We Need Your Help to Preserve Our Natural Environment

The Crane Trust recently became aware of the potential development of a sand and gravel pit and a temporary asphalt/concrete plant southwest of the I-80 and Alda road junction being developed on what is now 143.5 acres of cornfield. This is directly across from the Crane Trust Nature and Visitor Center’s front door. This plant would be directly visible from our Visitor’s center and trail system, which welcomes over 45,000 people every year.

While a bag of gravel may look fairly benign, the process of producing it is anything but benign. Beyond the physical changes to the landscape and significant environmental impacts, the daily barrage of travel, noise, dust and exhaust produced by large tractor-trailers loading and unloading gravel and asphalt products as well as the large machinery working near our property can potentially create a significant health and safety risk for the tourists and local students who come to view Sandhill Crane migrations, bird watch, and hike the trail systems to learn about the historic tracts of native tall and mixed grass prairie along the big bend reach of the Platte River. This development will also degrade the natural environment experience of the quiet native prairie for tens of thousands of future visitors per year.

The property to be developed borders within 55 meters off the north channel of the Platte River, where the world’s largest gathering of Sandhill cranes (over a quarter million) can be found roosting at one time in late March. Additionally, only 3% of the native prairie along the Platte River still remains and it is our goal to conserve this for future generations to experience. Creating the pit requires virtually all vegetation, topsoil and subsoil be stripped to reach the aggregate underneath. Not only does this lead to a loss of existing wildlife, it also means native prairie would never be restorable to this site. Moreover, adjacent eco-systems are affected by noise, dust and pollution.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services have cleared this development project in regards to the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act respectively, so our only remaining avenue to contest this development will be through the Hall County Board of Supervisors. There will be a hearing regarding this development at the Hall County Courthouse located at 121 S. Pine Street, Suite 4, Grand Island, Nebraska 68801, on September 8th at 10:30am. Please come stand with us to oppose this project and protect one of the largest tracts of relict tall and mixed grass prairie remaining in central Nebraska, the largest Sandhill Crane roost in the world, and our visitors’ safety. Sign our petition, send letters of support regarding what the Crane Trust means to you and your associates, as well as your presence at this meeting would be greatly appreciated. Please contact us at 308.384.4633 with any questions.

We hope we can count on your support: Sign our petition

Sand & Gravel Location Image

20 Comments

  • Linell Connolly says:

    Please, protect this truly sacred area. We have so little of our ancient world left, and should feel blessed that these creatures still are a part of our world. I still remember the very first time I saw the cranes, up close and very personal as I drove thru to a professional meeting in Grand Island in 1987. Nothing can compare. Nothing. Stand for Nature…as She stands with us, every day.

  • Robert Peters says:

    No to the gravel pit in such a special area.

  • dale R. Crandell says:

    I am not in favor of a sand pit is this area

  • Jane Wilson says:

    Every spring, I go to the Crane Trust Visitors Center, where I see cars from all over the country. People come from everywhere to see the awe-inspiring wildlife spectacle that is the sand hill cranes. I and many others watch the cranes come in at dusk at Alda bridge – to hear their cries as they come in is to hear the ages. The area around the Crane Trust is is precious and priceless, for ourselves and for the cranes, and it is the WORST possible place for a gravel pit! I vehemently oppose it and anything that will negatively affect the cranes, the valuable tourism they bring to the area, and our experience of this rare, beautiful and sacred event that we are privileged to witness every year. We’ve already ruined most of our prairies, and the cranes (especially the critically-endangered whooping crane) are threatened more and more by development. Please do the right thing and say “no” to the gravel pit.

  • Annabell Blincow Zikmund says:

    There have to be other options for a gravel pit other than this one! The cranes don’t take up that much room when they come to Nebraska in the spring. Clearing this development project in regards to the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act must have been the work of people who have never experienced the awesome beauty of the Sandhill cranes, or who do not understand the importance of protecting what still exists of the native prairie.

  • The environmental and financial benefits the Crane Trust offers the local and global community is surely of more value than a pile of pebbles. Gravel can be obtained elsewhere. The cranes were here first.

  • Marty O'Connor says:

    I live in Yuma Arizona now after 40 years in Kearney. I love the cranes and tell all my friends about them! Even if they are just going across country. It is well done. Please don’t let an asphalt system destroy a precious heritage that attracts people from all over the world.

    Thank you from a relocated native Nebraskan and proud of it!!

  • Helga Fensterman says:

    Support the Crane Trust in opposition to this project.

  • Renee' Ekhoff says:

    I can’t imagine the devastating effect that this type of development would have on this area… I am against this and strongly encourage everyone to protect the ecological significance of this area.

  • Paul Johnsgard says:

    This activity would result in a significant deterioration of the environment, and would be both a visual eyesore and a significsnt disturbance for the cranes.

  • Lisa Albers says:

    In support of the Crane Trust. No to the new gravel pit.

  • Sandy Schruder says:

    This has been a resting spot for these beautiful birds on their migration route forever…people visit the area to see the birds NOT a gravel pit! We need to share the only Earth we have with all her creatures, and stop with the human GREED!

  • Our Nebraska natural heritage is unique and so beautiful. To deface this spot on the Platte with a gravel pit is simply a shame. The cranes are an attraction for thousands of people, bringing them a wonderful nature experience, not to mention the contemplative quality of these acres of prairie. Please rethink this astonishing plan. I am so disappointed in the Corps and US Fish and Wildlife. What could they be thinking?

  • Gregory Wrenn says:

    Every time I go to watch the Cranes, I see and meet people from all over the world who specifically come to Nebraska to witness the annual spectacle. This development would ruin their experience and slowly diminish the attraction of this experience. It would be a serious BUMMER.

  • KEN GNADT says:

    EACH FRIEND OF THE NATURE CENTER SHOULD BRING 2-3 FRIENDSTO SAY NO TO THIS DEVELOPMENT. HELP SUPPORT THE WHOOPING CRANE TRUST AND NATURE CENTER, KEN GNADT. GRAND ISLAND

  • sandy & tim edwards says:

    put the gravel pit in a more appropriate location.

  • Teresa Anconsa says:

    I say no to cluttering this pristine and important wildlife habitat. There should be zoning laws against this and a lobbyist to stop this.

  • Christian Douglas says:

    I’m sure there are better places for a gravel pit. This is important for the survival of these beautiful creatures.

  • Kathryn Dobrinic says:

    This is a heartbreaking development. Besides the noise, dust, and visual disruption of the landscape, don’t forget the light pollution from this industry which will forever disrupt the night sky. Please do not allow this to happen.

  • Kate Hansen says:

    Please consider what impact allowing a gravel pit so near to an area that draws thousands of people for “Eco Tourism” could have on the long term prosperity of the area. We have a wonderful natural phenomenon happening here and we should protect it and all its wonder and beauty.

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