North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Evans, Darrell E., and Thomas V. Stehn. Use of dredged material to construct winter whooping crane habitat. In: Urbanek RP, Stahlecker DW, eds. 1997. Proceedings of the Seventh North American Crane Workshop, 1996 Jan 10-13, Biloxi, Mississippi. Grand Island, NE: North American Crane Working Group. pp. 67-71.


Used by permission of the North American Crane Working Group.


Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) and nearby coastal marshes serve as the winter home for the only natural flock of whooping cranes (Grus americana), In recent years shoreline erosion and the subsequent loss of wintering habitat have been observed on the refuge adjacent to the GulfIntracoastal Waterway (GIWW). In 1988 the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) District, Galveston, Texas, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) entered into an informal agreement to attempt to slow shoreline/habitat loss on the refuge. Efforts to curtail habitat loss have included armoring the most erosive reaches with temporary concrete erosion control structures and using articulated concrete mats to armor severely eroded reaches. Most recent efforts have been directed at determining if dredged material removed from the GIWW during routine channel maintenance could be used to construct winter crane habitat. One experimental site was constructed in 1991 by Mitchell Energy Corporation and 2 in 1993 by USACE. Current plans call for the long-term monitoring of the sites to determine the relative success of the habitat creation effort. A comprehensive biomonitoring program is being developed by researchers at the USACE Waterways Experiment Station (WES) to track the long-term development and to characterize habitat conditions and wildlife use of the experimental sites.