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 a 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 long-term 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 receives more than $800,000 in pledges
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.
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Rain clouds and a bit of a rainbow roll over the sky in the Millard area of Omaha on Aug. 16, 2016. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun sets behind a center pivot located north of Red Cloud, Nebraska, on July 27, 2006. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Storm clouds hide the sun as it sets over Nebraska's Sandhills on July 7, 2009, near Thedford, Nebraska. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A summer storm passes north of Rose, Nebraska, on June 10, 2007. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
A rainbow forms over U.S. Highway 12, just east of Valentine, Nebraska, as storms roll over the area on July 25, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun sets behind an approaching storm as a car heads west on U.S. Highway 34 near Union, Nebraska, on April 24, 2016. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun peaks out behind clouds as it sets on a field of cattle grazing in a pasture west of Griswold, Iowa, on May 21, 2007. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Icicles form on vines in downtown Omaha as winter weather returns to the area on Feb. 24, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Railroad tracks are illuminated by the setting sun on May 3, 2017, east of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sunsets behind Chimney Rock National Historic Site on May 3, 2017, east of Scottsbluff, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Members of the Boats, Bikes, Boots & Brews group head to shore as the sun sets after an evening out on Lake Zorinsky in Omaha on April 22, 2015. The group came together through the meetup.com website. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD
Icicles hang from the horse carriage parking sign in the Old Market shopping district as an ice storm moves into the Omaha area on Jan. 15, 2017. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Chuck Beebe watches the sky for doves while walking back to his truck at the end of a hunt as the sun sets in Mills County, Iowa, on Sept. 4, 2012. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Wheat, ready for the combine, is silhouetted by the setting sun as the wheat harvest on the Lagler farm near Grant, Nebraska, was in full swing on July 7, 2005. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
A layer of fog covers the Missouri River near the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on Feb. 5, 2015, in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A setting sun creates a pink haze on a windmill and the Sand Hills on a late summer day southwest of Rushville, Nebraska, on Sept. 22, 2007. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Pigeons scatter at sunset as the St. John's steeple is silhouetted against the Woodmen Tower in downtown Omaha on Oct. 3, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun bursts behind the clouds over the North Platte River east of Bridgeport, Nebraska, on July 26, 2006. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Steve Jobman, a farmer south of Minatare, Nebraska, cuts alfalfa after sunset on June 2, 2004. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Wheat waves in the wind in a field west of Dalton, Nebraska, on July 18, 2001. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The snow moon rises over the northern cross of the St. Cecilia Cathedral in Omaha on Feb. 10, 2017. On this night, there was a full moon, a lunar eclipse and comet 45P passed by the earth. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
As the wind speed picks up a woman holds onto her hood while crossing 16th Street along Dodge Street in Omaha on Feb. 24, 2017. BRENDAN SULLIVAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
From left: Melody Borcherding, Kseniya Burgoon and Michael Beltz scoop out a vehicle on Jan. 23, 2018, in Norfolk, Nebraska. A blizzard pounded Norfolk with high winds and heavy, wet snow. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Tim Root, a waterfowl hunting guide from Lexington, Nebraska, arranges some of the more than 2,000 goose decoys on a hunt near Big Lake, Missouri, on March 11, 2015. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Jeff Bachman harvests soybeans and prepares to transfer them as the sun sets on a field near Ayr, Nebraska, on Oct. 19, 2008.
As the sun sets, sandhill cranes arrive to roost in the Platte River at the Rowe Sanctuary & Iain Nicholson Audubon Center south of Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 12, 2008. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A pair of sandhill cranes pass in front of the moon shortly after sunrise at the Iain Nicolson Audubon Center at Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. Sandhill cranes, which mate for life, can live between 20 and 40 years.
A windmill is dwarfed by storm clouds near Crawford, Nebraska, on May 3, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
An early November storm system rolls through the Great Plains, but Omaha only receives rain, which collected on freshly fallen leaves on Nov. 11, 2015, in Omaha. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Cattle head up to a well to get a drink at the end of the day near Sparks, Nebraska, on Aug. 21, 2015. Smoke from the wildfires in the western states created a haze. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The moon rises above the corn as farmers harvest the last of their fields in eastern Nebraska and western Iowa on Nov. 5, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Two riders help round up part of the 750 head of cattle branded at the Lute Family Ranch, located south of Hyannis, Nebraska, on May 12, 2005. Mick Knott, who runs the ranch, owns about half the cattle, and the Lute Foundation owns the rest. The work started about dawn and finished about noon. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The rising sun illuminates a tree and a windmill in a snow- covered field along U.S. Highway 20 between Rushville and Chadron, Nebraska, on March 1, 2017. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The College Home Run Derby was held at TD Ameritrade Park and was highlighted by The World-Herald's annual independence day fireworks display on July 2, 2015. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Fog rises from the Missouri River and covers the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge on Jan. 5, 2010. Temperatures were close to 20 degrees below zero as the area remains in the middle of a cold snap. CHRIS MACHIAN/THE WORLD HERALD
The weekend's perfect weather colored the clouds at sunset south of Wymore, Nebraska, on Oct. 23, 2004. CRAIG CHANDLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Deer chill out at Chalco Hills Recreation Area on Feb. 22, 2018, in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A leaf is covered in a dusting of snow near 138th and Hickory Streets on Dec. 18, 2014, in Millard. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A runner emerges from the edge of the rising sun on Sept. 11, 2015, at Zorinsky Lake Park and Recreation Area in Omaha. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Nearly 45 minutes after sunset an orange and blue glow is seen setting behind the Omaha skyline flanked between trees in Council Bluffs on Jan. 11, 2018. BRENDAN SULLIVAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Raindrops collect on a flower following early showers on May 10, 2017, in Millard. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
The promise of rain is fleeting for the seven windmills on the Watson Ranch north of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, on U.S. 71 on May 16, 2004. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A crescent moon sets behind the UNO bell tower in Omaha on Nov. 6, 2013. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
Ralph Remmert is depicted in the mural "Fertile Ground" near 13th and Mike Fahey Streets in north downtown Omaha on June 19, 2017. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Ralph Kohler, 94, keeps his eyes to the sky for ducks and geese as the sun rises over his hunting pond east of Tekamah, Nebraska, on Nov. 30, 2011. Kohler has been a professional guide for most of his life, and he is preparing for the spring season. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun rises over St. Paul Lutheran Church, located three miles north of Republican City, Nebraska, in March 2004. JEFF BEIERMANN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Geese are silhouetted in the color and clouds as the sun sets at Zorinsky Lake in Omaha on Feb. 21, 2016. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD
The sun rises on Chimney Rock on Feb. 19, 2014, near McGrew, Nebraska. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Cranes walk through the shallow water of the Platte River shortly before sunset near The Crane Trust, which is close to Wood River, Nebraska, on March 13, 2012. The river provides cranes with a safe place from predators for rest at night. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
A bespangled vest awaits a rider during Nebraska's Big Rodeo on July 25, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
Horses stand in the snow on Feb. 22, 2018, in Omaha. SARAH HOFFMAN/THE WORLD-HERALD
A combine in an Iowa field is ready for corn harvest near Council Bluffs on Sept. 25, 2015. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Residents of the Nebraska Panhandle enjoyed unseasonably mild temperatures and cloud cover on Aug. 12, 2004. This photograph of Interstate 80 was taken near Sidney, Nebraska. MATT MILLER/THE WORLD-HERALD
Members of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association hold their hats as 2013 Miss Burwell Rodeo Olivia Hunsperger passes by during the opening ceremonies on July 27, 2013, in Burwell, Nebraska. "This may be a small town, but it's got a big rodeo, and it's got a really big heart," Hunsperger said. ALYSSA SCHUKAR/THE WORLD-HERALD
A break in the clouds highlights downtown Omaha as seen from Lewis Central High School in Council Bluffs as severe storms passed through the Omaha area on June 5, 2014. MARK DAVIS/THE WORLD-HERALD
John Wanief waits for the bus in a shelter at 120th Street and West Center Road as cold rain pours down in Millard on Nov. 11, 2015. RYAN SODERLIN/THE WORLD-HERALD
Flocks of waterfowl fill the sky as the sun rises over Ponca State Park in Ponca, Nebraska, on March 3, 2018. The park led "Marsh Madness" tours at sunrise and sunset to view migrating waterfowl. REBECCA S. GRATZ/THE WORLD-HERALD
A red tail hawk perches on a light stanchion backed by the moon and overlooking the property near the Indian Creek development in Omaha on Feb. 27, 2018. KENT SIEVERS/THE WORLD-HERALD