Richard Plautz Crane Viewing Site - Gibbon
Central Platte NRD received two grants to assist with rehabilitation of the Richard Plautz Crane viewing site in Buffalo County at the intersection of Elm Island Road & Lowell Road. The site consists of two elevated wooden viewing decks, a 1,650-foot trail, and a parking lot to provide a safe area for the public to view Sandhill and Whooping Cranes as they migrate through Nebraska in the spring and Nebraska’s Platte River wildlife. The project was completed in Spring 2022.
Grants Received: $259,500.00 from the Recreational Trails Program (RTP) administered by the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission, CPNRD contributed a 20% matching share. The 1,660 LF deteriorated asphalt nature trail was replaced with an 8’ wide, 6” thick concrete trail and pave the 1,033 square yard gravel parking lot with 8” thick concrete. $50,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust for repairs on the streambank near the viewing decks. The NRD removed two large trees, and installed 2,700 LF of erosion control silt fencing, 803 tons of quartzite riprap on the southeast side of Lowell Road bridge and 0.6 acres of seeding and mulching.
Alda Crane Viewing Site
Located two miles south of the I-80 Exit 305 along the Platte River, the crane deck provides a safe area for the public to view Sandhill and Whooping cranes as they migrate through Nebraska in the spring. In November 2023, the Board selected Diamond Engineering of Grand Island for site improvements. Construction will include replacing the wooden viewing deck, paving the recreational trail and two parking lots. Riprap will be added to stabilize the stream bank and provide access to the fishing pond.
CPNRD will provide a 20% match to the $250,000 received through the Recreational Trails Program (RTP), administered by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. CPNRD also received $75,000 from the Nebraska Environmental Trust Fund (NET) to be used exclusively for repairs on the stream bank near the deck. Construction will begin in late winter/early spring and is scheduled to be completed by June 2024.
The crane deck provides a safe area for the public to view Sandhill and Whooping cranes as they migrate through Nebraska in the spring. In the mid 1990’s, CPNRD was a partner in building the site to increase public safety by reducing the extra in-flow of traffic and cars parking on nearby county roads, which are heavily used by residents. The site also increases public awareness of Nebraska’s Platte River wildlife. Additional crane viewing information by calling (308) 385-6282 or by visiting cpnrd.org/conservation/crane-viewing or nebraskaflyway.com.
Learn more about Central Platte NRD’s crane viewing sites by calling (308) 385-6282.