A new kind of group is helping to get Ducks Unlimiteds Rainwater Basin Water Development Fund campaign off to a great start. The Critical Conservation Club in Nebraska offers an opportunity for people with a common interest in outdoor recreation and conservation to network. Each year the club will highlight and address a critical conservation need in North America. At its first meeting, the group heard about a new fundraising effort to create the Rainwater Basin Water Development Fund, which will help expand wildlife and public use in the basins.

The Rainwater Basin is such an important part of our Nebraska waterfowl flyway. As hunters and conservationists, we have an obligation to support its development and sustainability, says Scott Cassels, who along with his wife, Karla, hosted the clubs event in Omaha. The region provides crucial habitat for the spring and fall waterfowl migrations. With only a fraction of the original wetlands in the basin remaining, not having water at the right times limits bird use and the ability of people to enjoy public lands.

Ducks Unlimited, in partnership with the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, recently kicked off a fundraising effort to create the Rainwater Basin Water Development Fund. The campaigns goal is to invest $7 million in providing healthy wetland habitat to expand public use on state and federal wildlife areas in the basin. The fund will focus on strategic habitat protection, restoration, and providing additional water to meet wildlife demands. Once fully funded, interest generated from the development fund will provide the resources needed to supply water to manage public lands during waterfowl migrations.

Nearly $100,000 was raised through the Critical Conservation Club event, says DU Director of Development Terry Kostinec. A special thank-you to Scott and Karla Cassels for hosting the event, and to Critical Conservation Club Event Chairman Tom Whiteing. The Cassels became DU Diamond Life Sponsors at the event.

Learn more about the Rainwater Basin Water Development Fund at ducks.org/rainwaterbasinfund.