Integral to the formation of the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership was Jeanine Lackey’s 1990 – 1991 study, “Planning Strategies and Recommendations for the Protection of Least Terns and Piping Plovers at Sand and Gravel Mines Along the Lower Platte and Loup Rivers, Nebraska.” Jeanine worked with sand and gravel mine operators to identify situations that would interfere with nesting birds and developed management procedures that minimized disruption to both mining operations and nesting birds. Jeanine found that placing wire mesh exclosures around Piping Plover nests and electric fences around entire colonies of terns and plovers increased the number of chicks produced and the survival of the nesting adults.
Between 1994 and 1998, Least Tern and Piping Plover protection in Nebraska was sporadic at best simply because there were not enough people available to monitor the birds effectively. Out of concern for the birds, John Dinan (Nebraska Game and Parks Commission) and Jeanine Lackey (Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and University of Nebraska-Lincoln) submitted funding proposals to the Nebraska Environmental Trust and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation in 1998 to remedy the situation. John and Jeanine believed that a special group of people dedicated to protecting terns and plovers in Nebraska was needed given the potential for unpleasant bird-people conflicts. In 1999, John and Jeanine were joined by Ron Johnson (University of Nebraska-Lincoln) and founded the Tern and Plover Conservation Partnership. A Program Coordinator was hired in 1999 to oversee the program and in 2002 an Outreach Coordinator was hired to recruit volunteers and to develop an education program.