Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin (RWB) supports millions of migrating birds, including half of the mid-continent mallards and about a third of the continent’s northern pintails. The area needs at least a third, or 60,000 acres, of its original wetlands to take care of the many flocks that funnel through on their way to nesting or wintering grounds. Unfortunately, only about 40,000 acres of the RWB's historic wetlands remain. Most of those are not in optimal condition to provide the food and shelter birds need to make it through the migration in good shape. The risk of disease and malnutrition is serious.
Ducks Unlimited and partners have established the Rainwater Basin Water Development Fund (RWBWDF) to ensure there is enough water to support RWB migrations forever. The fund will bring more water from existing wells to supplement existing wetlands. The project will also develop new wells and the infrastructure needed to distribute that water.
The RWBWDF investment goal is $7 million. Funds will come from several sources, including Migratory Bird Program grants, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV), and Ducks Unlimited major sponsors.The RWBJV management board, of which DU is a member, will supervise the approval of projects and expenditures.
The project will also demonstrate how wildlife and working lands can be compatible and benefit both.
To find out how you can help, contact Terry Kostinec, DU development director for Nebraska, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 605-760-5791.