Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Nebraska
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Nebraska Project

Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Science

July 2019 - December 2021


Participating Agencies

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission

The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture’s mission includes science-based conservation efforts for all priority bird habitats throughout Nebraska’s mixed-grass prairie region. The Management Board of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture is committed to implementing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Strategic Habitat Conservation model. This science-based model requires a commitment of resources and time to develop a strong biological foundation for delivering conservation planning and designing research and monitoring efforts. To fulfill this commitment, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln hired a Science Coordinator for the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture in October 2014. The Science Coordinator works with Rainwater Basin Joint Venture science staff to develop models and decision support tools that help identify areas where conservation is most likely to benefit migratory birds and other wildlife. In addition, the Coordinator helps monitor and evaluate the success of ongoing and past habitat conservation projects, collaborating with researchers from various federal and state agencies and non-governmental conservation organizations.

The Coordinator recently worked with a group of partners to complete a revision of the Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Landbird Plan. This new plan includes population objectives for eight priority species, grassland habitat objectives, and conservation strategies to help guide partnership efforts. The Coordinator is currently a member of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Integration Steering Committee, and has helped organize a series of webinars that explore the societal benefits and ecosystem services provided by waterfowl and wetland conservation work (see for more information). The Coordinator is involved with several other projects currently in progress including an annual spring waterfowl survey in the Rainwater Basin region and an inventory of eastern red cedar in the Central Loess Hills.