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Aquatic Habitat Program

New Life for Aging Waters

Nebraska’s Aquatic Habitat Program works to improve conditions for aquatic life, create and enhance access to quality fishing for anglers, and collaborate with resource partners constructing new waters to make them the best they can be.  To learn more about how the program is improving fishing in Nebraska take a tour of our program below.

Background & Legislation

Nebraska’s State Legislature established the Aquatic Habitat Stamp, required of most licensed anglers, in 1996 to maintain, restore or enhance the capacity of a waterbody to produce and sustain fish. Aquatic Habitat Plans were developed with public input and adopted by the Commission.  Each plan identifies locations across the state were these funds generated from the sale of fishing licenses can be used to make habitat improvements. Click here for more information on the legislation and background of the nation’s first Aquatic Habitat Stamp.

Through 2011, a total of 58 projects have been completed at an overall cost of $45,278,268.  Fortunately, we have had great partners which have helped fund these rehabilitation projects (Click here for a complete list ).  Major funding sources have been Sport Fish Restoration ($10,866,624), the Nebraska Environmental Trust ($7,512,585), and Nebraska’s Department of Environmental Quality ($6,456,370).

Program Responsibilities:

Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation

Rehabilitate degraded aquatic habitats to improve fishing in reservoirs, sandpits, oxbows, natural lakes, rivers and streams at approved locations across the state. 

Reservoir Problems and Rehabilitation

Rehabilitation Challenges for Natural Lakes, Rivers and Streams


Angler Access

This new program was initiated in 2010, the Commission approved Angler Access Plan allows a portion of Aquatic Habitat Stamp revenue to be used for improving access, especially for bank anglers. This will allow future Aquatic Habitat Projects to not only construct fish friendly waters, but also focus on making them “fisherman friendly” as well.  Click here to learn more about this important new program.

Motorboat Access

Boating is big in Nebraska.   Canoes, kayaks, motorboats, personal water craft and sailboats all ply our waters.  Our goal is to create safe boating opportunities throughout the state by developing new locations and improving existing facilities.   Our work focuses on providing safe conditions for boarding, operating, loading and unloading trailered boats, creating shore launch areas and installing convenient and easily accessible facilities. 

Ongoing challenges include finding suitable funding sources for each project, and providing access across private lands public waterways.  To see where we are working to improve boating in Nebraska scroll down to the "Where are We Working Now?" section at the bottom of the page, click on the Status Report Button for a list of current projects including boating access improvements.

New Lake Construction

We frequently provide technical and funding assistance for the development of new public waters open to recreational fishing.  Very few new public waters are being built in Nebraska, so those that are built are pretty important!

Below are some sites where we are helping to build new fishing and boating opportunities:

Recently Completed

Where are We Working Now?

Current and recently completed Aquatic Habitat, Angler Access or Motor Boat Access Projects

Additional Resources:

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Nebraska Game and Parks Commission - 2200 N. 33rd St. Lincoln, NE 68503 - 402-471-0641

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