News

  • How We Can Help You

    The Sandhills Task Force provides technical and financial assistance to help you meet your conservation goals. Types of conservation projects include Eastern red cedar control, grazing system improvement, stream and wetland restoration, and lake renovation.

    Eastern Red Cedar Control

    Eastern red cedars have become problematic within the Sandhills and elsewhere in Nebraska by encroaching on native grasslands and reducing the quality and quantity of habitat for grassland-dependent wildlife and grazing livestock. The Sandhills Task Force can help you decide the best course of action to control the invasion and provide support through the entire process. Funds are available for prescribed burns and mechanical control. “Be a Leader, Kill Your Cedar!”

    Grazing System Improvement

    Do you have questions about your grazing system? We’d love to visit with you about them and share our experiences. If you want to change your system to benefit wildlife, birds, ecosystem health, and your bottom line, we have funds available to help with the needed infrastructure.

    Stream and Wetland Restoration

    The Sandhills are home to over a million acres of wetlands, and many have been manipulated in ways that have caused degradation over time. For example, wet meadows and streams were ditched, straightening the channel to facilitate water movement and seasonal haying and grazing. Over time, these ditches and streams become more incised, further lowering the water table within the meadow. As a result, these meadows have degraded due to the altered hydrology and are less productive habitats for wildlife and livestock grazing or haying. We want to help you restore the hydrology and enable them to function better. We have some funds to do this work, and we’re happy to raise more if you have a big project.

    Lake Renovation

    Many Sandhill lakes are suffering from an invasion of common carp. Carp muddy the water, making it so desirable fish cannot survive. The muddy water also deters waterfowl and beneficial wetland plants. This negative effect of carp invasion in Sandhills lakes and wetlands has been well observed and documented for several years. Chemical rehabilitation of lakes and wetlands has occurred since the 1970s to eradicate carp from otherwise productive wetland ecosystems. We can help remove the carp and install structures to prevent re-infestation. The changes are fast and almost unbelievable!

    Who to Contact:

    For information on our cost-share and easement programs or for technical assistance, don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Sandhills Task Force Project Coordinator, Ashley Garrelts, at ashley@sandhillstaskforce.org, or 307-351-0935.


  • 2022 Youth Range Camp

    The Nebraska Youth Range Camp consists of a dynamic curriculum that appeals to students with a wide array of interests including, but not limited to, rangeland management, conservation, ecology, animal science, and wildlife. With nearly 50 years to perfect and evolve this curriculum, every student, no matter what prior experience they have, will learn substantial information that will help them become more aware of Nebraska’s most prevalent land use. Rangelands cover nearly 50% of Nebraska and approximately 60% of the United States. These numbers convey the dominance of this land use, but recently there have been several political issues regarding the management of these rangelands which further emphasizes the reason it is imperative for us to educate the youth so we may enable them to become proficient and effective leaders in resource management as well as educated voters.

    The students that attend this camp will be actively involved with lectures, field activities, hands-on experience, and recreational leadership and team-building activities that are all led by up to 20 of Nebraska’s most respected and dedicated leaders, teachers, and professionals from various agencies, colleges, and universities. Each student will be sent home with a binder that is filled with educational materials. Must be 14-18 years old. —-COME JOIN US!!

    The 2022 Nebraska Youth Range Camp is scheduled for June 6-9, 2022 at the NCTA Curtis.


  • 2022 Volunteer Fire Department Prescribed Fire Award

    Once again, the Sandhills Task Force is offering a Recognition Award for all Sandhills-based Volunteer Fire Departments (VFDs) for the 2022 prescribed fire season. VFDs who assist private landowners with prescribed fire to control invasive plants species, primarily eastern red cedar trees, are eligible. Cedars are robbing ranchers of forage and they are disrupting native plant and animal populations. They are taking over many acres of the Nebraska Sandhills. Prescribed fire is a great tool that can be used to control invasive cedar trees, but some landowners feel they do not have the necessary protection to assure the fire does not escape. VFDs have equipment and volunteers that can help landowners safely conduct prescribed burns while simultaneously training VFD volunteers in use of equipment, fire behavior, fire weather implications, and more in a non-emergency setting. Controlling cedars with prescribed fire is proven to reduce the likelihood and severity of future wildfires, so helping burn cedars in a prescribed setting can pay dividends for VFDs. Local VFDs are staffed by busy volunteers that donate large amounts of personal time in service to their communities and budgets are very tight, so the Sandhills Task Force would like to recognize those VFDs who do assist in controlling cedar tree invasion using prescribed fire. Reimbursement will be at a rate of $15 per burned acre, with a maximum payment of $5,000 per VFD to spread the awards geographically. More than one VFD may split the award. Participation is defined as providing at least one truck and two trained personnel on a prescribed fire in the Sandhills. Personnel needs to be actively involved.


    The form must be fully completed, signed by the VFD Chief, and mailed or emailed to the address listed with a copy of the approved burn plan (including map). WRP and CRP lands are not eligible. Private lands only. Funds are not available if a contractor is hired to complete the prescribed burn. Available funds are limited.

    Applications will be accepted on a continuous basis. Only complete applications will be considered. An application does not guarantee an award. The prescribed fire must be inside the boundary shown on the map below to be eligible for the award.

    Please contact Shelly for any questions at shelly@sandhillstaskforce.org or 308-214-0065. Submit applications to Lisa at Lisa@sandhillstaskforce.org.

    The prescribed burn must occur within the Sandhills Boundary