GRAND ISLAND — Ducks Unlimited recently was awarded a $1 million North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to restore, enhance and protect more than 6,000 acres in south-central Nebraska’s Rainwater Basin.

According to a press release, each grant dollar will be matched by $2 in private funds from Ducks Unlimited and partners that include the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture, Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, Nebraska Community Foundation, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The Rainwater Basin includes nearly 4,200 square miles of wetlands that are important to millions of shorebirds, migrating waterfowl and other birds.

The grant will help DU complete public wetlands complexes by acquiring adjacent properties that share wetlands with the public land. DU’s Nebraska Conservation Manager John Denton said, “Wetland management capability will increase with staff not having to worry about flooding adjacent private land.”

Other projects will improve water delivery to five large public playa wetlands owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, restore the natural hydrology of wetlands by filling pits that prevent water overflow, add grazing infrastructure and remove invasive plants to make room for seed-producing plants that benefit migratory waterfowl and other species.

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