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Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership

Eastern Saline Wetlands

Eastern Saline Wetlands were once estimated to be in excess of 20,000 acres. Now less than 4,000 acres remain and many of these are degraded. These wetlands form a regionally unique wetlands complex located in floodplain swales and depressions within the Salt Creek, Little Salt Creek, and Rock Creek drainages in Lancaster and southern Saunders counties in Nebraska.

In 2003, a group of state and local agencies joined forces to establish the Saline Wetlands Conservation Partnership which has established an implementation plan to address the preservation of this special land and the needs of the community. There must be cooperation between landowners, conservation interest and governmental agencies in order to continue to sustain the saline wetlands in Nebraska.

Visit the Wetlands

Saline wetland areas are open to the public. Conservation easements are privately owned and can only be accessed with permission of the landowner. Learn more about each wetland area by selecting the links to the right.

Come out and visit the saline wetlands. Fall and winter are great times to view birds and other wildlife. During these colder months the best time to visit is in the late morning or early afternoon while temperatures are mild. Look for animal tracks and signs of feeding. As a reminder, snow removal is limited in the saline wetland nature areas.

Come out and visit the saline wetlands.


One of the best known functions of wetlands is to provide a habitat for birds. Wetlands are important bird habitats, and birds use them for breeding, nesting, and rearing young. Birds also use wetlands as a source of drinking water and for feeding, resting, shelter, and social interactions. A favorite activity during spring for these areas is “Bird Watching.” Migrating birds and Shorebirds will stop at saline wetlands in Lancaster County during April and May to rest and eat before heading north to nest and raise their young. Learn more about important bird areas and view the Bird Survey Data.

As summer approaches, the saline wetlands will begin to dry out. The colors of spring will fade and small animals and birds will be more difficult to find as they venture deeper into vegetated areas.

Download the Success in the Salt Marsh

Story and Photos by Michael Forsberg
NEBRASKAland Magazine, Aug/Sept 2018

Nebraska‘s Eastern Saline Wetlands projects in progress

Projects Updates:

Saline Wetlands Digital Imaging Collection 2020

    This collection documents the history of the saline wetlands in Eastern Nebraska, including channel improvements of Salt Creek and Dead Man’s Run, flooding and high water on Salt Creek in the 1950s and 1960s, the early days of the Salt Valley Watershed District and the Salt-Wahoo Watershed Association, current efforts to conserve and restore saline wetland areas, and historical collections from NEBRASKAland magazine and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. Dates covered are 1940-2018, with the bulk of the materials from the 1980s-2000s.

    wetlands old wetlands new

    Collection materials include photographs, maps, and manuscripts. Areas representing saline wetlands include Salt Creek, Little Salt Creek, Oak Creek, Oak Lake, Capitol Beach, and Rock Creek. Photographic materials include images in color and black & white. The materials are accessible in two different locations: Nebraska Game and Parks’ (NGPC) Photo Library and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Digital Media Commons. University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Digital Media Commons and the Nebraska Game and Parks’ (NGPC) Photo Library ( historical collections from NEBRASKAland magazine and Nebraska Game and Parks Commission).

Nebraska Game and Parks Photo Library Digital Media Commons

Nebraska's Eastern Saline Wetlands - Recorded bird species Updated fall 2017
  • This is periodically updated by Joel Jorgensen of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
The Upper Little Salt Creek Saline Wetlands Plan
  • Completed December 2015 Download PDF Executive Summary
  • Identifies land management, rehabilitation and conservation goals for planning area
  • Field level and spatial data were collected to evaluate existing conditions of saline wetlands
  • Prior saline wetland rehabilitation projects were evaluated to determine successful applications and potential improvements
  • The plan provides Partnership a basis for future planning and project development
  • Final Design initiated in 2018
Nebraska’s Eastern Saline Wetlands Conservation Plan 2018

Implementation plan cover
Updated reports
Recent news coverage

"Urban jungle: Student project at saline wetland chronicles the animals among us" Written by Peter Salter. Lincoln Journal Star, December 22, 2019.

Funding provided in part by: