(Posted 9/6/18) In 2013, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Management Board adopted the Working Lands Initiative as one of the strategies to achieve the management objectives outlined in the 2013 Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Implementation Plan. Over the last five years the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture partners have worked together to develop grazing infrastructure to increase management of wetlands that were receiving limited or no disturbance. As a result of this collaborative approach, 4,000 acres now have the necessary grazing infrastructure, such as fencing, pipeline and water tanks, to use grazing as a management tool to promote desired habitat conditions.
To help promote these opportunities to other landowners and cattle producers, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture and Nebraska Cattlemen hosted the Hamilton-York County Local Affiliate Summer Meeting. More than 40 area cattle producers attended the meeting. The gathering was held at Chances ‘R’ Restaurant in York, Nebraska and provided a great venue for in-person conversations about the partnership, Working Lands Initiative, and conservation programs that are currently available. To close out the meeting, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture provided an overview of the partnership and highlighted the importance of the Rainwater Basin to migratory birds, how grazing can be mutually beneficial for producers and habitat for migratory birds, and opportunities available in the Working Lands Initiative with multiple project examples.
This meeting is already providing dividends. The NC Insider, the Nebraska Cattlemen’s electronic newsletter, featured the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture’s Working Lands Initiative in its July edition. Additionally, to assist producers in safely transporting livestock and increase grazing of wetlands, Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District Board of Directors voted unanimously to oversee the check-in/check-out of a portable tub, chute, and alley system. They will also hold the title of, acquire liability insurance for, and complete routine maintenance to the system. To help continue to spread the word, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture is in the process of setting up additional meetings with the Lancaster-Seward, Exeter-Milligan, and Merrick-Polk Local Affiliates.