The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV) and Nebraska Cattlemen are working in partnership on a private lands grazing project in Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin, a region that is valuable for farming and cattle production and as key stopover habitat for migratory waterfowl. This project incorporates aspects of all three, with a program designed to promote cattle production on lands with limited row crop potential, while also enhancing wetland habitat. The project’s goal is to facilitate a scenario that provides economic opportunity for farmers and ranchers to incorporate cattle grazing of wetlands into their operations, thus providing valuable livestock forage or lease income for a landowner, while also improving wetland habitat and creating conservation benefits.
Since 2012, over forty private Rainwater Basin wetlands have had grazing infrastructure (5-wire permanent fencing, well, and livestock watering tanks) installed. These sites are scattered across 15 counties and total over 3,500 acres. Many of these landowners do not have their own cattle and are looking for grazers to help them manage their wetlands.
The RWB Cattle Grazers Network is being built as a way to facilitate connecting grazers/cattle producers with landowners who are in need of grazing management on their wetlands. Whenever new grazing infrastructure is completed on a Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP)/Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) easement, we will provide that landowner with a list of all grazers that would be interested in grazing a property of that acreage, in that county. RWBJV is not responsible for any grazing contracts. Landowners are free to negotiate a private grazing lease with whomever they choose.
To assist grazers in transporting cattle to wetland easements, a portable livestock corral and handling equipment are available through a no-cost lease. The Little Blue NRD, Tri-Basin NRD, and Upper Big Blue NRD, in partnership with the RWBJV, maintains a Rawhide Corral, Inc. livestock handling system to help producers move their cattle in order to graze Rainwater Basin wetlands.
Click on the button to submit your contact information and grazing preferences. Your information will be stored in a database accessible only by RWBJV staff. Your information will only be shared with landowners if your grazing preferences match their property.
If you have any questions about the Rainwater Basin Cattle Grazers Network, please contact Cortney Schaefer, the RWBJV Wetland Habitat Specialist, at 308-382-8112 or Cortney_Schaefer@fws.gov.