LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) plan to pump wetlands for the duck hunting season, which opens in some parts of the state on Oct. 6.
While water conditions continue to be very poor through most of the state, vegetative conditions of the wetlands are very good because of intensive restoration and management efforts.
Pumping plans for wildlife management areas and waterfowl production areas of the Rainwater Basin, listed by county, as of Sept. 25 are:
Clay – Bulrush WMA, begin in mid-October; Eckhardt and Smith WPAs, may pump Oct. 1-15; Greenhead and Kissinger Basin WMAs, begin Oct. 1; Greenwing WMA, begin Oct. 10; Hansen WPA, may pump Oct. 15-19
Fillmore – Bluebill, Sandpiper and Sora WMAs, begin Oct. 10
Franklin – Flesner WPA, may pump Oct. 15-19
Hamilton – Deep Well WMA, begin Oct. 1
Nuckolls – Smartweed Marsh WMA, begin Oct. 1
Phelps – Cottonwood and Johnson WPAs, may pump Oct. 1-15; Sacramento-Wilcox WMA, began Sept. 24; West Sacramento WMA, begin Oct. 20
Seward – North Lake Basin WMA, pumping underway on north side; Straightwater WMA, begin Oct. 1
Thayer – Father Hupp WMA, pump west 80 acres; Prairie Marsh WMA, begin Oct. 10
York – Kirkpatrick Basin South, Marsh Duck and Spikerush WMAs, begin Oct. 1; Renquist WMA, begin Oct. 10
Pumping plans outside of the Rainwater Basin are:
Dixon – Ponca State Park Elk Point Bend addition, begin Oct. 10
Nemaha – Peru Bottoms and Langdon Bend WMAs, begin Oct. 15
Platte – Wilkinson WMA, began in mid-September
Not all wetlands are pumped. Many existing public areas cannot be pumped because neither the USFWS nor Game and Parks own enough of the basin, and pumping could flood private land. Another consideration is the cost to drill new wells and acquire and operate pumps.
In addition to hunting, wetlands are pumped to provide habitat for migrating waterfowl and the other water birds, to provide areas for people to observe wildlife, and to spread out the distribution of migrating birds and reduce the possibility of disease outbreaks.
Visit OutdoorNebraska.org or fws.gov/rainwater/ for more information.