GRAND ISLAND, Neb. Oct. 7, 2019 - Ducks Unlimited was recently awarded a new $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to restore, enhance and protect more than 6,000 acres of Rainwater Basin (RWB) in south central Nebraska. The RWB includes nearly 4,200 square miles of wetlands that are important for millions of shorebirds, migrating waterfowl and other birds.

The grant will help DU complete public wetlands complexes by acquiring adjacent properties that share wetlands with the public land. The properties will become part of the complexes and open to the public.

Wetland management capability will increase with staff not having to worry about flooding adjacent private land, said John Denton, DUs Nebraska conservation manager.

Ducks Unlimited will improve water delivery to five large public playa wetlands owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Other work will restore the natural hydrology of wetlands by filling pits that prevent water overflow. Ducks Unlimited will add grazing infrastructure and remove invasive plants to make room for seed-producing plants, which benefit migratory waterfowl and other species.

Every grant dollar will be matched by $2 in private funds from Ducks Unlimited and partners, including the Rainwater Basin Joint venture, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, Nebraska Community Foundation, Nebraska Environmental Trust and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.