LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission recently received $200,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for the Nebraska Natural Legacy Project: New Approaches to Biodiversity Conservation.
This is the third and final year of the grant project, totaling $570,000.
These funds have been used to improve thousands of acres of habitat on private and public lands. Two notable efforts include removal of eastern red cedar trees in the Sandhills and prescribed burning with landowners throughout the state. Both efforts are aimed at restoring native grasslands and helping birds and other animals that depend on grasslands to thrive. This work benefits landowners by improving the health of their grazed pastures, livestock and livelihood.
This project also has increased public engagement and enthusiasm for biodiversity conservation. In 2020, biologists raised awareness of species at-risk of extinction in the state, and educated residents about native wildlife, plants, and habitats in Nebraska. They trained community scientist volunteers across eastern Nebraska how to conduct surveys for monarch butterflies and regal fritillaries. More than 100 surveys were completed, with more to come in 2021.
Additionally, 2021 is the State Parks Centennial, and, to celebrate, the Natural Legacy Project participated in Natural History and Habitat Day at Rock Creek Station State Historical Park on May 8. There are upcoming events at Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area on June 26 and Ponca State Park on Aug. 21. See the calendar event entry for more information at calendar.outdoornebraska.gov.
The Nebraska Natural Legacy Project has been the blueprint for conservation of Nebraska’s plants, animals, and natural habitats since 2005. It identifies at-risk species, their threats, conservation actions, and prioritizes Biologically Unique Landscapes for conserving Nebraska’s biodiversity. Natural Legacy partners have worked with hundreds of private landowners to implement projects in nearly two dozen BULs to enhance more than 400,000 acres of at-risk species’ habitat. Learn more at NebraskaNaturalLegacy.org.
The Nebraska Environmental Trust is funded from the Nebraska Lottery and has awarded more than $349 million to conservation projects in Nebraska since 1994. Learn more at EnvironmentalTrust.Nebraska.gov.