin, including DU’s Verona property and the Macon Lakes Waterfowl Production Area, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Two are Platte River projects, including over $300,000 to enhance wetland habitat on a series of projects from Fremont to Bridgeport. Another proposal includes over $100,000 to complete several projects on the Loup River. The seventh proposal includes over $80,000 to finish wetland restoration work on the Heald Tract at Ponca State Park, part of the Elk Point Bend Wildlife Management Area along the Missouri River in northeast Nebraska.
Funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust actually comes from lottery proceeds. According to Donovan, these grants will not only provide $1.4 million to DU projects, but will also be used as the required non-federal match to secure future grants through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA), effectively doubling the funds available for wetland conservation work. Donovan encourages DU members to support the Nebraska Lottery.
“We have been very successful at securing grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust,” Donovan said. “In addition, these funds provide the majority of the non-Federal match that we need to secure Federal grants through the NAWCA process.”