A Monthly Publication of the Nebraska Environmental Trust

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Dave Heineman, Governor

Board of Trustees

District I
District II
District III

Agency Directors

Trust Staff

September 2012

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director's Corner
  2. Trust Invites Comments on 2013 Grant Applications
  3. Community CROPS Growing Farmer's Training Program
  4. Update on 2nd and 3rd Quarter Public Information and Education Grant Report
  5. Flood Control Reservoir Named after Vince Kramper
  6. RALPH W. SCHREIBER Conservation Award, 2012
  7. Upcoming Events
  8. Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and find us on YouTube


Executive Director Corner

The 2013 grant applications are in.  We received 109 new applications, which is 16 more than last year and one less than in 2009 and 2010 when we received 110 applications.  The total request this year was $47.5M compared to almost $55M the two previous years.  So I guess you can conclude there is a similar demand as far as the number of requests, but for a little less money.  You can go to our website and take a look at the grant descriptions that were submitted.  Now we begin to assign grants to reviewers and then the Grants Committee will go to work ranking the applications.

There are a couple of items in this issue I want to comment on at this time.  We are very proud of one of our board members for a recent honor.  We just learned that Vince Kramper, the past chairman of our board, was honored by the Board of the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District by naming the Pigeon/Jones Creek Watershed flood control reservoir after him.  Vince was instrumental in getting the project completed and it is a well-deserved honor.  He and his wife Dorothy have done so much for northeast Nebraska and the entire state.  It is gratifying to see their name being placed on the lake.

I also want to congratulate Dr. Paul Johnsgard for receiving the prestigious 2012 Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award.  This award represents a lifetime of work by an incredible individual.  I first met Dr. Johnsgard in the summer of 1983 while taking Ornithology from him at Cedar Point Biological Field Station near Lake McConaughy.  He has been an inspiration and friend ever since.  His academic career spans a lifetime and he has influenced so many students, both undergraduates and graduates.  His writing is unparalleled and he also takes serious an obligation to speak out for the environment and all wildlife.  From letters to the editor, to testifying at the Nebraska Unicameral, Paul has had a profound impact on Nebraska and the entire country.  He is known internationally for his research and writings. 

It has been a busy couple of weeks with the grant deadline, the Nebraska State Fair, Husker Harvest Days and the Ponca Outdoor Expo.  There have been a few rains, but for the most part the state is very dry as the drought persists and the summer fires linger in our minds.  Hopefully we will get some timely snows and attempt to get some soil moisture before the growing season next spring. 

Here is to a safe harvest, no more wild fires and some fall precipitation.

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Trust Invites Comments on 2013 Grant Applications

The Nebraska Environmental Trust entered the 2013 grant cycle on September 4, 2012 receiving 109 new applications and 47 carry-over projects requesting a total of $47,590,162 in grants. Last year the Trust received 93 new applications and 45 carry-over projects.

As part of the grant application process, the Trust invites members of the public to review the proposed grants and provide written comments about the projects. A summary of each proposal will be available soon on the Trust’s web site www.environmentaltrust.org. Comments on the grant applications will be accepted until April 4, 2013 at the Nebraska Environmental Trust, 700 S 16th Street, PO Box 94913, Lincoln, NE 68509-4913 or via e-mail to marilyn.tabor@nebraska.gov.


Community CROPS Growing Farmer's Training Program - Warren Kittler, Growing Farmers Training Manager

The Community CROPS Growing Farmers Training Program supports beginning specialty-crop growers as they develop successful small farm businesses in southeast Nebraska. The program runs a nine-week winter workshop series to help growers develop strong business and production plans. Last winter, thirty people attended one or more of these workshops, and twenty people went on to start small farm businesses in our state. The core of the Growing Farmers Training Program, however, is the training farm in Lincoln. At the training farm, beginning growers rent small plots of land for up to three years and develop their businesses with the support of Community CROPS staff. During their time on the farm, growers have access to growing supplies, custom tractor work, coolers for harvested vegetables, and cold frames for starting transplants. Moreover, CROPS connects growers to markets like farmers' markets, grocery stores, and restaurants to sell their produce. Most of the growers in the Growing Farmers Training Program have low income and would not be able to farm without the resources and networking provided by Community CROPS. The Nebraska Environmental Trust helped these beginning growers receive drip irrigation systems to help conserve water. The grant also covered workshops, one-on-one training, small hand tools, and an outdoor classroom. The Trust's investment has made a lasting impact in the lives of these beginning growers, and it has helped increase the amount of locally- and sustainably-grown vegetables in southeast Nebraska.


First-year grower Baoxia Shen installs a bamboo trellis for her cucumbers alongside CROPS AmeriCorps member Margaret Milligan


Upate on 2nd and 3rd Quarter Public Information and Education Grant Report

Report by Cecilia Dorn - Nebraska Academy of Sciences

The Nebraska Academy of Sciences (NAS) received eight applications for the second quarter 2012 PIE minigrant program.  Applications were received from Grand Island Community Foundation-Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival; Prescribed Burn Task Force-Delivering Effective Prescribed Burn Schools in Central NE; The Nature Conservancy-Have You Seen Mary? Book Project; Wachiska Audubon Society-Prairie Days: Discovering the Tallgrass Around Us; WasteCap Nebraska, INC.-2012 Sustainability Summit; Board of Regents, UNL-Backyard Bird Feeding Z-mag; Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway-Exploring Natural Treasures Along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Childrens Book; and Community CROPS-VegFest 2012.  Requests totaled $19,630.00.  Four grants were awarded: Grand Island Community Foundation-Nebraska Children’s Groundwater Festival; Prescribed Burn Task Force-Delivering Effective Prescribed Burn Schools in Central NE; WasteCap Nebraska, INC.-2012 Sustainability Summit; and Community CROPS-VegFest 2012 for a total of $14,970.

Third quarter applications were due July 6, 2012.  Five applications were received from: Center for Rural Affairs, Conservation and Nebraska’s Women Landowners; Pioneers Park Nature Center, Backyard Bird Habitat; University of Nebraska-Lincoln, The Conservation and Mgt. of Dung Beetles in Nebraska; The Groundwater Foundation, Groundwater Basics Brochure; and Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Sustainability in Nebraska.  Center for Rural Affairs, Conservation and Nebraska’s Women Landowners; The Groundwater Foundation, Groundwater Basics Brochure; and Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Sustainability in Nebraska were awarded grants totaling $9,000.  The next grant deadline is October 5th, 2012.  Grant forms and information can be found on our website, www.neacadsci.org.  Click on Information and then click on PIE Grants. 


Flood Control Reservoir Named After Vince Kramper

The Board of the Papio-Missouri NRD voted to name the Pigeon/Jones Creek Watershed flood control reservoir under construction near Hubbard NE after Dakota County resident Vince Kramper. Kramper is a member of the NE Environmental Trust Board and former member of the NE Natural Resources Commission and the Papio-Missouri River NRD Board. When completed, Kramper Lake will be 226 acres surrounded by over 500 acres of park land. The Board also voted to name the park Danish Alps Recreation Area, recognizing that the surrounding hilly terrain is reminiscent of the Danish homeland and the immigrants who settled in this area. “Vince Kramper was very instrumental in helping the NRD secure needed funding and led the effort to inform local residents of the project’s multiple benefits and to enlist their support,” said NRD Manager, John Winkler. “We greatly appreciate his effort on this and many NRD conservation projects over the years,” he said.

Construction of the reservoir and downstream levee work is part of a comprehensive watershed plan that will provide flood control, recreation, erosion control, sediment control and grade stabilization benefits in the 20,316 acre Pigeon/Jones Creek Watershed in Dakota County. Future recreational opportunities at Kramper Lake will include “no wake” boating, fishing, 5 miles of hiking and biking trails, 10 miles of equestrian trails, mountain biking trails, separate RV campgrounds, equestrian campgrounds and tent campgrounds.
Flood and sediment control benefits will be realized by this time next summer on thousands of acres of irrigated cropland in the Missouri River bottomlands, where the combined Pigeon and Jones Creeks empty into the Pigeon Creek Levee System. Opening of the recreation area for public use is currently anticipated for the fall of 2015. 


RALPH W. SCHREIBER Conservation Award, 2012

The 2012 Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award was presented to Paul A. Johnsgard for his outstanding contributions to the conservation of the Great Plains of North America. Few living ornithologists have written as widely about birds, been more instrumental in promoting awareness of birds generally and the Great Plains avifauna specifically, or have influenced the public more than Paul A. Johnsgard. 

The Great Plains of North America is one of the most imperiled landscapes in the world. The birds that depend upon these fragile habitats are being lost. Without the support of the public, policy-makers, local governments and others, no conservation program can hope to be successful. This support can only be garnered through education, as people will only conserve what they understand and appreciate. Through his lifetime of writing, photography, drawing, lecturing, teaching, research, and television productions, Paul A. Johnsgard has tirelessly presented a message of how important it is to understand, appreciate and conserve the birds of the Great Plains and their habitats. Hardly any ornithologist alive today has reached as many readers with the important message that nature is exciting and that our rich natural heritage must be preserved for future generations.

Following a M.S. at Washington State University, Paul completed Ph.D. training at Cornell University with Charles Sibley (having a major role in the development of Sibley’s pioneering work on the use of egg-white proteins for avian taxonomy), and later did a postdoctoral fellowship at the Wildfowl Trust in the UK. Paul’s initial scientific interests were in the evolutionary relationships among waterfowl species with a later focus on the ethology of pair formation behavior, especially in Mallards and Black Ducks.  He also did work on eiders and various little-known Australian and South American ducks. 

Paul has been an eloquent spokesman for appreciation and preservation of the Great Plains throughout his career. Following his appointment as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, the magnificent prairies and wetlands of the Great Plains kindled Paul’s interest in prairie grouse, Sandhill Cranes, and Snow Geese.  Paul authored three books, Song of the North Wind (1974), Those of the Gray Wind (1981) and Crane Music (1991), detailing the fascinating natural history of these species and conveying to non-scientists the majestic spectacle of their migration across the Great Plains.  These books served to market the great spring migration along the Platte River and Rainwater Basins, promoting the conservation of these critically important staging areas.

Paul’s books,  The Platte: Channels in Time (1984), Prairie Children, Mountain Dreams (1985), This Fragile Land: A Natural History of the Nebraska Sandhills (1995), Earth, Water, and Sky: A Naturalist’s Stories and Sketches (1999), The Nature of Nebraska (2001), Great Wildlife of the Great Plains (2003), Lewis and Clark on the Great Plains (2003), Faces of the Great Plains (2003), Prairie Dog Empire: A Saga of the Shortgrass Prairie (2004), The Niobrara: A River Running Through Time (2007), and Wind Through the Buffalo Grass (2008),  have served to enlighten the public about the grandeur of the prairie landscape and intimate relationship of people with the prairie. Birds of the Great Plains (1979), Prairie Birds: Fragile Splendor in the Great Plains (2001) and Grassland Grouse and their Conservation (2002) have raised awareness of these imperiled birds and the often forgotten landscape in which they live.

In addition to books written for the general public, Paul has written many frequently cited monographs including Handbook of Waterfowl Behavior (1965), Animal Behavior (1967), Waterfowl: Their Biology and Natural History (1968), Waterfowl of North America (1975), The Bird Decoy  (1976), Ducks, Geese, and Swans of the World  (1978), A Guide to North American Waterfowl  (1979), Waterfowl of North America (1987), Ducks in the Wild  (1993), Ruddy Ducks and other Stifftails  (1996), Grouse and Quails of North America (1973), The Plovers, Sandpipers, and Snipes of the World (1981), The Grouse of the World (1983), The Cranes of the World (1983), The Quails, Partridges, and Francolins of the World (1988), The Hummingbirds of North America (1983, 1997), The Pheasants of the World (1986, 1999), Diving Birds of North America (1987), North American Owls (1988, 2002), Hawks, Eagles, and Falcons of North America (1990), Bustards, Hemipodes, and Sandgrouse: Birds of Dry Places (1991), Cormorants, Darters, and Pelicans of the World (1993), Arena Birds (1994), The Avian Brood Parasites (1997), and Trogons and Quetzals of the World (2002). Anyone undertaking studies of birds in the second half of the 20th century prior to the appearance of the Birds of North America series would have consulted Paul’s books as the definitive starting point.


Mark Brohman, Director of NET, took ornithology under Dr. Johnsgard at UNL’s Cedar Point Biological Field Station during the summer of 1983 and it had a profound influence on the young biologist.  They have remained friends ever since.

Paul A. Johnsgard embodies the concept of a distinguished senior scientist who has made important ornithological contributions to his discipline and reached out to wide audiences with the opportunity to learn about the natural world and to argue for its importance and preservation.  Few ornithologists have impacted their colleagues and the general public to the extent as has Paul A. Johnsgard.  The AOU is honored to award Paul A. Johnsgard the Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award for 2012.            

Award Criteria.—The Ralph W. Schreiber Conservation Award recognized extraordinary scientific contributions to the conservation, restoration, or preservation of birds and/or their habitats by an individual or small team (usually fewer than 10 people). Contributions from throughout the world and over any time course are eligible. Appropriate activities include (a) applied research, restoration, and educational actions that conserve birds or preserve significant bird habitats; (b) scientific examination of the principles of avian conservation and application of new insights into species restoration; and (c) scientific evaluation, guidance, creation, and oversight of avian recovery programs or habitat reserve—restoration programs. The award consists of a framed certificate and an honorarium.


Upcoming Events

- November 8, 2012 (Thursday) - Nebraska Environmental Trust 4th Quarter Board Meeting, Ferguson House, Lincoln.

- December 9, 2012 (Sunday) - Ferguson House Christmas Open House, Lincoln. Time: TBA


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