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Nebraska's Wetlands

Wetlands Guide (PDF) | Wetlands Web Guide | Trail Tales Wetland Edition | Wetland Conditions and Pumping Plans| Wetland projects | Wetland Program Plan |

Nebraska contains more acres of wetlands than any surrounding state. These wetlands are very diverse and dynamic and include marshes, lakes, river and stream backwaters, oxbows, wet meadows, fens, forested swamps, and seep areas. To help you explore the varying roles that wetlands can play, this site defines wetlands, discusses their importance and dynamics, identifies status and trends, describes conservation programs, and takes an in-depth look at Nebraska’s regional wetland complexes. Take time to visit Nebraska’s wetlands and learn more about the wealth of opportunities they provide.

Guide to Nebraska's Wetlands

The guide is a full-color 59-page special publication by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. It defines and describes Nebraska wetlands and discusses wetland functions, dynamics, classification, inventory and conservation efforts. Fourteen wetland complexes are covered in depth. A listing of wetland plants and animals is provided as well as literature references. Funding was provided by the U.S. Enviornmental Protection here to order copies.

Download the Wetlands Guide

Trail Tales Magazine: Special Wetlands Edition

Trail Tales is a quarterly publication produced by NEBRASKAland Magazine and sent to nearly every fourth-grade student in the state. The Spring 2006 issue is a special wetlands edition. The edition describes Nebraska's wetlands, their functions and associated wildlife. Also included are several games and trading cards featuring some of Nebraska's wetland wildlife. Funding was provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Click here to order copies.

Download Wetlands Trail Tales

Wetlands DVDWetlands of Nebraska Video

These videos contain scenes from a variety of Nebraska wetlands, including their associated wildlife. The featured segments explore the values wetlands provide and the role they play in the lives of Nebraskans.

The educational video is 27 minutes long and is targeted to 4th-6th grade students, but is appropriate for younger and older audiences as well.

Nebraska Educational Telecommunications produced the video, with funding provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Ducks Unlimited and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. FREE Copies are available in DVD or VHS format. Click here to order copies. The videos are also available below to view online.

part2 Wetlands of Nebraska Video

For additional information please contact:

Ted LaGrange, Wetland Program Manager
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
P.O. Box 30370
Lincoln, NE 68503
Phone: (402) 471-5436

Implementation Plan for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
A Summary

( click on image to view document )

This document summarizes the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture's (RWBJV) Implementation Plan that was approved in 2013. The RWBJV was formed in 1992. It is administered by a 15-member Management Board representing private landowners and conservation agencies and organizations. Since its inception, the RWBJV has strived to find viable opportunities to integrate wetland and upland habitats into this privately owned, agriculturally dominated landscape.

The new Plan addresses the conservation needs of birds in eight Geographic Focus Areas that cover the central 3/4ths of Nebraska by providing a series of goals, objectives, and strategies. Central Nebraska hosts some spectacular world-class natural wonders. These include the Rainwater Basin--- an internationally significant gathering place for a large share of the continent's migrating waterfowl; The Platte River--- host in the spring to 90% of North America's Sandhill Crane population; and the Sandhills--- home to one of the continent's largest intact grasslands. Scattered within and among these wonders are a variety of other wetland, prairie, woodland, stream, and river habitats. Collectively, these habitats are important to hundreds of species of birds and a myriad of other wildlife species. This region is also called home by ranchers, farmers, and people in the small towns and cities that dot the landscape. And the natural wonders of this region attract people from outside of the area who have an interest in wildlife-based recreation.

Sandhills Task Force Stategic Plan

Strategic Plan for Sandhills Task Force
Sandhills Task Force Informational Brochure

Historically, ranchers and the broader conservation community had limited interaction with each other and that often created misunderstandings, and at times mistrust. The interactions that did occur were not always optimal. Occasionally confl icts arose due to what, at times,were differing visions, goals, and approaches on how to best use and manage the land. Each viewed the situation from their unique perspective.

To address these confl icts and the broader needs
of the Sandhills, a group of far-sighted leaders began discussions in the early 1990s about a new way to move communication and conservation forward. The initiative to begin these discussions arose out of an excellent working relationship that had developed between Gene Mack of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Dean Settje of Nebraska Cattlemen. They recognized that other ranchers, agencies, and organizations needed to be brought into the early discussions.

The initial STF meetings provided an opportunity to discuss issues and concerns from a variety of perspectives. Through this process, the group developed a Sandhills Management Plan (Mack 1993) that described an approach aimed at building partnerships among landowners, agencies, organizations, and the public to work toward a common goal. The Sandhills Management Plan addressed education, technical assistance, acquisition, legislation, financial support, and lease agreements. The strategies were not all equal in need or value, but did give a full complement of tools to accomplish specific tasks. The Sandhills Management Plan was signed by the 13 Board members in 1993.

Sediment Document

Sedimentation of Nebraska's Playa Wetlands

Download the Sediment Document | Click here to Order Copies

This document describes Nebraska's playa wetlands, discusses the process of sedimentation of playas, summarizes data on historic and recent wetland soil profiles, describes the impact that culturally accelerated sedimentation has on numerous wetland functions, and provides recommendations on restoration considerations. Many depressional wetlands, such as Nebraska's playas, are now embedded in agricultural landscapes where tillage of their watershed leads to increased surface runoff and sediment inputs relative to a grassland condition. Eroded sediment from culturally accelerated sources can greatly shorten the life of playa wetlands. Some key conclusions of this document are:

• Data collected in Nebraska playas confirms that over the long-term, the movement of sediment into depressional playa wetlands due to human activities has accelerated. Cumulatively, these alterations have resulted in culturally accelerated sedimentation into a majority of the playa wetlands in Nebraska.

• Culturally accelerated sedimentation has completely eliminated some wetlands.

• The literature that is summarized in this paper clearly demonstrates that culturally accelerated sedimentation, even as little as a few inches, has negative impacts on wetland hydroperiod, vegetation, bio-geochemical cycling, invertebrates, and wildlife.

• To address these negative impacts, we provide recommendations regarding ways to evaluate sediment inputs and depths and methods to address culturally accelerated sedimentation.

Links to Some Wetland Partners and Grant Opportunities

Association of State Wetland Managers
Audubon Nebraska
Crane Trust
Crane Trust Nature and Visitor's Center
Ducks Unlimited
Farm Service Agency
Groundwater Foundation
Izaak Walton League
Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance
National Park Service
National Wetlands Inventory
Natural Resources Conservation Service
Natural Resources Districts
Nebraska Bird Partnership
Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality

Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
Nebraska Environmental Trust
Nebraska Wildlife Federation

North American Waterfowl Management Plan
North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Pheasants Forever
Playa Lakes Joint Venture
Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
Saline Wetland Conservation Partnership
Sandhills Task Force
The Nature Conservancy
Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Joint Venture
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
U.S. Geological Survey
Wetland Reserve Easements (formerly WRP

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