Cooperative Research Units
Education, Research And Technical Assistance For Managing Our Natural Resources
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Better soil for birds


June 2013 - May 2016


The primary outcome objective is to provide landowners enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) in Nebraska’s Niobrara Valley with a better understanding of how four, major mid-contract management activities impact key attributes of soil health.

As landowners and managers are faced with the arduous task of weighing the various economic and ecological tradeoffs of different mid-contract management strategies, soil health is often overlooked with potentially detrimental consequences for the long-term value and resilience of their land. This is especially important as landowners are faced with the option to re-enroll in CRP, with uncertain climatic and economic futures looming on the horizon. We believe that our work will render CRP lands more valuable and resilient over the long-term for private landowners by incorporating soil ecological knowledge into more recent management objectives that often focus exclusively on promoting short-term upland bird habitat.

More specifically, our research objectives include:
1. Tracking and establishing a set of measurable soil health attributes as identified by private landowners, and how they are differentially impacted by the four major mid-contract management strategies; and
2. Providing applicable, relevant information to private landowners, land managers and USDA NRCS personnel in an effort to promote smarter, adaptive management decisions that balance short- and long-term objectives to meet CRP contract requirements and landowner-desired outcomes alike.


Current Staff

Federal Staff: 3

Masters Students: 8

Phd Students: 12

Post Docs: 2

University Staff: 11

5 Year Summary

Students graduated: 38

Scientific Publications: 117

Presentations: 178



Funding Agencies

  • Nebraska Game and Parks Commission


Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Cooperators

  1. Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
  2. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  3. U.S. Geological Survey
  4. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  5. Wildlife Management Institute