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

August 2010

In This Issue:

  1. Executive Director Corner
  2. Wetlands Rehabilitation at Millard High School
  3. The Crane Trust Fits Nine Endangered Whooping Crane Chicks With GPS Transmitters
  4. Nebraska Environmental Trust to Award Bonus Points to Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Southwestern and North Central Nebraska Projects
  5. Grants Deadline for 2011 Cycle Coming Up!
  6. Paul Dunn Elected to Nebraska Environmental Trust Board Chair
  7. Upcoming Events


Executive Director Corner

It is time for the State Fair already.  The Trust will have a booth set up in the Exposition Building. Sheila and I will be staffing the booth and watching over other booths on Sunday, August 29th from 10 am to 9 pm. We will be at the booth randomly other days, so stop by and pick up the latest information and visit with us if we are present.  There are many ag resource related booths set up in the Exposition Building and the agencies and organizations take turns overseeing the booths.

The September 7th grant deadline is here and we will be busy logging in applications and beginning the review process.  It is always interesting seeing the great projects and ideas that are submitted.

The Nebraska Lottery is seeing record sales as a result of adding the “Mega Millions” in Nebraska and several scratch ticket games that have been very successful.  The “Larry the Cable Guy” scratch ticket proved to be very popular this summer as well as the annual favorite “Truck$ & Buck$”. 

The Trust Board held its 3rd quarter meeting at the E.K. and Mary Yanney Heritage Park just west of Kearney on July 29th and 30th and the next meeting will be November 9th in Lincoln.

I think we are all looking forward to some cooler weather and the football and volleyball seasons.  Enjoy the bit of summer left!  

Mark A. Brohman
Executive Director


Wetlands Rehabilitation at Millard High School

(Submitted by Earlene Uhrig, Science Teacher, Environmental Club Sponsor )

The Trust funded the Wetlands Rehabilitation project in 2009. The main objective of the project was to expand the learning environment for science and non-science students, including those with disabilities, by rehabilating the school's wetland and creating an outdoor classroom. The project's goal was to increase community awareness of how wetlands contribute to the quality of life in the global environment. Trust funds were used specifically in the wetland rehabilitation initiative.



The rehabilitated wetland and new rain garden at Millard West are currently used by biology classes to study plants, invertebrates and vertebrates during April and May of 2010.  During the summer, students began cattail management projects, conducted preliminary water testing, and weeded the rain garden.  Teachers, adult volunteers, UNL staff, and UNO staff were involved in summer weed management of the prairie, which will be necessary until the grasses establish.  Millard West students and science staff will be involved during the fall of 2010 with algae management, cattail management experiments, and continued weed control for the prairie grasses.


The Crane Trust Fits Nine Endangered Whooping Crane Chicks
With GPS Transmitters

(Article and Photo submitted by Felipe Chavez-Ramirez, PhD)

In a historic moment for whooping crane conservation efforts and for the Crane Trust, nine whooping crane chicks were fitted with GPS transmitter equipment in the Northwest Territories of Canada the first week of August.  The Crane Trust Director of Science, Dr. Felipe Chavez-Ramirez led a team of scientists into the wet and brushy substrate of Wood Buffalo National Park.  “It was an intense experience flying in a helicopter to locate the chicks and then being let down to pursue and capture them on the ground,” stated Chavez-Ramirez.  He added, “There are no roads in this area and the terrain is difficult to walk in much less run.”  The last time whooping cranes had been trapped in Wood Buffalo National Park was in the mid 1980’s.

The team was particularly proud of keeping to a self-imposed time constraint to reduce stress on the chicks.  The longest pursuit, including handling time of any bird was just 22 minutes!  Each chick was measured and weighed, fitted with a telemetry device, and checked by a veterinarian.
Telemetry Project Background

In the fall of 2008 the International Whooping Crane Recovery Team authorized Dr. Chavez-Ramirez, to capture and fit whooping cranes with GPS radio-transmitters for tracking purposes.  Despite the well-publicized plight of the species (only 260 wild whooping cranes remain) we still do not know the main cause or locations of mortality that occurs during the migration period.  Migration period mortality accounts for more than 80% of annual mortality for whooping cranes. 

During the winter of 2009, the Crane Trust successfully trapped two adult whooping cranes and fitted them with satellite GPS transmitters.  This was a historic moment for the CraneTrust as no wild whooping cranes had ever been trapped for research purposes in the United States.  These birds migrated successfully to Canada and we have exciting data regarding their movements and roosting preferences.

This telemetry project will document whooping crane movements throughout the entire migratory route and help the Trust identify actual or potential causes of mortality.  All locations where cranes land will be evaluated to better define what habitat characteristics whooping cranes want and need during their migration.  The Trust will also conduct an assessment of actual or potential threats present at each locality that may affect cranes. For example, we will track the distance to disturbance factors such as roads and urban development and distance to power lines where potential deadly collisions could occur.  

Over the next three years, the Crane Trust hopes to place telemetry equipment on 60 individual whooping cranes.  


Dr Felipe Chavez-Ramirez and Jessica Rempel, color banding whooping crane chick (by Rhona Kendop)

The Crane Trust’s mission is to protect and enhance habitat for cranes and other migratory birds along the Big Bend region of the Platte River in Nebraska.


Nebraska Environmental Trust to Award Bonus Points to Douglas and Sarpy Counties, Southwestern and North Central Nebraska Projects

In a continuing effort to support natural resource projects across Nebraska, the board of the Nebraska Environmental Trust will award bonus points to 2011 grant applicants in three of the seven geographical areas across the state. The geographical map of Nebraska showing the seven districts can be seen on the Trust website at: www.environmentaltrust.org .

Projects based in District 5 (southwest) and District 6 (North Central) will be eligible for 20 bonus points and those based in District 2 (Douglas and Sarpy Counties) are eligible for 10 bonus points in the 2011 grant cycle.

By law, the Nebraska Environmental Trust is required to ensure a geographic mix of projects over time. Geographic bonus points allow the Trust board to evaluate which areas are in need of Trust grant funds and provide an incentive to increase applications from deficient areas. District 5 has received $12,862,633 in grants from the Nebraska Environmental Trust while District 6 has received $11,869,409 and District 2, $14,691,755 since Trust grants began in 1994.


Grants Deadline for 2011 Cycle is Coming Up!

Applicants are reminded that the Grants Deadline for the 2011 Grants Cycle is coming up. Deadline for submission of grants is September 7, 2010 (Tuesday).

There are two options for submission of a completed application:

Electronic submission - The Trust will accept submission of an application using our electronic application form. The electronic submission must be received by the Trust by midnight CDT on the application deadline date and a hard copy of the application must be received by the Trust no later than 5.00 p.m. CDT on the Friday following the deadline date.

The electronic submission must be complete and include all information required in a hard copy submission except that which is not physically possible to include e.g., signed letters. Completed applications can be e-mailed to Lisa Beethe, Grants Administrator. The electronic form is available for download on the Trust's website.

Hard-copy submission - The Trust will also accept traditional submissions of applications. One copy of the completed application must be postmarked on or before the application deadline date. Hard copy submissions should be mailed to: The Nebraska Environmental Trust, P.O. Box 94913, Lincoln, NE 68509-4913.

The Preliminary Recommendations List will be released on February 3, 2011 following the 1st Quarter Board Meeting and the final grant awards will be made on April 7, 2011 at the 2nd Quarter Board Meeting.


Board Member Feature - Paul Dunn Elected to Nebraska Environmental Trust Board Chair


Paul Dunn of Omaha was recently named Board Chair of the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board at the Third Quarter Meeting held in Kearney on July 30. A representative of the State’s second district, he was first appointed to the Board in April 1999; Mr. Dunn is currently in his second six-year term.

Mark Brohman, Executive Director for the Trust said, “The Trust has certainly gained from Mr. Dunn's knowledge, experience and commitment. He has been an asset to the Trust and has a wealth of information on environmental and recycling issues. We look forward to his term as the new Board Chair. Mr. Dunn has served as Trust Board Chair several times and has always done an impeccable job in his duties.”

Commenting on his recent election, Mr. Dunn said, “It is an honor to serve on the Nebraska Environmental Trust Board. Never has a volunteer endeavor been so enjoyable and educational. Not a meeting goes by that I don’t learn something from one of my fellow board members.”

Mr. Dunn has been the Recycling Coordinator for the City of Omaha since the fall of 1994. From 1991 to 1994, Mr. Dunn held the position of Commercial Recycling Coordinator with Orange Community Recycling in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In Omaha, his work focuses on promoting Omaha’s curbside recycling program and other environmental activities including writing and designing the City’s direct mail publication, Wasteline.  Dunn was the lead staff person in designing and developing the regional household hazardous waste facility, UnderTheSink that is owned and operated by the City of Omaha on behalf of the residents in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.  Dunn was born and raised in Lincoln and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. While taking classes for a master’s degree in Community and Regional Planning, he served as an intern with Lincoln’s Recycling Office. Dunn has served on the National Waste Prevention Coalition’s Junk Mail Task Force, the board of the Nebraska State Recycling Association and been a presenter at the National Recycling Congress and Exhibition, the Nebraska Safety and Health Summit and the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials. 

The Trust Board is comprised of 14 members representing the State of Nebraska and its citizens. Nine citizen representatives are appointed by the Governor to serve six year terms. Three representatives are chosen from each congressional district, serve without pay and represent a wide variety of natural resource interests. Five agency directors make up the remaining seats on the board to provide coordination with existing state resources. A staff of five handles the day-to-day activities of the organization.


Upcoming Events    

-August 27 to September 6, 2010 - Nebraska State Fair, Grand Island

-September 7, 2010 - 2011 Grants Deadline

-September 14-16, 2010 - Husker Harvest Days, Grand Island

-September 18-19, 2010 - Missouri River Outdoor Expo, Ponca

-September 19, 2010 - World O! Water Festival, Omaha


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