Open Fields and Waters Program
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How the Program Works
Two rate zones have been created:
The Commission will pay more and expand staff emphasis to attempt to enroll sites closer to population centers and the Platte River.
1) Population/Platte Rate
2) Standard Rate
The program makes the following assumptions:
1) Not all access is of equal quality and value.
2) Better habitat will provide for more
diverse and higher quality hunting experiences.
This is reflected by providing higher payment rates to landowners who enroll higher quality wildlife habitat into the program where more people live.
Habitat That May Be Enrolled
Woodland habitats are expected to provide quality opportunities for harvest of increasing deer and turkey populations. The program recognizes that many landowners might not enroll their land if they have to give up the nine-day firearm deer hunting season. Landowners still can enroll acres for a reduced payment if they restrict access during the firearm deer hunting season. This type of arrangement still will provide important opportunities for archery and muzzleloader deer hunting, as well as turkey and small game hunting. The program also provides for the enrollment of lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams to create expanded opportunities for anglers.
Land Requirements for Enrollment?
A base of 10 acres of mature deciduous woodland, 10 acres of huntable wetland, or 40 acres of coniferous woodland is required.
How Does This Program Differ from CRP-MAP?
The Open Fields and Waters Program will expand habitat types beyond those enrolled in the current Conservation Reserve Program-Management Access Program (CRP-MAP). It also will expand opportunities for different kinds of hunting and fishing on enrolled lands and the quality of those opportunities. For hunting, this program is focused on sites that must have a core of high-quality woodland or quality wetland hunting habitat, which will complement the grassland/upland game focus of existing CRP-MAP. Land cannot be enrolled in both CRP-MAP and the Open Fields and Waters programs at the same time.
Landowners who enroll in Open Fields and Waters Program are afforded protection from liability through the Nebraska Recreation Liability Act. Nebraska Recreation Liability Act (Nebraska Statutes 37-1001 to 378-1008) states that landowners or tenants do not assume responsibility or incur liability for injury to any persons who enter land opened to public hunting under agreement with the state.
Other Points to Consider
The length of the contracts for the first year will be either for one or two years. New contracts in 2010 will be for one year.
Any contract that exceeds $5,000 must be approved by the Commission's Administration Division.
The contract period will run from September 1 through August 31 annually.
The enrolled land is open for hunting and/or fishing during all legal hunting seasons. Activities are limited to those that are allowed under the contract and, unless specified in the contract, are the same as those allowed or prohibited on wildlife management areas.
The number of hunters or anglers accessing the enrolled land will not be limited.
Commission staff will determine the payment rate to be applied to enrolled land on a case-by-case basis.