||Aerial view of the
Platte River before and
after vegetation was cleared.
The Partners Program in
Nebraska has worked cooperatively with a number of organizations and many private
landowners to restore and maintain habitat along the Central Platte River. A total of 22
projects were completed in this area in FY 2002. These projects contributed to the quality
and quantity of habitat available to several endangered and threatened species, including
the whooping crane, least tern and piping plover, as well as sandhill cranes, waterfowl,
other migratory waterbirds and other fish and wildlife species native to the area.
Riverine sandbars and islands (prime roosting habitat) and wet meadow and native
grasslands (foraging habitat) were targeted for conservation efforts. Approximately 1.5
miles of degraded riverine wetland habitat was restored as a result of these projects.
Riverine Wetland Restoration Project
The project in the photo was conducted
along the Central Platte River near Gibbon, Nebraska. It involved removing undesirable
woody vegetation and the restoration of riverine wetlands by excavating silt and invasive
vegetation (e.g., reed canarygrass, purple loosestrife, hybrid cattails and Russian olive
trees). All the open water areas that you see were restored using dozers. The restored
areas range between 6 to 30 inches in depth and enter the river channel downstream. The
frozen channel that you see on the right side of the photo is the actual river channel.
The restored areas stay open longer as a result of warmer ground water that seeps in along
the restored sloughs.
This project was jointly funded by
Nebraska Partners for Fish and Wildlife, Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and Audubon's
Lillian Annette Rowe Sanctuary. Additional partners included the Platte River Whooping
Crane Maintenance Trust and the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund.