Affiliate of the Week: Nebraska Wildlife Federation
In honor of our 80th Anniversary celebration throughout 2016, the National Wildlife Federation is recognizing each of our Affiliate Partners in a special “Affiliate of the Week” blog series that showcases the dedicated conservation efforts taking place across the country each day. This week we celebrate our affiliate, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, and their commitment to wildlife.
Who We Are
From the western shortgrass prairies and the rugged Pine Ridge to the tallgrass prairies and hardwood forests along their eastern border, Nebraska offers essential habitat for a diverse array of fish and wildlife. Elk, pronghorn, prairie chickens, whooping cranes, rainbow trout, river otters, painted turtles, and more all call Nebraska home.
Nebraska is at the crossroads of North America for a multitude of wildlife species. Located at the heart of the Central flyway, tens of millions of various bird species funnel through the state every year on their annual migrations.
Along with conserving these species and their habitat, the Nebraska Wildlife Federation is the voice of people who love Nebraska’s wildlife and wild places. Chartered in 1970, they pursue their environmental mission through outdoor education, fish and wildlife conservation, and advocacy.
What We Do
Nebraska Wildlife Federation is currently at the center of a successful campaign working to move Nebraska’s electric utilities toward a clean energy future. Collaborating with a growing network of conservation, farm, faith, and civic organizations, the campaign has already helped one of the state’s three major electric utilities to get 48 percent of its energy from wind, solar, and landfill gas this year; and a second utility will soon top 33 percent clean energy, with more to come.
The Federation’s fish and wildlife conservation work also helps people make a place for wildlife in their backyards, schoolyards, and communities through educational workshops and the development of model monarch and pollinator gardens. Additionally, they partner with other groups to get kids outside and show them the magic of Nebraska’s great outdoors.
NEWF has been working for decades to protect river flows and water quality in Nebraska’s great rivers: the Platte, Niobrara, and Missouri. They want to ensure that future generations can enjoy the fish, wildlife and recreation the rivers provide.
Making a National Impact
The Central Platte River in Nebraska provides habitat and resources for millions of ducks, geese, and hundreds of other bird species that rely on the river and nearby wetlands during their annual migrations. A half million sandhill cranes, for instance, depend on the Platte River. They roost for weeks every March on sandbars in the Platte’s wide, braided, sandy channels, creating one of the world’s great wildlife migration spectacles.
However, some two thirds of the Central Platte River’s historic flows are now diverted upstream, used in communities along Colorado’s Front Range or on millions of acres of irrigated farmland in Nebraska, Colorado and Wyoming. As flows have shrunk, the once mile-wide channels have shrunk as well, robbing fish and wildlife of critical habitat. Demand for the Platte’s precious waters continues to grow, making Nebraska Wildlife Federation’s work to protect Platte River flows and habitat more important today than ever.
Nebraska Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation have worked for a decade to help negotiate and gain approval for the Platte River Recovery Program, a three-state, basin-wide effort to protect Platte River flows and restore habitat for rare species like the whooping crane, Interior least tern, piping plover and pallid sturgeon. The program, now in its tenth year, has conserved over 10,000 acres of habitat along the Central Platte River and protects river flows critical for fish and wildlife.
Follow Platte River and other wildlife issues in Nebraska by joining their free Wildlife Action Network to get updates and action alerts.