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