LINCOLN – The public is invited to an open house to see the new aquatic habitat and fishing access improvements at Burchard Lake. The event is set for Aug. 21 from 5-7 p.m. at Burchard Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
The event will be held at the boat ramp on the north side of the lake. Staff from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will be on hand to answer questions. Families are invited to bring their fishing poles, but some poles and bait will be available for those who have none.
An aquatic habitat rehabilitation project completed at Burchard in 2013 required an 11-foot drawdown of the lake to repair the outlet structure. Enough water remained in the reservoir during the project to maintain the high-quality fishery, but since completion, water levels were slow to return to full pool. Because the watershed is almost entirely grass, the lake filled slowly. That grass watershed also maintains the excellent water quality and habitat responsible for the superb fishery in Burchard. The 150-acre reservoir provides excellent fishing opportunities for largemouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill and crappie.
Other improvements made during the rehabilitation project include a new boat launch facility, shoreline angler access and installation of a handicap-accessible fishing pier. Offshore breakwaters were placed to protect shorelines, and a sediment retention basin was added on the reservoir’s north arm. Aquatic habitat was enhanced by deepening areas near new breakwaters and by placing underwater rock shoals and cedar tree fish attractors along areas popular with anglers.
The state-threatened snake species massasauga was minimally impacted during the project. A shift in hibernacula (a creature’s shelter) was observed during the lake’s drawdown, but minimal habitat loss was experienced, and the species will now benefit from higher and stable water levels because of the repaired outlet structure and the addition of the north arm sediment basin.
The $1.9 million project was funded by Game and Parks’ Aquatic Habitat Fund and Game Cash Fund, as well as grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, Sport Fish Restoration Angler Access and Sport Fish Restoration Boating Access.
Burchard WMA is located 3 miles east and 1¼ miles north of Burchard, Neb., in Pawnee County.
Read the 2015 Fishing Guide for information on special regulations at Burchard. Visit OutdoorNebraska.org for more information on fishing in Nebraska or to purchase a fishing permit.