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A New Grazing Opportunity for Cattle Grazers

 By 1984, over half (54%) of all the wetlands in the U.S. had been drained or filled for development or agriculture.  Congress responded to these alarming  figures by passing the 1990 Farm Bill, which introduced the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP).  WRP was a voluntary program to restore and protect wetlands through 30-year easements or permanent easements.  Existing cropped

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Developing the McGowan WREP

In 2017, James “Hank” McGowan enrolled 154.4 acres into the Wetlands Reserve Enhancement Partnership (WREP) program. This is one of the largest private land projects in the Rainwater Basin with about 120 acres of wetland and 34 acres of upland. Prior to enrolling his property in WREP, the entire quarter

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2020 Tree Removal in the Rainwater Basin

Each year, the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture (RWBJV) works with partners to coordinate wetland management that will result in high quality early successional habitat on public and private lands.  Typical management projects include tree removal, herbicide application, disking, and prescribed burning.  Often, one treatment is not enough to achieve desired

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Chief Lohr Visits Kirkpatrick Basin WMA

The Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Matt Lohr visited Nebraska last month.  During his first time in Nebraska as chief, Lohr visited several field sites and locations throughout eastern Nebraska including a visit to Kirkpatrick Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in York County.   The Kirkpatrick Basin area is

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Initial Agriculture Land Easements Close

The Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant that was awarded to Upper Big Blue Natural Resources District provided funding for 10 projects that would develop whole field solutions. As part of these projects the wetlands are restored to the extent possible and protected through either an Agriculture Land Easement (ALE)

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New RWBJV Wetland Habitat Specialist Hired

Cortney Schaefer was recently hired as the RWBJV Habitat Specialist. Cortney is a native of Grand Island, graduating from Northwest High School. Cortney earned a BS from the University of Wyoming and a MS from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. After spending seven years working as a Wildlife Biologist for

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Private Land News Jan 2020

One of the cornerstones of the RWBJV partnership is its ability to find unique solutions to address on-the-ground conservation bottlenecks.  The invasion of grasslands by Eastern Red Cedar (ERC) is one of most pressing threats to grassland nesting birds in the RWBJV administrative area.  This is troubling since grassland obligates

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Choosing Conservation: Landowners Can Benefit from Wetland Conservation

Jessica Votipka, York News-Times, 3/29/19. Conservation groups, including Ducks Unlimited and the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, offer a variety of ways for rural landowners to partake in wetland conservation. According to Ted LaGrange, Wetland Program Manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, about 97% of Nebraska’s wetlands rest on

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Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program

The Wetland Reserve Enhancement Program (WREP) is a special option in the NRCS’s Agriculture Conservation Easement Program (ACEP). This option allows producers to retain water rights and the option to pass their pivot over restored wetland and upland acres enrolled in the program. NRCS ACEP Team 5 oversees delivery of

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