Jack Sinn Memorial Wildlife Management Area
Pre-restoration 1992 Post-restoration 2006
The Jack Sinn Memorial Wildlife Management Area (WMA) located in southern Saunders and Lancaster Counties, Nebraska on both sides of Highway 77 south of Ceresco and east along Ashland Road and west along Little Salt Road. It consists of approximately 1,500 acres of marsh and open grasslands. The area was named in honor of Jack Sinn, a Wildlife Biologist with the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission who lived near the area and was killed in a plane crash while conducting a deer survey in 1979. The WMA is open to the public for hiking, nature observation and hunting. Only non-toxic shot is allowed. The area provides excellent waterfowl and shore bird habitat and viewing, particularly from late February into May. A good representation of grassland and wetland passerine species can also be found. Approximately 398 acres of Category 1 saline wetlands are located on the site.
Jack Sinn WMA recently underwent various wetland restoration measures in order to improve and expand existing wetlands within the Rock Creek watershed. Design improvements at Site 1 (just west of Highway 77, south of Ceresco) were constructed in late 1999 – early 2000 to address drainage from the wetlands adjacent to Highway 77. Other improvements have been completed or are in the process near 112th Street and Ashland Road. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has been actively restoring saline wetlands on the Jack Sinn WMA. The project consists of four phases; as of December 2008 phase's I and II were completed. Phase I included the installation of three in-stream weirs in Rock Creek and seven head-cut plugs that restored approximately 80 acres of wetlands. In Phase II, five new structures were installed and improvements were made to three of the existing off-stream structures which restored an additional 164 acres of wetlands. As a component of Phase III a total of eight new sites were identified for improvements including repair to one existing low-level dike and construction of head cut plugs, low head earthen dikes and silt control structures in and adjacent to the stream to restore the hydrology of the riparian zones and return it to a functional system. The project restored approximately 95 acres of saline wetlands. Funding for the restoration projects was provided by Nebraska Environmental Trust grants and with the Federal Section 319 funds available for the Eastern Saline Wetlands.
The property was purchased mostly in the 1980s and 1990s, using funding from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Pittman-Robertson funding) and the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission.
(images courtesy of Nebraska Game & Parks Commission)