US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version



The Rainwater Basin of south central Nebraska has attracted millions of migratory birds each spring for generations. During migration, millions of snow geese, Canada geese, white-fronted geese, ducks, and 1/2-million sandhill cranes use the Rainwater Basin and the adjacent Platte River. The shallow wetland basins and surrounding croplands of the area provide the birds with critical resting and feeding sites during their migration north. The Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs) of the Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District (WMD) are managed as grassland-playa lake ecosystems. The Rainwater Basin WMO staff currently manages 59 WPAs in the Rainwater Basin. Most of the WPAs must undergo extensive restoration to provide quality habitat for the millions of migrating birds. To restore wetlands, WMD staff employ a variety of management techniques such as pumping groundwater, prescribed burning, grazing, filling in pits, removing trees, and clearing non-native plants. These lands. once used for agricultural purposes, are now reseeded to recover the native plant communities. The species listed in this leaflet have all been observed in the WPAs. All species names are in accordance with the A.O.U. Check-list of North American Birds 7th edition, 1998. For clarity, some of the former names are shown in parentheses.