North American Crane Working Group


Date of this Version


Document Type



Derby, Clayton and Strickland, Dale. Platte River cooperative agreement and proposed program: efforts to protect, restore, and manage habitat for whooping cranes, least terns, and piping plovers. In: Ellis, David H., ed., Proceedings of the Eighth North American Crane Workshop, 11–14 January 2000, Albuquerque, New Mexico (Seattle, Wash: North American Crane Working Group, 2001), p. 224.


Reproduced by permission of the North American Crane Working Group (NACWG).


On 1 July 1997 the states of Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado and the U.S. Department of the Interior signed the "Cooperative Agreement for Platte River Research and Other Efforts Relating to Endangered Species Habitats Along the Central Platte River, Nebraska" (Cooperative Agreement). In the Cooperative Agreement, the four parties set forth a "Proposed Platte River Recovery Implementation Program" (Program). The proposed incremental Program uses adaptive management to provide benefits to whooping cranes (Grus americana), least terns (Sterna albifrons), and piping plovers (Charadrius melodus). The proposed Program will also test the assumption that it is possible to improve pallid sturgeon (Scaphirhynchus albus) habitat in the lower Platte River by managing flows in the central Platte River. The Program includes certain land and water activities to be conducted during the first 13-year increment. One of the objectives of the proposed Program is to benefit the species by reducing shortages to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service target flows by an average of 130,000-150,000 acre-feet of water annually as measured at Grand Island, Nebraska. The other objective of the proposed Program is to protect and restore 10,000 acres of habitat in the first increment and ultimately 29,000 acres of habitat from willing sellers/lessors in central Nebraska as least tern, piping plover, and whooping crane habitat. The proposed Program envisions protecting the habitat in complexes that ideally provide roosting, loafing, and foraging habitat for migrating whooping cranes as well as reproductive habitat for least terns and piping plovers. Since signing of the Cooperative Agreement, delegates from the three states, federal government, water users, environmentalists, and other interested parties have been working to develop the means by which the water and land will be provided, protected, and managed. Monitoring and research will be used to evaluate management activities of the Program and to determine the Program's benefits to the species.