• Six Nebraska counties will benefit from NAWCA grant
• Projects will improve critical migration habitat
• Grant means more public access for outdoor activities
GRAND ISLAND, Neb. – June 20, 2016 – Nebraskans will have more opportunities to enjoy state public lands, thanks to a North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant awarded to Ducks Unlimited. The $932,706 grant will be used for habitat conservation on eastern Nebraska lands that provide access for hunting, fishing, hiking, bird watching, boating and outdoor education.
The projects will improve wetland habitat critical for migrating waterfowl refueling and resting along the Missouri, Niobrara and Elkhorn rivers and other Nebraska wetland complexes. The habitat will help ensure migrating birds arrive on the breeding grounds in good physical condition each spring.
Ducks Unlimited and partners are providing $1.8 million in matching funds for a total of $2.8 million that will be used to conserve 2,214 acres.
Grant projects include:
Dixon County: Ponca State Park and the 660-acre Elk Point Bend Wildlife Management Area (WMA) adjoin one another on the Missouri River near Ponca. These areas contain numerous floodplain wetlands and attract thousands of migratory birds per year due to their proximity to the Missouri River. DU will improve wetland habitat by excavating near an existing highly utilized wetland and also excavating three additional wetland areas in the floodplain to restore wetland function.
Stanton County: The Wood Duck WMA contains one of the more popular public areas in Nebraska due to the WMA's proximity to Lincoln and Omaha. DU will carry out large restoration and enhancement projects including excavating sediment and undesirable vegetation, installing two water control structures, repairing a water control structure and removing two old berms. First National Bank donated funds to this project, allowing more work to be done at Wood Duck WMA.
Washington County: Ducks Unlimited will restore three wetland basins in the DeSoto National Wildlife Refuge (NWR). DU will construct water control structures to create 172 acres of managed moist-soil wetlands. The new structures will allow refuge managers to better control weeds and maintain the wetland habitat. This restoration will give migrating waterfowl a place to rest and forage. Cargill, Inc. added to the matching dollars for this project.
Knox County: Matching funds will allow Ducks Unlimited to restore wetlands on the recently purchased 1,225 acres with rich wetland components to give to Nebraska Game and Parks. The property hosts large emergent marsh wetlands, riverine wetlands, lacustrine wetlands, sandbars and river channels. Former landowner Tom Hastings donated part of the property. DU will enhance wetland habitat by completing shallow excavations and potentially removing old roads impacting the hydrology, water levels are causing undesirable vegetation.
Bazile Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) is where the Missouri and Niobrara Rivers join. This area is a waterfowl hunting hot spot, and DU plans to excavate three to four large linear openings near an access road to create more diverse habitat and easier public access. The soil from these excavations will increase the height of the access road, increasing viewing and access to the excavated areas. Funds will also be used to purchase herbicide to treat overgrown areas of the WMA.
Dodge County: Ducks Unlimited will remove sediment and restore a marsh on 11 of the 204-acre Hasemann Waterfowl Production Area (WPA). Hasemann WPA will be owned by DU upon completion of a land trade with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for two other properties in the Rainwater Basin of Nebraska.
Saunders County: Memphis Lake State Recreation Area lies in the far southeast corner of the county. Ducks Unlimited will restore an 88-acre shallow-water wetland north of the lake by installing a large water-control structure, removing sediment, and improving water-holding infrastructure and access.
Ducks Unlimited Inc. is the world's largest nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving North America's continually disappearing waterfowl habitats. Established in 1937, Ducks Unlimited has conserved more than 13.6 million acres thanks to contributions from more than a million supporters across the continent. Guided by science and dedicated to program efficiency, DU works toward the vision of wetlands sufficient to fill the skies with waterfowl today, tomorrow and forever. For more information on our work, visit www.ducks.org.
Becky Jones Mahlum