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Work, Work, Work

This news release went out last week, but I want to repeat it here, and add a couple of photos and some more details.

Accessible fishing features added at Duck Lake on Valentine NWR

LINCOLN – Anglers and other visitors to Duck Lake on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge will notice some improvements this summer.

A handicap-accessible parking pad and walkway were completed earlier this year. The walkway leads to an accessible fishing dock that was put in place several years ago. The Sandhills Prairie Refuge Association, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service all contributed both time and funding to the project.

“Nebraska Game and Parks and its partners in this project are proud to be able to make a great fishing spot accessible for more anglers,” said Nebraska Game and Parks Fisheries Outreach Manager Daryl Bauer. “Duck Lake is a popular destination for anglers from throughout Nebraska and beyond its borders, and hopefully the new amenities allow even more people to enjoy it.”

The Valentine National Wildlife Refuge is located about 20 miles south of Valentine in Cherry County.

Here is what the pad looks like:Duck Lake Access Pad

And here is the crew that “Got-R-Done”!

duck lake concrete crew
Concrete crew of Steve Hicks, Steve Satra, Mark Lindvall, Doug Graham, Zac Brashears, Dana Krueger, Tyler Osborn, and Jake Ohlman, not pictured Greg Hesse. (I am betting Greg was behind the camera.)

Let me provide a few more details that got shortened out of the original draft:

The Sandhills Prairie Refuge Association contributed $1,000 and Nebraska Game and Parks $1,200 toward the cost of the 14 yards of concrete needed to build the parking pad and sidewalk.   Volunteers Mark Lindvall and Jake Ohlman,  refuge staff, and Game and Parks workers built the forms in one day and poured the concrete on another.  Game and Parks brought down a skid loader to help out with the landscaping and Ohlman Building Center provided a power screed.  Valentine Refuge workers took out the forms and did the finish grading.  The pad, walkway, and dock are now ready for the public to enjoy.  The dock extends out into the lake and should offer good chances to catch a fish.  Check it out next time you are at the refuge.

I know sometimes folks assume that because we are a government agency that we spend money like crazy.  That is NOT true.  Believe me, budgets are tight and we have to squeeze everything we can out of every penny.  I think that pad project at Duck Lake is a good example of that and a good example of partnering with whoever we can to get as much done as possible.

Again let me say that the management of our state’s fisheries resources is paid for by the sale of fishing permits and excise taxes collected on the sale of fishing and boating equipment.  It is “user pays”.  The excise tax funds are collected nationwide and those funds are distributed back to the states.  A certain amount of that funding is earmarked for angler and boating access improvements.  So, yes, we have been doing a lot of those improvements even on smaller bodies of water, and even on lakes in the middle of the Nebraska sandhills.

I have hesitated to show this next map, because I do not know all the details of every project.  If you have questions, you can ask, but I may have to do some digging to find out myself.  However, I do want to post this to demonstrate that there are a variety of Aquatic Habitat and Angler Access projects ongoing, around the state!


I know the improvements are appreciated.  On the way home from our Carp-O-Rama event this past weekend, I pulled off the interstate at several places to see projects that had been completed, repairs that had been made, and in general what was happening on those areas.  Yeah, I am never in a hurry to get back to Lincoln, and well, it is kind of my job.  One stop I made was at Sandy Channel State Recreation Area (SRA) and when I pulled in there I could not believe the use that area had.  Yes, there were all kinds of users and yes, I realize it was a hot, summer, Sunday afternoon.  But, I also know that we added a bunch of angler access improvements there in the past year or so, and all of them were being used.  I would have taken some pictures to show here, but my camera battery needed recharged.  The same thing was true at the Johnson Lake inlet when I drove by there.  It is gratifying to know that anglers are taking advantage of the projects we have completed!

About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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