Grassland Enhancement Project Grant

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The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission announced today that it has received $275,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the Statewide Grassland Enhancement Project. The Trust Board announced funding for the project at its last meeting on April 7. The Statewide Grassland Enhancement Project is one of the 72 projects receiving $9,046,319 in lottery proceeds this year from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

The objective of the Statewide Grassland Enhancement Project is to significantly improve habitat for grassland birds on 20,000 acres and provide public access to 200,000 acres of private land currently enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) across Nebraska. These acres will provide nesting and brood-rearing cover for pheasants and other grassland birds of concern such as bobwhite quail, bobolinks, and dickcissels.

Approximately 50 percent of Nebraskas CRP tracts are over 13 years old. With time, plant diversity of CRP grasslands has decreased, and this loss of plant diversity has resulted in a marked decrease in the amount of suitable nesting and brood-rearing habitat for grassland birds. Consequently, pheasant and other grassland bird populations have also decreased substantially.

The Commission, Pheasants Forever, private landowners, United States Department of Agriculture and other partners have been actively working to improve habitat and provide public access on CRP grasslands. The additional acres of grassland habitat enhanced with Nebraska Environmental Trust funding for these programs will generate many direct and indirect benefits not only to wildlife but landowners, hunter, bird watchers, and local community economies as well.

The Nebraska Legislature created the Nebraska Environmental Trust in 1992. Using revenues from the Nebraska Lottery, the Trust has provided grants to 790 projects across the state. Anyone - citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses - can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The Nebraska Environmental Trust works to preserve, protect and restore our natural resources for future generations.