LINCOLN, Neb. – Two Nebraska conservation officers received special recognition for their heroic efforts from the North American Wildlife Enforcement Officers Association during the Jan. 19 Nebraska Game and Parks Commission meeting at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park.
Officer Bryce Streger helped families escape a western Nebraska wildfire and evacuated an elderly couple in the nick of time. Streger lost all of his personal belongings in the fire.
Officer Brian Piernicky responded to an accident near Swanson Reservoir and located and assisted a passenger with critical injuries. The passenger would not have survived without Piernicky’s assistance.
The officers received a standing ovation from their supervisors, peers and from the commissioners.
The Commission also established a reduced-price restricted statewide buck-any deer permit during the meeting. This permit will have lower fees than the statewide buck-any deer permit because the restricted permit hunting area would exclude some areas for mule deer harvest. The restricted statewide buck-any deer fees will be $125 for residents and $695 for nonresidents.
The fees will remain unchanged for the statewide buck-whitetail only permit and for the statewide buck permit that would allow for mule deer harvest with no area restrictions.
In other business, the Commission:
— approved the following grant awards for the Land and Water Conservation Fund Stateside Assistance Program:
• Beaver City, $102,802.50 to build a new splash pad at Beaver City Pool Park;
• Hershey, $55,850 to install and renovate ballfield lighting at Centennial Park;
• Humboldt, $50,000 to install and renovate playground equipment at Humboldt City Square Park;
• Republican City, $40,000 to build and install a new playground and picnic shelter at Warrior Park;
• Steinauer, $46,601.50 to build a new picnic shelter and renovate park playground equipment, picnic grills and trash receptacles;
• Tecumseh, $216,000 to build a bathhouse for the new aquatic center at Tecumseh Municipal Park;
• Wilber and Lower Big Blue Natural Resources District, $95,000 to build and develop Wilber Pond and outdoor wildlife education facilities, restroom and fishing piers at Wilber Pond;
• Wisner, $100,000 to build playground equipment at Wisner Central Park and Wisner River Park.
— approved the following outdoor trail projects for federal funding through the Recreational Trails Program:
• Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, $248,000 to surface with crushed limestone 6.8 miles of the Cowboy Recreation and Nature Trail from Clinton to Rushville;
• Lincoln County, $242,429 for a 3,250-foot-long, 8-foot-wide concrete trail adjacent to Lake Maloney;
• City of Columbus, $250,000 for a 4,850-foot-long, 10-foot-wide concrete trail on the Lost Creek Flood Control Levee;
• Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, $1,000,000 for boater access improvements at Lake McConaughy SRA;
— approved an increase to the Cash Change Fund at the following areas to assist with operations and events and accommodate shower house coinage requirements: Niobrara State Park; Branched Oak, Fremont Lakes, Johnson Lake, Lake Minatare, Louisville, Mormon Island, Two Rivers and Willow Creek SRAs and Fort Atkinson, Fort Kearny state historical parks, and eliminated the change fund at Clear Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA).
— approved an easement request from Rural Water District No. 1 in Johnson County to place a water line that will provide water to the shop and other buildings at Osage WMA.
— approved the Commission meeting schedule for 2018 as follows: Columbus, March 16; Fort Robinson SP, April 19; Ogallala, June 22; Valentine, Aug. 16; Kearney, Oct. 26.
The commissioners also heard several staff updates, including ones on mountain lion population research, pheasant research and the state’s Berggren Plan for Pheasants.