GET INVOLVED! The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission offers various opportunities for the public to get involved in conservation efforts.
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Nebraska is a large, deceptively diverse state. Nebraska is a mixing ground where mid-continental species merge. Eastern woodland species like wild columbine are found along our eastern border, while big horn sheep scramble through the western escarpments, and meadowlarks sing throughout Nebraska’s grasslands. Shorebirds and waterfowl rely on our many wetlands during migration. Nebraska can be divided into four ecoregions: tallgrass prairie, mixedgrass prairie, sandhills and shortgrass prairie. Embedded in these ecoregions are Nebraska’s 83 natural plant communities including eastern sedge wet meadow and sandsage prairie. Nebraska has at least 60 amphibian and reptile species, 80 fish species, 400 bird species, 85 mammal species, 32 mollusk species, 1470 plant species and tens of thousands of invertebrate species. The thousands of plants and animal species that make their home in Nebraska form our biodiversity.
Unfortunately, populations of many once common species have declined because of a variety of stresses, including habitat loss and degradation, diseases and invasive species. Nebraska’s biodiversity forms Nebraska’s natural heritage – a legacy that should be treasured just as we do our cultural heritage. As stewards for the next generation, it is our responsibility to ensure the treasures that were handed to us by nature and our predecessors are still here for future Nebraskans.
What is biodiversity conservation?
Nebraska’s biodiversity includes thousands of species. Conservation of Nebraska’s biodiversity strives to:
- Maintain the diversity and abundance of Nebraska’s fish, wildlife and their habitats.
- Preserve or increase populations of Nebraska’s endangered and threatened species of wildlife and plants.
- Broaden and promote appreciation and support and for Nebraska’s wildlife.
The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission strives to conserve Nebraska’s biodiversity through the following tactics:
Conservation actions build the resiliency of Nebraska’s ecosystems by enhancing habitats. Enhancing habitat typically benefits a multitude of species. For example, high-diversity prairie seeding helps the rare regal fritillary and more common game species such as greater prairie chicken.
Special consideration has to be given to the very rare species. Those species that face extinction are a high priority, so considerable effort is devoted to preventing future threatened and endangered species listings, and to recover species such that they can be removed from these two categories. The very rare species may exist in limited locations, so more targeted conservation is necessary to be effective.
Many native species have disappeared from Nebraska, and reintroduction will be necessary to restore them as viable components of the state’s fauna and flora. Reintroductions will be made only if habitat capable of supporting a self-sustaining population still exists, or if it is economically feasible to restore the needed habitat.
In a constantly changing world, there is a continual need to collect and evaluate the status of our species and their habitats. Population information is used to make decisions regarding habitat improvements, shared with other state and federal agencies that have an impact on the environment, provides the foundation for environmental impact analyses and guides harvest decisions.
Conservation projects, successes and information learned are shared with Nebraskans so together we are equipped to deliver responsible conservation.