DU Helps Landowners Protect Playa Wetlands on Nebraska Property

With the help of Ducks Unlimited, landowners Ralph and Beverly Holzfaster are protecting important playa wetlands on their 320-acre property near Paxton, Nebraska. The Holzfasters recently enrolled their land in a DU conservation easement to ensure that its playa wetlands will always be protected and will continue to provide vital habitat for waterfowl, pheasants, deer, grassland nesting songbirds, and many other wildlife species.

The Holzfasters have a rich history of supporting wildlife conservation and have long supported Ducks Unlimited through local banquets. They believe that conserving waterfowl habitat on their property is simply another way of helping DU achieve its conservation mission in Nebraska. 

Playa wetlands are shallow, ephemeral wetlands that provide outstanding waterfowl habitat when they are holding water. Much of the time, playa wetlands are dry, a key factor in their productivity for waterfowl. When dry, playa wetlands recycle nutrients and grow plants that produce seeds eaten by waterfowl. When this relatively arid region of Nebraska does receive adequate rain or snowmelt, playa wetlands fill with shallow water. Playa wetlands are particularly important during spring migration, when waterfowl are trying to acquire and maintain fat reserves in preparation for the breeding season. 

This project is located near the north end of an expansive area of playa wetlands that stretches from the Texas panhandle to southwest Nebraska. This conservation easement was made possible in part through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant secured by DU.