Platte River Prairies

Located between Grand Island and Kearney, Nebraska, The Nature Conservancy's Platte River Prairies are a chain of grasslands and wetlands that are managed for biological diversity. The Conservancy owns ten tracts of land totaling 4,981 acres along the Platte River, and has four easements on 2,816 more.  We've restored about 1,500 acres of cropland to high-diversity prairie in an effort to enlarge and reconnect fragments of native prairie - and now we manage them with a combination of prescribed fire and grazing.

The stretch of the Platte River 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. 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.

See a slideshow of sandhill cranes!

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.

Our nature trail is open to the public.  Click here to learn more!

What to See: Plants

  • Big bluestem
  • Little bluestem
  • Purple prairie clover
  • Sand lovegrass
  • Switchgrass
  • Black-eyed susan
  • Illinois Bundleflower
  • Lady’s tresses
  • Prairie larkspur
  • Cottonwood
  • Sandbar willow
  • Sedge meadow

 What to See: Animals

  • Bald eagle
  • Bobolink
  • Canada goose
  • Cinnamon teal
  • Blue-winged teal
  • Great blue heron
  • Interior least tern
  • Piping plover
  • Pintail
  • Sandhill cranes (seasonal)
  • Snow goose
  • Whooping crane
  • Mule deer
  • Red fox
  • Jackrabbit
  • Black-tailed prairie dog
  • Tiger salamander
  • Western striped chorus frog
  • Softshelled turtle
  • Flathead chub
  • Plains topminnow

 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.



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