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Conservation groups work to make crane habitats
Spring is just around the corner and soon the endangered crane species named for its whooping sound will make way to Central Nebraska.
As the season begins to change, conservation groups want to create more habitats for those birds.
Land acquisition is primarily willing seller, willing buyer. People have also offered land.
The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program works collaboratively with Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and other environmental groups to improve and maintain land.
As the snow white birds migrate from the Gulf coast to Canada, channels of the Platte River are their stopping place.
They can travel on the order of 500 miles a day so this is often a convenient stop over site for them
Jerry Kenny is the Executive Director for the Platte River Recovery Implementation program. The goal is to create habitat and rehabilitate the land used by the endangered Whooping Cranes.
"What we are trying to accomplish for cranes are broad shallow channels, with bare sand suitable for roosting," said Kenny.
Another component of the program is water supply.
"We're trying to find water supply to increase the flows of the Platte River," said Kenny.
The project will be a secondary benefit to the sand hills cranes the idea is to create a habitat like this one for whopping cranes that migrate through the central Platte valley.
The organization hopes to acquire 10,000 acres of land of habitat between Lexington and Chapman.
So far they've reached a goal of 9,600 acres.
"The whooping cranes can see 750-1200 feet and that's important for security against predators," Kenny said.
There are only about 300 whooping cranes left in the world. The Interior Least Tern and the piping plover are two other target species.
The whooping cranes are expected to show up in late March to mid-April.
The total costs of the program is roughly 320 million dollars which is shared between the federal government, and the states of Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska.
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