Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Science


The Rainwater Basin Joint Venture’s (RWBJV) mission includes science–based conservation efforts for all priority bird habitats throughout Nebraska’s mixed–grass prairie region. The Management Board of the RWBJV is committed to implementing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Strategic Habitat Conservation model. This science–based model requires a commitment of resources and time to develop a strong biological foundation for delivering conservation planning and designing research and monitoring efforts. To fulfill this commitment, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln hired Dana Varner as the RWBJV Science Coordinator in October 2014. This position is the product of a partnership between the RWBJV, the Nebraska Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Natural Resources, which provides office space and support in Lincoln. Funding for the position is provided by the RWBJV.

Current Status

As science coordinator, Dana is working with RWBJV science staff to develop models and decision support tools that help identify areas where conservation is most likely to benefit migratory birds and wildlife. She works with partner researchers and scientists to expand the knowledge of the region’s conservation needs and to monitor and evaluate the success of completed habitat projects. In addition, Dana helps monitor and evaluate the success of ongoing and past conservation projects and collaborates with researchers from various federal, regional, and state conservation organizations. Dana recently worked with the RWBJV’s Conservation Planning Workgroup to complete an updated Research, Inventory, and Monitoring Plan which outlines science questions, concerns, and needs within the administrative area. Several projects are currently in progress including an assessment of National Wetland Inventory data, an evaluation of several years of wetland vegetation and management data, and a conservation acquisition prioritization model.


Principal Investigator(s)
-Craig R. Allen, NE CFWRU
-Andy Bishop, Rainwater Basin Joint Venture Partnership
Project Coordinator(s)
Dana Varner
Project Duration
October 2014-June 2017
-Rainwater Basin Joint Venture
Project Location