Crane Trust and DU protect Platte River habitat

Sand hill cranes flying over the Platte River in Nebraska.

© Nick Smith

Sand hill cranes flying over the Platte River in Nebraska.

In Nebraska, Ducks Unlimited partnered with the Crane Trust to acquire a property that is part of one of the largest sandhill crane roosting sites in the world. The Hall County property, along the Platte River, is 128 acres and adds to the Crane Trust’s current property holdings and conservation easements in the region. The tract contains Platte River frontage and wet meadow habitat that attracts cranes during migration periods.
"We thank Ducks Unlimited for its partnership and desire to continue protecting the ecological significance of the Platte River and associated habitat. Our collaborative work will be showcased to the world in perpetuity," said Brice Krohn, president of the Crane Trust.

The Crane Trust used donor gifts, combined with DU funds from a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, to acquire the property. This acquisition is part of the Crane Trust’s South Side Vision where they are protecting the southern banks of the Central Platte River from development that would impact the habitat they own on the north shore of the river. This effort also benefits local businesses, providing tourism revenue from travelers from around the world to view the sandhill crane migration.

"Protecting habitat on both sides of the Platte River is important because too much disturbance on either side would cause the birds to avoid the area completely," said John Denton, DU manager of conservation programs in Nebraska. "The river frontage and adjacent wet meadows are the most important area to protect from development."

The Crane Trust’s mission is to protect and maintain the physical, hydrological and biological integrity of the Big Bend area of the Platte River, which lies between Lexington and Chapman, Nebraska, so the habitat continues to support whooping cranes, sandhill cranes and other migratory bird species. This aligns with DU’s priorities along the Platte River to improve habitat for migrating waterfowl in the bottleneck of the central flyway migration route.