All in all, wildlife weathered blizzard and flood

Article published by Omaha-World Herald

Nebraska’s wildlife seems to have fared well overall in the wake of March’s blizzard and catastrophic flooding, according to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.

The full impact of the blizzard and flood won’t be known for some time. While some animals died, others were able to flee or take shelter. And in some cases, new habitat was created that may help wildlife.

Birds and waterfowl: The flooding occurred prior to nesting, so birds generally would have been able to take flight as water rose. Upcoming surveys should provide better sense of the effects on pheasants and quail. So far, surveys have shown that winter wasn’t as hard on turkeys and pheasants as feared. The heavy rain, snow and flooding have created significant wetland habitat, which will benefit millions of migratory birds. Birds that migrated into the region early may have perished.

Semiaquatic animals: Some mink, muskrat, beaver and river otters may have drowned, but improved habitat may help their longterm outlook.

Big game: Some dead deer have been spotted. Diet, malnutrition and disease appear to be contributing to the deaths. No losses of bighorn sheep, elk or antelope have been reported.


United Way of the Midlands has received more than $800,000 in pledges to its Nebraska and Iowa Flood Relief Fund.

More than 2,000 people and 45 companies have contributed, with donors coming from as far away as Puerto Rico and France.

The United Way’s 2-1-1 Helpline has received approximately 1,400 flood related calls or texts since March 18. Of the total, more than 400 were from people who wanted to volunteer or donate to flood relief efforts.

Chipotle held a fundraiser that raised more than $25,000. Creighton sports teams and Coach Greg McDermott raised more than $18,000.

United Way will distribute 100% of flood relief donations to nonprofit agencies serving victims.

A number of the donations were directed to specific communities, so more than $200,000 was sent to local United Way agencies in Nebraska and Iowa. An additional $250,000 has been allocated to agencies
including the American Red Cross, Food Bank for the Heartland, Habitat for Humanity of Omaha and Legal Aid of Nebraska and Iowa. — Nancy Gaarder

Article also published by Scottsbluff Star-Herald