Partnership helps manage piping plovers, terns

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Partnership helps manage piping plovers, terns

Piping plover

A University of Nebraska–Lincoln project to protect terns and plovers received a $21,884 grant from the Nebraska Environmental Trust.

Management of piping plovers and interior least terns happens in areas used by people for jobs, housing and recreation. Balancing the needs of private citizens, property owners, industry and these birds is a challenge.

Mark Vrtiska

“Bridging the gap between birds and people is what the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership does best,” said Mark Vrtiska, professor of practice of natural resources and project lead. “We work at sand and gravel mines, lakeshore housing developments and sandbars along the lower Platte, Loup and Elkhorn rivers.

“The recovery and delisting of these birds largely depends on the productivity of birds nesting at these sites. The partnership is a team of experienced biologists and students implementing our management and monitoring efforts. The TPCP immerses students in the conservation situations they will experience in their careers and teaches them how to work cooperatively for the benefit of species and people. The TPCP helps ensure the survival of these two species and the economic success of the people who share their landscape.”

In addition, he said, the project helps train the next generation of conservation professionals.

The project is one of 23 Husker projects receiving more than $2.1 million from NET this year. In total, NET awarded 113 grants totaling more than $18 million in 2021.

The Nebraska Legislature created the NET in 1992. Using revenue from the Nebraska Lottery, the trust has provided more than $349 million in grants to more than 2,400 projects across the state. Anyone — citizens, organizations, communities, farmers and businesses — can apply for funding to protect habitat, improve water quality and establish recycling programs in Nebraska. The NET works to preserve, protect and restore the state’s natural resources for future generations.

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