Mayor Don Wesely announced today that the Nebraska Environmental Trust is providing $1.87 million over three years for the Holmes Lake Restoration Project, the Eastern Saline Wetlands Project and the Wilderness South Project. The Trust is providing a total of $575,000 for the three projects this year. The Trust is funded by proceeds of the Nebraska Lottery and private donations and has awarded more than $70 million to conservation projects in Nebraska since 1994.
“These are important projects, but the City does not have the resources to fund them on its own,” said Mayor Wesely. “The Nebraska Environmental Trust has been an outstanding partner in many City projects, and we appreciate its continued support.”
The Holmes Lake Restoration Project will receive $620,000 over three years for the project now under way and for additional wetlands to protect the lake from sediment and urban pollutants. The first year’s funding is $150,000, with $250,000 included in the 2004 grant cycle and $220,000 included in the 2005 year cycle, pending availability of funds. In addition to the City of Lincoln, other funders of the project are the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The Trust has approved $250,000 for the second year of the three-year Eastern Saline Wetlands Project. The total grant is $750,000 over three years. These funds are being matched with about $2 million to acquire saline wetlands and buffer areas around them; to restore saline wetlands; and to fund a coordinator to oversee the project and work with landowners in the target area. The City is partnering in this project with Lancaster County, the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (NRD), The Nature Conservancy, the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, Ducks Unlimited, the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, the Nebraska Sierra Club, USDA – Natural Resources and Conservation Service, the Lincoln Homebuilders Association, the Wachiska Audubon Society, Pheasants Forever and the Conservation Alliance of the Great Plains.
The third grant receiving approval is $175,000 for the third year funding of the Wilderness South Project. The total grant awarded over three years is $500,000, with more than $200,000 in matching funds being provided by the City, Lancaster County, the Lower Platte South NRD, the Lincoln Homebuilders Association, the Wachiska Audubon Society, Blue Stem Sierra Club, Friends of Wilderness Park and the Nebraska Wildlife Federation. The Wilderness South Project is working to acquire land or conservation easements around Wilderness Park and south of the park to protect the Salt Creek floodplain as well as other natural resources.