Big Bend Reach of the Platte River

Why You Should Visit

The 80-mile stretch of the Platte River between Overton and Chapman, known as the Big Bend Reach, is the most important migratory bird area along the United States portion of the Central Flyway of North America. It is described as the ‘pinch in the hourglass’. The Platte and its adjacent wet meadows in the Big Bend region provide habitat for millions of migratory birds including some 500,000 sandhill cranes and millions of ducks and geese. It is an important stopover location for migrating whooping cranes during the spring and fall migration. The area is also very important for threatened and endangered species such as the bald eagle, interior least tern, piping plover and many grassland bird species.


Adams, Buffalo, Hall, Hamilton, and Kearney Counties


To date, the Conservancy, with the help of its partners (US Fish and Wildlife Service, Nebraska Game and Parks, and Audubon Society), has protected more than 8,000 acres.

Why the Conservancy Selected This Site

The Nature Conservancy selected the Platte River as a priority site because of its significant upland and wetland habitat for migratory water birds and native resident plants and animals.

What the Conservancy Has Done/Is Doing

The Nature Conservancy and its partners have helped to protect approximately 8,000 acres within the Big Bend Reach. Conservancy staff is restoring native perennial grasslands on marginal cropland with the help from lessees, farmers, and partners like Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Prairie Plains Resource Instate and University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The Conservancy uses a high-diversity seed mixture of grass and forbs species collected in the Big Bend area. 1000 acres of marginally productive cropland has been restored to high-diversity grasslands and wetlands using this locally-harvested seed mixture.


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