LINCOLN – Users of the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge will continue to see construction and equipment along public roads and trails until freeze-up as an aquatic habitat project progresses there.
Road and trail closures could occur for short periods as the project progresses. Access for ice fishing this winter should not be affected.
The project focus is to address the presence of invasive common carp in the system and prevent their passage through existing water control structures.
Control structures, berm improvements, fish barriers and dredging were planned at Watts, Hackberry, Dewey, Whitewater, Clear, Pelican and Willow lakes. Work has progressed and construction has been partially completed at Watts, Pelican, Whitewater, Dewey and Hackberry Lakes. A water control structure and barrier near completion at Willow Lake is designed to limit upstream carp movement and reduce numbers of carp migrating into the refuge lakes.
Progress has been made with channel clean-out between the lakes by using heavy equipment for excavation and a hydraulic dredge. This will allow U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists to more effectively manage lake water levels to enhance sport fish populations and waterfowl habitat in the future.
The project is a partnership between the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, using Aquatic Habitat Program funds, and the USFWS.
For more information, call Game and Parks’ Zac Brashears at 402-376-8080 or Mark Porath at 402-471-5583. For information on the project or the refuge, call Juancarlos Giese at 402-376-1889 or visit: http://www.fws.gov/refuge/valentine.