Muskies of Merritt featured in April Nebraskaland

LINCOLN, Neb. – Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area near Valentine has developed a reputation for its population of the highly sought muskellunge, often referred to as “the fish of a thousand casts.”

A story by editor Jeff Kurrus in the April issue of Nebraskaland Magazine tells how the muskies of Merritt are defying the species’ reputation as an extremely rare catch and how regulations are being adapted to keep it that way.

The April issue also features stories about the Platte River Water Trail, pointers for turkey hunting and fly-fishing, a detailed article about lichens, and one conservation officer’s account of rescuing a baby bald eagle.

Introduced with the name Outdoor Nebraska in 1926, Nebraskaland is the conservation and parks magazine of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. With remarkable photography from staff and readers, the publication offers a wide variety of tips for enjoying the outdoors and stories about Nebraska’s natural resources and history.

The magazine is available by subscription or at retailers throughout the state. To subscribe or read the digital version, visit

Game and Parks’ LaGrange receives National Wetlands Award

LINCOLN, Neb. – Ted LaGrange, wetlands program manager for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission, is the 2020 recipient of the ELI National Wetlands Award for Wetlands Program Development.

The National Wetlands Awards Program, administered by the Environmental Law Institute, has honored more than 200 wetland champions since its establishment in 1989. The program honors individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the conservation and restoration of our nation's wetlands.

The Wetlands Program Development award is given to a state, local or tribal authority that has developed and administered an outstanding wetland program.

LaGrange has served as Game and Parks’ wetland program manager for more than 25 years. He coordinates Nebraska’s statewide wetland program, including implementing wetland research, restoration, acquisition, regulation, management, and outreach programs, and works closely with more than 30 partner agencies and organizations.

Over the years, LaGrange has written and administered numerous grants that have totaled more than $13 million. He was the first in the nation to write a Wetland Program Plan and receive approval for EPA’s Enhancing State and Tribal Program. He has received more than 22 Wetland Program Development Grants.

“The accomplishments mentioned in the nomination were not things that I did alone, but instead were accomplished by working collaboratively with numerous people and partnerships over many years,” LaGrange said. “It would not have been possible without the support of Game and Parks as well as all of the great people who work here.”

As a result of 40 years of wetland and ecological protection service, LaGrange has protected and restored more than 100,000 acres of wetlands and educated a legion of individuals along the way.

NASP Academic Archer Program continues to grow in Nebraska

LINCOLN, Neb. – Across Nebraska, a record 358 students have been enrolled as 2020 National Archery in the Schools Program Academic Archers.

The NASP Academic Archer Program was established nationally in 2016 to recognize academic achievement among participating student-archers. Since then, Nebraska’s Academic Archer enrollment numbers have increased annually.

All students who fully participate in an in-school NASP archery class or participate on the school archery team at a recognized NASP school and meet local academic criteria for recognition are eligible to be entered for Academic Archer status.

“We are thrilled more and more archery instructors are seeing value in tying the NASP to the academic success of their students,” said Jeff Rawlinson of the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. “This helps to strengthen the overall program while providing positive recognition for the students, who deserve the kudos.”

NASP is a national target archery program for students in grades 4-12. Approximately 30,000 students in Nebraska and 2.4 million students nationally take part in the program.

For more information on beginning the Academic Archer Program in a school, visit or contact Game and Parks at [email protected].