Evaluating Nebraska’s local comprehensive plans to achieve the national wetland conservation missions in the USA

Ligang Zhang, Qiao Hu, Michael Hayes, Mark Burbach, Tiffany Messer, Yuzhen Zhou, Zhenghong Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The U.S. federal government’s requirements and guidance for wetland conservation are reflected in a series of federal laws, regulations, and policies. However, the degree to which these requirements are reflected in local planning efforts is unclear. This study using five components with 56 indicators evaluates how well wetland conservation efforts are integrated into 112 local comprehensive plans in Nebraska, USA. The results show that the majority of local comprehensive plans pay little direct attention to wetland conservation, although many conservation efforts are conducted under the umbrella of environmental protection frameworks. The indicators include water resource protection received the highest score and was the descriptor of natural or environmental resources and resulted in the highest level of local awareness on natural assets. The indicator of setting goals for no net loss of wetlands received the lowest score among all indicators, demonstrating a clear gap between the national vision and the local reality of wetland conservation. Findings suggest local governments need more direct and proactive inputs to improve wetland conservation. Further findings from this research provide a practical roadmap for planners globally, particularly for the developing countries, to integrate wetland conservation into the local planning systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2070550
JournalEcosystem Health and Sustainability
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis Group and Science Press on behalf of the Ecological Society of China.


  • Wetland
  • conservation
  • integration
  • local comprehensive plan
  • nebraska

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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