Corners for Wildlife
Corners for Wildlife is a program developed in 1995 by Nebraska Pheasants Forever (PF). This program was designed to establish permanent wildlife habitat on center pivot irrigation corners. Corners for Wildlife receives funding from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, and local Natural Resources Districts, in addition to funding provided by local PF chapters.
How it Works
Enrollment in this program is based on a five (5) year contract. Producers are able to receive 75% cost-share assistance for establishing a grass and legume planting on the corner. In addition, producers wishing to plant trees and shrubs on the corner can receive 75% or 100% cost-share for the plants (100% cost-share for planting more than 400 trees/shrubs), and 50% cost-share for fabric weed barrier. There is also an annual payment based on the length of the contract and the conservation practice chosen.
The UNWNRD will lay the weed barrier and plant the trees for free as long as the number of trees ordered for the project exceeds 400, and the landowner agrees to pay 50% of the cost of the weed barrier.
Funding for this program is available on a first come first serve basis. Applications will be taken until funding is exhausted.
As of 2001, 525 corners had been enrolled in the program throughout Nebraska; 3,430 acres of nesting area have been created, and 245,944 trees have been planted (an average of 468 per corner).
If you have questions
or would like to enroll in the program,
please contact UNWNRD at (308) 432- 6190.
Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation Program (NSWCP)
The Nebraska Soil and Water Conservation program was established in 1977 by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). This cost share program provides assistance to landowners who wish to install approved conservation measures. These measures aim to improve water quality and quantity, and help control erosion and sedimentation. Practices eligible for the cost-share program are:
- Critical Area Planting
- Dugouts for Livestock Water
- Grade Stabilization Structures
- Grasses Waterways
- Irrigation Tailwater Recovery Pit
- Irrigation Water management
- Planned Grazing Systems
- Planting or Range Seeding
- Repair of Practices--terraces, dams, diversions, etc.
- Stream Bank Stabilization
- Terrace Systems
- Terrace Underground Outlets
- Water Impoundment Dams
- Water and Sediment-Control Basins
- Windbreaks/ Shelterbelts
- Windbreak Renovation
Funds for this program are dispersed by the DNR to the 23 NRDs throughout the state. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) provides the technical assistance when planning and installing any approved conservation measures. NRDs are responsible for taking applications for the program, setting priorities, assisting landowners and contractors to complete the practices and arrange the necessary paperwork for submission.
Cost Share Payment
A 50% cost share is available to help defray the construction costs for these practices.
Well Decommissioning Program
What is Well Decommissioning?
Abandoned wells can be a serious threat to the quality of your ground water supply. An abandoned well is one that has not been properly decommissioned. A properly decommissioned well has been filled, sealed, and plugged in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
Why should I plug my abandoned well?
More than 90% of Nebraskans rely on ground water for domestic use. Abandoned wells may provide a direct link for contamination from the surface to enter ground water drinking supplies. Agricultural AND lawn care chemicals, livestock waste, and other contaminants can contaminate the water supply through an abandoned well.
Abandoned wells can also be physically hazardous. Small animals and even children can fall into wells that are not properly sealed.
Decommissioning Cost-Share Guidelines:
- All pumps, piping and any other obstructions must be removed from the well site. The cost incurred in this removal is not eligible for cost-share.
- The well shall be decommissioned in compliance with the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
- Decommissioning of the well shall be completed within six months of the application approval date.
- All plugging work must be performed by a licensed well driller or pump installer. Maximum cost-share rate is 75% of the actual cost not to exceed $500 for drilled wells or $700 for hand-dug wells.
- Report the fill materials and quantities used to plug the well to the UNWNRD and the Nebraska Department of Water Resources.
How do I receive well decommissioning cost-share assistance?
- Contact the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District office for an application. NO COST-SHARE WILL BE PAID WITHOUT PRIOR APPROVAL OF AN APPLICATION!
- The landowner must fill out the application form and return it to the UNWNRD office for approval.
- Click here to download the application form.
- Approval is needed before a certified well driller plugs the well.
- Upon application approval by the UNWNRD, the copy of the application and a verification form will be sent to the landowner. A copy and reporting form for completion by the contractor will also be included.
- The reporting form will be completed by the contractor with information about the fill of the well. The reporting form has two sides to complete and must be notarized.
- Cost-Share will not be paid until all completed forms (application approval, cost verification, reporting form) and a bill indicating all charges have been presented to the UNWNRD office by the landowner or well driller.
- Reimbursement is made to the landowner after the claim has been reviewed.
WILD Nebraska Cost-Share Program
WILD Nebraska is an "umbrella" program developed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission to cover a number of wildlife habitat improvement efforts. Originally named the Private Lands Habitat Program (1977), then later Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP) in 1988, WILD Nebraska achieves new flexibility in assessing the needs and desires of producers. WILD accomplished this flexibility when several programs from WHIP and other agency developed programs were combined. Simplifying the process and also allowing producers to have more options when choosing the habitat plan that best suits them.
The UNWNRD and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission work together to provide cost-share assistance for a number of different activities. Examples of some of these programs are:
- Grassland Enhancement & Grazing Management
- -Light disking
- -Fencing for habitat protection
- Grassland Establishment
- CRP Enhancement
- -Rototilling tree & shrub planting
- Cropland Enhancement
- -Wheat stubble management
- Woodland Establishment or Enhancement
- -Wildlife shelterbelts
- -Riparian forest buffers
- Wetland Establishment & Enhancement
- -Prescribed burning
- -Wetland vegetation management
- Center Pivot Corner Enhancement
- -Corners for Wildlife program
Although these are just a few programs offered by the WILD Nebraska program, they do provide a glimpse into what can be accomplished when producers utilize WILD Nebraska. The cost share for each activity varies, as does the contract time. Different incentives are also provided regarding public land, contract time, and activity utilized.
WILD Nebraska is a unique program that not only allows producers and landowners to develop new conservation areas, but also to enhance existing tracks of land.
Every year the UNWNRD takes in nominations from the public for those individuals in our district who have done an exemplary job of furthering both the knowledge, and practices, of conservation in their area. Their efforts to improve the quality of the land, water, and wildlife within the district sets them apart, and this award is a great way to show our gratitude. Community members may be nominated by any member of the public, as well as by any public agency, such as the Nebraska Forest Service, or the NRCS.
The categories for nomination are:
- Wildlife Habitat
- Water Conservation
- Range Management
- Natural Resources Education
- Outdoor Recreation
- Soil Conservation
- Forest Management
- Tree Planting
- Noxious Weed Control
- Or any other conservation effort
Please contact us at 308.432.6190 for more information.
Each year on the first Tuesday in May the UNWNRD hosts an educational day for fifth grade students in the district with the help of many natural resources professionals and partner agencies. Students had the opportunity to visit different presenters who set up hands-on stations to teach about conservation.
Each year, the Festival and features water rocket launching and weed-eating goats used by the organization PRIDE. The students learn about pollution, ground water, soil and tree care.
The Annual Northwest Nebraska Conservation Festival
Please contact us at 308.432.6190 for more information.
Projects WET, WILD and Learning Tree
The purpose of Project WET
(Water Education for Teachers) is "to facilitate and promote the awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through the development and dissemination of classroom ready teaching aids and the establishment of state and internationally sponsored Project WET programs." Project WET was originally developed in 1984 by the North Dakota State Water Commission. Five years later (1989) Montana State University received funding to develop a multi- state program. This new initiative was so successful that the decision was made to develop Project WET U.S.A. Today this program exists in all fifty states and has experienced great success.
Through interactive projects and lessons students gain an understanding of the importance of water for everyone from farmers and ranchers to energy producers, and even wildlife. They also learn why careful water management is imperative to sustaining future life, and economic stability. Students become aware of, and learn respect for, the water sources around them while taking the first steps toward a responsible attitude where nature is concerned.
This program is designed for students grade K-12 and is easily adaptable to any classroom, outdoor, or home setting. Both formal and non-formal educators can benefit from this program (non-formal educators can be anyone from resource agency educators, zoo educational staff, youth organization leaders, etc.).
Project WILD, Aquatic WILD
's mission is to provide wildlife-based conservation and environmental education that fosters responsible actions toward wildlife and related natural resources. Project WILD (Wildlife in Learning Design) was first presented for use in 1983 and was developed by Western Regional Environmental Education Council (WREEC), now known as the Council for Environmental Education (CEE), and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA). At the time of the projects introduction twenty (20) states were already involved with the project. By 1991 all 50 states were conducting the program, and in 2003 according to Project WILD timelines over 900,000 educators and 45 million youth have participated in Project WILD, and Aquatic WILD since 1983.
Both Project WILD, and its sibling Aquatic WILD are suitable for students K-12. Project WILD focuses on wildlife, and the habitats that they require for survival. Aquatic WILD focuses on aquatic wildlife and aquatic ecosystems. Both projects are extremely interactive, and have the flexibility to be held both indoors and outside, depending on the educators requirements.
Project Learning Tree
The mission of Project Learning Tree (PLT) is to use the forest as a "window" on the world to increase students' understanding of the environment; stimulate students' critical and creative thinking; develop students' ability to make informed decisions on environmental issues; and instill in students the commitment to take responsible action on behalf of the environment.
PLT began in 1976, and like its fellows has experienced enormous success, both at home and abroad. PLT focuses on bringing the issues of water, pollution, forests, and others together to form a cohesive unit, demonstrating the interdependency of each topic.
This program is designed for use by PreK- 8th grade students. Each activity is adaptable for different age groups. There are a variety of activities that can be conducted both in and outdoors to give varied learning experience.
Facilitators are available throughout the district to conduct workshops for teachers, 4-H leaders, camp counselors, an all others interested in furthering conservation education through children. These workshops can be held specifically for a school district during an in-service day, or scheduled periodically throughout the district for all interested parties to attend. These workshops are often provided at little or no cost to the participates, and each participant receives a great deal of materials and gifts, as well as a day of fun!
To schedule a workshop, or Project WET, WILD or Learning Tree activity for your classroom or event please contact
Sheri Daniels at 308-432-6190 or daniels at unwnrd.org.
The EnviroScape is a presentation centered around the identification of various pollutants, their affects on the landscape and wildlife surrounding the area, and Best Management Practices (BMPs) that can help alleviate and/or prevent the harm from local pollutants. This presentation is an interactive lesson that is adaptable to a range of ages (K-Adult).
This presentation focuses on Point Source and Non- point source pollution using visual representations of pollution. This includes Kool-Aide fertilizer, coco powder manure, "sludge" from the factory, and various other pollutants. All these colorful representations allow participants to track the pollutants path from homes, farms, and workplaces to the lake at the bottom of the display.
The Ground Water Flow Model is used to demonstrate many different concepts; a few of these are how ground water flows through the different layers of sediment (direction of flow, location of water), how activity at or near surface and contaminate ground water, and also the relationship between ground water and surface water. This presentation, like the others is interactive for the benefit of the participants. The vacuum pump that is used to pull the water through the model can be operated by those watching to allow a more direct relationship to the process.
This presentation is also adaptable to many different age groups, however, younger children may have difficulty understanding some of the concepts presented. The information pertaining to this model would be best suited for middle school (5th grade) age children and above.
To schedule a workshop, or Project WET, WILD or Learning Tree activity for your classroom or event please contact NRD staff 308-432-6190.
The scholarship available to all district residents is the Dorshorst Memorial Fund Scholarship. This scholarship is available to anyone who wishes to further their knowledge of conservation methods. Adults, students, teachers, producers are all eligible to receive these funds. Funds can be used to attend workshops or seminars that focus on conserving our natural resources. To apply simply submit a letter to the NRD detailing the workshop, event, or seminar that you wish to attend, cost of attendance, and how you feel this event will further your knowledge of natural resource conservation.
This scholarship is available year round.
Every year the State 4-H Camp in Halsey hosts the Society for Range Management Nebraska Range Youth Camp. The SRM Nebraska Range Youth Camp is for young adults age 14 -18. The NRD offers a scholarship of $275 to each chosen applicant, which covers the complete cost of the camp including meals, lodging, recreation, camp insurance, and transportation while at the camp. Range camps provides students with the opportunity to learn more about range management and also become more aware of natural resources.
For more information about the scholarships available through the NRD please contact staff 308-432-6190.
Land Judging is a competition that enables high school students to gain a better understanding of land evaluation and soil structure. Participants learn to recognize physical characteristics of soil, determine the lands capacity for crop production, and assess best management practices that will properly maintain the land.
The UNWNRD co-sponsors the Western Panhandle Region District Land Judging every three years. Other agencies involved with Land Judging competitions are local Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS), the University of Nebraska Extension and any other agency willing to assist with the competition. Vocational agriculture instructors also do a great deal of work to help ensure the success of the competition.
For a list of contest rules, or the Guide Book of information please visit the NARD Land Judging website
. For more information about the 2013 winners or future contests, contact us at 308-432-6190
Approximately 60% of the Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District is rangeland. Range Judging competitions are engaging events that enhance the participants knowledge of rangeland plants, and management methods.
Co-sponsorship of the Range Judging contest rotates between the three panhandle NRDs. The 2011 Range Judging contest was hosted by the Sioux County Extension, NRCS and the Upper Niobrara White NRD. The contest was held on September 20 south of Harrison. The State Range Judging committee oversees all range judging in the state, This committee also selects host counties for the event, and sets the rules and regulations. They meet annually and also the evening before the competition. .
If you have questions, or would like more information about Range Judging competitions please contact staff
The Nebraska Rainfall Assessment and Information Network (NeRAIN) was developed two years ago by the Nebraska Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) and the Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Its purpose is to gather rainfall information through the help of volunteers and use that data to create rainfall pattern maps throughout the state. These maps can be viewed at the NeRAIN website,
http://nerain.dnr.ne.gov/Nerain/ The expansion of this project to include all 23 NRDs was made possible by a grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.
Through this program all-weather rain gauges are provided free of cost to volunteers who are willing to record daily precipitation values on a website developed by DNR. Those values are then put into a map that creates an accurate portrait of the rainfall patterns across the state. The information gained from the project to date has been used by the University of Nebraska and by weather stations both in Nebraska and surrounding states.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer in the NeRAIN program please contact staff at 308.432.6190 or visit the NeRAIN Website
Soil Health Improvements
No-Till Drill Rental
For more information about the No-Till Drill or to make a reservation call Craig Eddie at 308.432.6190 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Hay Buster (10 foot) No-Till Drill
Tye (7 foot) No-Till Drill
UNWNRD now has 2 Drills to consider when considering a conservation planting. Thanks to a Grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust, a 10 foot HayBuster Drill can be leased and will effectively cover a wider pass through your field or borders.
This TYE 2007 Pasture Pleaser has a drill width of 7 feet and an overall width of 9 1/2 feet. This smaller size allows it to be easily maneuvered in most areas from narrow tree rows and creek bottoms to large fields. It is a pull-type drill, is easily transportable by pick-up, and attaches to all tractors. It has three seed boxes and thus has the ability to plant anything from native grass seed to legume seeds. In one pass, an effective three-step seeding process is completed. A deep ripple coulter cuts a clear path through the ground, whether it is stubble, bare ground, or sod. Double-disc openers then gently place the seed into the seed track. The process is completed when depth control press wheels firm the soil over the seed.
The 7 foot Tye No-Till Drill may be leased for $10/acre and the 10 foot HayBuster No-Till Drill may be leased for $12/acre. Both drills have a one time fee charged for delivery. Total amount due is payable upon return of the No-Till Drill. Please see No-Till Drill Lease Agreement for lease stipulations. Lease reservations are ongoing and should be booked in advance to assure availability.
Various local agricultural practices reduce the amount of nesting cover available for upland game which often results in low survival rates. These practices, such as summer fallow farming and overgrazing of riparian areas, also facilitate excessive irrigation and rainwater runoff which results in non point source pollution of ground and surface waters. The Wildlife Seeding Program (No-Till Drill) is an effort to provide better cover and food sources for many different types of wildlife while reducing erosion and runoff.
Funding for the no-till drill purchase was provided by:
Prescribed Burning Equipment
What is Prescribed Burning?
Prescribed burning is a technique used to improve the quality and quantity of grassland and forest vegetation. A prescribed burn uses skillfully-applied fire to remove fuels of a forest, prairie or pasture. It is done for a specific purpose, under predetermined weather conditions. USDA NRCS NE Fact Sheet –12
Prescribed burning, when done correctly, can result in a variety of beneficial outcomes including wildlife habitat enhancement, improved forestland/grassland health, increased forage value for livestock, and reduced fire hazards. It suppresses certain undesirable plants and removes excessive plant residue, which stimulates new growth of desirable species. In forests, these burns remove thick layers of pine needles and old vegetation and prune low hanging branches on pine trees. As a result, sunlight is allowed to penetrate the soil surface and herbaceous plants are allowed to germinate and thrive.
A fire plan should always be designed before a prescribed burn is implemented. Factors to consider include the amount and distribution of fine fuel, the goal end-results following the burn, desired weather conditions, preferred wind velocities, direction to burn and the location of highways and buildings.
The UNWNRD has prescribed burning equipment available that can be checked out and used to assist with burns. To use this equipment, a landowner must work out a prescribed burn plan with an appropriate agency and receive a burn permit from their local Fire Department.
Assistance on burn plans is currently available through the Nebraska Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service (predominately on Conservation Reserve Program fields).
The UNWNRD will charge a minimal fee to use the equipment. Normal wear is expected, but evidence of abuse will result in greater charges to cover replacement costs. The borrower must sign a brief lease agreement before the equipment can leave the UNWNRD office.
- Pumper Unit 150 gallon capacity
- Back-pack Sprayers 4 gallon capacity
- ATV Sprayer 25 gallon capacity
- Drip Torches
- Fire Rakes McLeod Tool (combination hoe and rake)
- Fire Swatters
- Pulaski Axes
- Portable Weather Station Reads temperature, wind chill, humidity, heat stress, wind speed and dew point
- Protective Clothing Nomex pants and shirts, goggles, helmets
Benefits of Prescribed Burning:
Improved forest and grassland health
Decreased fire hazards due to removal of pine needle layers and/or old vegetation
Enhanced wildlife habitat
Decreased forest competition for moisture resulting in enhanced streams and springs
New growth of suppressed hardwood trees
Improved soil quality due to nutrients recycling back into the ground
Reduced erosion resulting from an increase in vegetation density
Improved rangeland forage value
Long-term reduction of invasive weed infestations