Conserving Playas Provides Lush Grazing and Bird Habitat

Dec 8, 2015

Credit Luke Runyon/Harvest Public Media

Shaw Family Farms produces 1,000 calves a year. The cows and those calves require lots of forage. A field under crop production has several playa lakes, and that often made farming the field a challenging proposition.

The Shaws fenced-off 80 acres, developed those resident playas by restoring natural hydrology and planting grass buffers. They further enhanced the parcel by planting a variety of grasses and forbs to attract bugs and birds, then put the land in a permanent conservation easement. Cost-share funding to achieve the project came from a North American Wetland Conservation Act grant, a Nebraska Environmental Trust grant, and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Cows/calves are grazing the wetland parcel and bugs and birds are attracted to the forbs and seeds.


Andy Bishop
Rainwater Basin Joint Venture

Brian Shaw
Fairfield, NE

Produced by Playa Lakes Joint Venture.