Nebraska is part of the Central Flyway and provides important migration and wintering habitat for waterfowl produced in the Prairie Pothole Region and other important waterfowl breeding habitats in North America. The Rainwater Basin and Platte River regions of Nebraska provide critical migration habitat to millions of waterfowl, shorebirds and other migratory birds that depend on these shallow wetland habitats to "rest and refuel" prior to continuing their northward migration each spring. These two regions are perhaps the most important migration habitat in the entire Central Flyway. Other important waterfowl areas in Nebraska include the Sandhills and the Missouri River floodplain.
While most waterfowl migrate to wintering habitats further south each fall, large numbers of mallards and Canada geese do remain in Nebraska during the winter, particularly along the Platte River. DU's highest priority in Nebraska is to protect and restore critical migration habitat in the Rainwater Basin and along the Platte River and is part of the Heartland Heritage and Habitat Initiative. It is important that waterfowl arrive in their northern breeding habitats in the Prairie Pothole region in good physical condition, ready to undergo the physically demanding reproductive period. This will be accomplished by providing high quality migration habitat in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin and along the Platte River corridor.