Ducks Unlimited recently completed the restoration of wetland habitat on both the Weseman and Gleason waterfowl production areas in Nebraska's Rainwater Basin.
On Weseman WPA, previous landowners had constructed large, excavated pits designed to concentrate runoff water and drain adjacent wetlands in order to convert the wetland area to farmland. DU designed and implemented a wetland restoration project that involved filling the pits with compacted soils on both the WPA and adjacent private land, restoring natural hydrology to the site and allowing future runoff from rain and snowmelt to fill the former wetland with shallow water.
On Gleason WPA, DU restored a seasonal wetland by plugging a drainage ditch with a small berm.
Both projects will provide productive, seasonal wetland habitat for thousands of waterfowl during migration periods. Northern pintails, mallards, blue-winged teal, white-fronted geese and many other species of waterfowl depend on Rainwater Basin wetlands to supply important migration stopover habitat, particularly during the spring. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service owns and operates both properties, which are open to a variety of public uses, including hunting. Partners involved in the projects included the USFWS, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Nebraska Environmental Trust, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the North American Wetlands Conservation Council.