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Open Space Plan

Douglas County is working to develop and implement an Open Space Plan. Common elements of open space plans include trails, buffers between land uses and waterways, native prairies, wetlands, wildlife habitat, agricultural lands and heritage sites.

There will be multiple phases to the Open Space Plan development and implementation process:

  • Phase I – Douglas County is currently working to study existing data and policies, build relationships with key stakeholders, increase outreach efforts, and identify community values and shared vision related to open space. 
  • Phase II – After Phase I is complete, Douglas County will work to identify actions the community can take to fulfill its values and vision. This could include designating target conservation areas, policy changes, changes in organizational structure, and identifying ongoing funding for implementation.
  • Phase III – Upon completion of Phase II, Douglas County will implement the plan.

The county is experiencing multiple pressures directly affecting the landscape of the community. These pressures include:

  • destruction of important natural and historic features, including 99% of original prairie and 88% of original forest due to land use changes, development, and transportation infrastructure;
  • more intense and frequent extreme weather events connected to climate change, such as storms, droughts, and floods; and
  • agricultural economic pressures of a changing climate, volatile commodity crop prices, and aging farmers without succession plans.

If you have questions or would like to learn more about the Open Space Plan, please email us at  

“Many agencies and organizations have been working on these issues for years, but there is not a comprehensive strategy to address these pressures. The creation of an Open Space Plan will be a game-changer for our community. I believe it will expand options for both public and private land owners, which will lead to flood damage control, maintaining rural character, enhancing overall ecological integrity, preservation of history, and ultimately, higher quality of life.” — Sustainability Director Jasmin Moore

Douglas County Government and the Douglas County Community Foundation received a $26,000 matching grant from Partners for Places. The match was provided through local donations to the Douglas County Community Foundation. The $52,000 in total funding will be used to complete Phase 1 of the three-phase Open Space Plan development and implementation process.

If you would like to learn more or make a donation, please visit: Douglas County Open Spaces Fund.

“This collaboration to leverage the Partners for Places funding will make an impact on crucial sustainability issues for our communities, including the health of all Douglas County residents." — Chip Blaser, Douglas County Community Foundation president.

Partners for Places

Partners for Places is led by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities in partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. It is a successful matching grant program that creates opportunities for cities and counties to improve communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability offices and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our urban areas more prosperous, livable, and vibrant.

Douglas County Community Foundation

The Douglas County Community Foundation connects the diverse citizens and communities of Douglas County through charitable action. The mission is to enrich the quality of life in the communities of Douglas County by:

  • Building philanthropic resources and relationships
  • Providing attractive options for donors to make philanthropic contributions
  • Being a catalyst for the betterment of the lives of the citizens of Douglas County