Wetlands America Trust, the landholding arm of Ducks Unlimited, has acquired a 160-acre property adjoining Real Waterfowl Production Area (WPA), located three miles north of Fairmont, Nebraska, in the Rainwater Basin. This property will round out the WPA and allow for more cohesive wetland management by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). This type of land acquisition is a high priority for DU and its partners in Nebraska. This particular property is significant because it contains a large portion of the wetland footprint of Real WPA.
Before acquiring the property, USFWS staff members struggled to manage and restore wetlands on Real WPA, as they were unable to pump water, fill in pits, plug ditches, or alter the hydrology of the neighboring property. Now they can restore wetland functions and manage the area holistically to maximize benefits for waterfowl.
The Real WPA tract currently contains an unusually large water-reuse reservoir that measures more than a third of a mile long and has drastically altered the area's hydrology. DU will restore up to 80 acres of wetland habitat by filling this reservoir and then transfer the wetland and adjacent grassland buffer to the USFWS. DU may trade the remaining cropland for other properties containing high-priority Rainwater Basin wetlands or other round-outs of publicly-owned basins nearby. Once restoration work is complete, these properties will be transferred to government agencies, providing public access and recreational opportunities.