2610 Avenue Q
Kearney, NE 68848
The Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District (WMD) staff manages 61 tracts of wetland, totaling 23,059 acres, scattered more than 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska. The 61 areas, known as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), are located in a geographic area known as the Rainwater Basin. Its name originates from the geologic formation of large, wind-blown shallow depressions, which become flooded after rain and snow melt. Historically, approximately 4,000 such wetlands existed. Today, less than 10 percent remain. To protect these areas, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has purchased some of the more prominent remaining basins using revenue from the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Program (Duck Stamp).WPAs are managed to provide a resting stop for millions of migratory water birds. Today, 90% of the continental population of white-fronted geese, nearly 50% of the continental mallard population, and 30% of the continental pintail population use the Rainwater Basin for rest and food. Many types of shorebirds migrate through the area during April and May and again in August and September. Some common shorebird species include yellowlegs, dowitchers, Wilson's phalarope, pectoral sandpiper, common snipe, and peeps, a name for the smallest shorebirds. The Rainwater Basin lies immediately south of the Platte River and complements the river in providing spring migration habitat for 500,000 sandhill cranes.
Map + Directions
The 61 WPAs in Rainwater Basin WMD are scattered throughout 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska, extending from Gosper County in the west to Seward County in the east. Please contact Rainwater Basin WMD staff for directions to a specific WPA.