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Aquatic Habitat Update

Short blog post today, just want to update folks on some of the Aquatic Habitat work that is in progress right now:

Valentine NWR aquatic habitat project continues

LINCOLN – Users of the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge will continue to see construction and equipment along public roads and trails until freeze-up as an aquatic habitat project progresses there.

Road and trail closures could occur for short periods as the project progresses. Access for ice fishing this winter should not be affected.

The project focus is to address the presence of invasive common carp in the system and prevent their passage through existing water control structures.

Control structures, berm improvements, fish barriers and dredging were planned at Watts, Hackberry, Dewey, Whitewater, Clear, Pelican and Willow lakes. Work has progressed and construction has been partially completed at Watts, Pelican, Whitewater, Dewey and Hackberry Lakes. A water control structure and barrier near completion at Willow Lake is designed to limit upstream carp movement and reduce numbers of carp migrating into the refuge lakes.

Progress has been made with channel clean-out between the lakes by using heavy equipment for excavation and a hydraulic dredge. This will allow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists to more effectively manage lake water levels to enhance sport fish populations and waterfowl habitat in the future.

The project is a partnership between the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, using Aquatic Habitat Program funds, and the USFWS.

For more information, call Game and Parks’ Zac Brashears at 402-376-8080 or Mark Porath at 402-471-5583. For information on the project or the refuge, call Juancarlos Giese at 402-376-1889 or visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/valentine.

Mark Porath photo, thanks Mark!
Zach Brashears photo, thanks Zach!

The work being done on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge right now is part of a refuge-wide plan.  That plan started with some large scale surveying using the latest in technology to better understand how water moves between lakes on the refuge.  With that knowledge, we will have a better plan of attack and the tools to implement better control Common Carp on the Valentine Refuge.  Less Common Carp eventually will lead to better waterfowl habitat and better fishing!  The work being done on the Refuge now is just the first prong of that attack, but I will tell you that I am very excited about the future of fishing on one of my longtime “home” waters!

I hope Nebraska anglers know that our Aquatic Habitat Program is always busy!  There are a number of other projects ongoing right now, and I will continue to share updates as I get them and as I get a few photos to show.  Our Aquatic Habitat Program is one of the first of its kind in the country and I believe it is crucial in creating and maintaining clean water, healthy aquatic habitats, healthy fisheries and great fishing!  Thank you to everyone who purchases Aquatic Habitat Stamps!

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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