Forestry, Parks & Recreation

Forestry, Parks & Recreation

Parks and Recreation 

As part of its mission to conserve and protect natural resources, the Upper Big Blue NRD has been involved in several large-scale dam and reservoir projects since 1983.  These multi-purpose projects are designed for flood and erosion control, groundwater recharge and used in progressive groundwater research.  

As a result, the additional benefit of these projects is the opportunity for outdoor recreation.  The NRD has developed five recreation areas that are open to the public year round. These sites also provide habitat for wildlife.  Area residents can enjoy activities, such as camping, fishing, boating, hiking, as well as winter sports such as skiing, sledding, tobogganing, snowshoeing, snowmobile riding and ice skating.

Forestry

Conservation Tree Sales

Conservation Tree Sales
Conservation Tree Sales
Under the NRD’s seedling sales program, tree and shrub stock is provided to district patrons at the lowest possible cost. In order to assure quality stock, seedlings are kept in a refrigerated state prior to delivery to the customer. The Forestry Department staff can design custom planting plans, and custom planting can also be arranged through the department. More info at www.upperbigblue.org/Trees.

The Upper Big Blue NRD sells tree and shrub seedlings each winter through early spring. The trees and shrubs are typically planted for farmstead and field windbreaks, and wildlife habitat areas. Trees and shrubs are also planted to develop riparian buffer strips under the Conservation Reserve Program. The NRD staff will plant trees for customers at a nominal cost and can custom design tree and shrub planting plans. The tree planting season generally begins in April and is completed in June of each year.

Community Native Grass Resources Program

Community Native Grass Resources Program
Community Native Grass Resources Program
Native Nebraska grasses such as Little Bluestem are being planted through the Community Native Grass Program. The program is designed to establish native grasses in lands surrounding wastewater treatment lagoons, Wellhead Protection Areas, and lands suitable for wildlife habitat improvement. A city, village, or public entity must submit a viable plan for planting. This plan must include the number of acres to be planted, seeding mixture to be applied, planting map, planting completion timetable, and a cost estimate of the total project. The entity must sign an agreement that it will maintain the planting for a five-year minimum. 

Wildlife Habitat Establishment and Improvement

Wildlife Habitat Establishment and Improvement
Wildlife Habitat Establishment and Improvement
The District cooperates with the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission and Pheasants Forever on programs to create and enhance wildlife habitat. Federal agencies administer habitat development programs including the Conservation Reserve Program, Wetland Reserve Program, Partners for Wildlife, and the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program. State agency programs that the Upper Big Blue NRD works with include: WILD Nebraska, Wetland Initiative Program, Conservation Reserve Program-Management Access Program, Seasonal Habitat Improvement Program, Cooperative Roadside Seeding Program, Upland Habitat Initiative, Wildlife Shelterbelt Program and the Living Snow Fence Program. All of these programs work for the improvement of wildlife habitat by providing nesting, roosting, shelter, and food storage. They also work to control soil erosion and generally enhance the aesthetics of the areas that qualify for program inclusion. 

Community Tree Resources Program for Cities, Villages and Parks

Community Tree Resources Program for Cities, Villages and Parks
Community Tree Resources Program for Cities, Villages and Parks
This program offers financial assistance to communities for the development or improvement of city, village, and park tree resources. Two levels of participation are offered. The first level (CTR-I) encourages cities and villages to develop a new tree improvement program which qualifies them for a “Tree City USA” designation. A higher level of District assistance is available to communities, which make such a commitment. A second level of assistance (CTR-II) is available to cities, villages and other public entities, which have developed a specific plan for tree replacement or new plantings. A five-year plan and an annual budget for tree resources improvement are required.

Corners for Wildlife

Corners for Wildlife
Corners for Wildlife
Corners For Wildlife gives landowners the option of enrolling in a conservation program to help establish wildlife habitat on center pivot corners not capable of sustaining high yields when planted to row crops. Pivot corners containing native grasses and/or trees are not eligible for the program as the goal of the program is to create wildlife habitats where there are none. Corners For Wildlife becomes a win/win situation in which landowners benefit by converting crop-less pivot corners into a wildlife sanctuary and receive payment for doing so. At the same time, wildlife wins because a substantial habitat has been created. Sponsoring organizations of Corners For Wildlife are Pheasants Forever, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, the Nebraska Environmental Trust, and the Upper Big Blue NRD.

Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and WILD Nebraska

Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and WILD Nebraska
Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program and WILD Nebraska
Through the private lands portion of the Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP), landowners receive cost-share assistance to create wildlife habitat and enhance or protect existing habitat. Many of Nebraska’s Natural Resources Districts have cooperated with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission from the very beginning to make this an excellent program and partnership. WHIP participants receive varying annual payments depending on the type of habitat created. 

The Upper Big Blue NRD and Nebraska Game & Parks Commission cooperate on the WILD Nebraska Program to develop, manage, and enhance wildlife habitat in response to declining wildlife populations. Participating landowners are offered financial assistance to establish new wildlife habitat areas and improve existing habitat locales.

Storm Damage Tree Replacement Program

Storm Damage Tree Replacement Program
Storm Damage Tree Replacement Program
The Storm Damage Tree Replacement Program is designed to encourage replacement plantings of trees and shrubs damaged or destroyed due to tornados, strong winds, hail, and ice storms. The program is designed to encourage plantings which provide public and private benefits. Cost-share funding will be considered for 4’ – 8’ nursery stock replacement trees. This program is not for replacement of trees that have been damaged or have died due to winter kill, disease, or insects. Cost-share through this program is not available for the removal of damaged or dead trees, stump removal or maintenance.