Family works towards restoring habitat for sandhill cranes
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Dennis Breen and his brothers bought a lot of land in central Nebraska off of the North Platte River in 1992, and ever since they have been restoring it to create a habitat for wildlife, including the Sandhill Crane.
Breen has been in awe of the Sandhills Crane and other wildlife in the area, and wanted to help them. He said he worked with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Ducks Unlimited, and the Nebraska Wildlife Fund to eventually eradicate invasive plants, open up the canopy, increase vegetation, and open waterways.
“We’ve ended up bring back keystone species such as the River Otter,” Breen said. “Which, we haven’t seen in this area for some time.”
Breen is a tour guide for Dusty Trails’ Sandhill Crane Tours. These tours are offered three times a day.
The world’s greatest migration is underway with the Sandhill Cranes
NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - While Kearney claims to be the Sandhill Crane Capital of the world, the majestic birds are no strangers to West Central Nebraska.
However, it wasn’t until several years ago that Lincoln County began promoting the presence of the Sandhill Cranes between North Platte and Sutherland.
“Kearney and Grand Island are overtourism. I never thought I would say that, but they run out of space. They have too many people wanting to view the Sandhill Cranes. They reached out to us so that we could ease some of that pressure,” Visit North Platte Executive Director Lisa Burke said.
According to an economic impact study done for Central Nebraska in 2017, more than 46 thousand visitors came to Central Nebraska during the 2017 season to view Sandhill Cranes. Together, the overall economic impact of the Sandhill Crane migration on Central Nebraska was near 14 million dollars in 2017 supporting 182 year-round jobs. However, Burke anticipates that those numbers have significantly grown.