Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District

Quick Facts

Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District


(308) 236-5015

Map Directions

Things To Do


The Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District (WMD) staff manages 61 tracts of wetland, totaling 23,059 acres, scattered more than 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska. The 61 areas, known as Waterfowl Production Areas (WPAs), are located in a geographic area known as the Rainwater Basin. Its name originates from the geologic formation of large, wind-blown shallow depressions, which become flooded after rain and snow melt. Historically, approximately 4,000 such wetlands existed. Today, less than 10 percent remain. To protect these areas, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has purchased some of the more prominent remaining basins using revenue from the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp Program (Duck Stamp). WPAs are managed to provide a resting stop for millions of migratory water birds. Today, 90% of the continental population of white-fronted geese, nearly 50% of the continental mallard population, and 30% of the continental pintail population use the Rainwater Basin for rest and food. Many types of shorebirds migrate through the area during April and May and again in August and September. Some common shorebird species include yellowlegs, dowitchers, Wilson's phalarope, pectoral sandpiper, common snipe, and peeps, a name for the smallest shorebirds. The Rainwater Basin lies immediately south of the Platte River and complements the river in providing spring migration habitat for 500,000 sandhill cranes.

Map of Rainwater Basin Wetland Management District

Latitude, Longitude: 40.701008, -99.060974



  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Access to areas by buses and vans is by county roads with parking available at each area.

  • Fishing

    Although the WPAs are open to fishing, fishing opportunities are extremely limited. Many of the wetlands dry frequently enough to keep a fishery from becoming established. Some deeper areas support a limited bullhead and carp fishery.

  • Hiking

    Nature trails and viewing blinds are available on the more prominent wetlands for interpretation. Literature specific to the individual WPAs is not available at this time.

  • Hunting

    All WPAs are open to hunting in accordance with all Federal and state regulations. Shallow water with good interspersion of aquatic vegetation and large concentrations of birds makes these areas excellent for waterfowl hunting. Huge concentrations of snow geese occur in the region each spring, providing some of the best snow goose hunting in United States. WPAs also provide pheasant and white-tailed deer hunting opportunities. Trapping is allowed. Please contact Rainwater Basin WMD staff for complete regulations.

Park Partners

Rainwater Basin Joint Venture

The Joint Venture provides partnership structure for agencies, non-governmental organizations, landowners, and farmers to address natural resource issues through projects that also improve migratory bird habitat. From its inception, conservation organizations, private citizens, business and industry have been equal partners with state and federal wildlife agencies in this Joint Venture. Providing incentives for landowners to manage their land for waterfowl has been the key to its success.

(308) 382-8112



The 61 WPAs in Rainwater Basin WMD are scattered throughout 14 counties in southeastern Nebraska, extending from Gosper County in the west to Seward County in the east. Please contact Rainwater Basin WMD staff for directions to a specific WPA.

Phone Numbers


(308) 236-5015