About the Alliance
The Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance (LPRCA) is a consortium of three Natural Resources Districts (NRDs) and six state agencies dedicated to working with people to protect the long-term vitality of the Lower Platte River Corridor.
The Lower Platte River Corridor is generally defined as the Lower Platte River, the bluffs, and adjoining public and private lands located within the floodplain of the Lower Platte River from Columbus to the mouth of the river near Plattsmouth. This area, which runs 110 miles, supports exceptional biodiversity and serves as a valuable resource for Nebraskans.
Created in 1996 through an interlocal agreement, the Alliance uses a variety of “tools” to assist counties, communities, governments, resource management organizations, and the general public to meet Lower Platte River Corridor management challenges. These “tools” include public awareness events, educational workshops, water quality studies, floodplain studies, land-use planning assistance, and a variety of other projects.
Foster the development and implementation of locally drawn strategies, actions, and practices to protect, enhance, and restore the vitality of the river’s resources.
Promote increased understanding of the Platte River’s resources. Support county and community efforts to achieve comprehensive and coordinated land use. Facilitate cooperation among and between private and public sectors to meet the needs of the many and varied natural resources interests in the Corridor.
- Lower Platte North NRD
- John Miyoshi, General Manager
- Tom Mountford, Assistant Manager
- Mike Murren, Lake Wanahoo Coordinator
- Lower Platte South NRD Website
- Papio-Missouri River NRD
- John Winkler, General Manager
- Marlin Petermann, Assistant General Manager
- Gerry Bowen, Natural Resource Planner
- Brian Henkel, Groundwater Management Engineer
- NE Dept. of Environmental Quality Website
- Pat Rice, Assistant Director, Water Quality Division
- John Bender, Water Quality Standards Coordinator
- Pat O'Brien, NRD/NDEQ Liaison
- Patrick Hartman, Program Specialist, Water Quality Division
- NE Dept. of Natural Resources Website
- Steve Gaul, Comprehensive Planning Coordinator
- John Callen, Natural Resources Planner Coordinator
- NE Dept. of Health and Human Services Website
- Jack Daniel, Environmental Health Services
- Ralph Pulte, Monitoring & Compliance
- NE Game and Parks Commission Website
- Frank Albrecht, Assistant Division Administrator in Realty & Environmental Services
- Gene Zuerlein, Fisheries Biologist
- Carey Grell, Environmental Analyst
- Craig Wacker, Federal Aid Administrator
- NE Military Dept. Website
- Larry Vrtiska, Environmental Programs Manager
- UNL Conservation and Survey Division & Nebraska Water Center, a part of the Daugherty Water for Food Institute Website & Website
- Rachael Herpel, Water Education and Outreach Specialist
8 Reasons to Protect the Lower Platte River
Highly varied riverflows account for a great diversity of habitats and fish species. Since 1987, approximately 48 fish species, including the federally endangered Pallid Sturgeon, have been documented in the Lower Platte River.
Studies done on angler use, angler interest and economic values of fishing in the Lower Platte River found that anglers fished an average of 41 days a year on the river and were most affected by water quality, water quantity, and the presence of natural beauty.
Known as the “Platte River Playground” the Lower Platte River Corridor is a frequent recreation destination for more than 50 percent of the state’s population. Activities include camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, driving, biking, jogging, swimming, canoeing, boating, wildlife watching and picnicking.
More than 3 million people visit the parks and recreational areas within the Corridor each year, generating over $30 million in annual income for the state.
The Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance works to promote and enhance a wide array of activities such as the recent development of the “Platte River Connection” trail system between Omaha and Lincoln including the rehabilitation of a former railroad bridge for use as a river crossing and fishing pier.
Nebraska’s two largest metropolitan areas get their drinking water supplies from the alluvial aquifer of the Lower Platte River. In fact, more than half the state’s population relies on this aquifer for drinking water.
The Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance has made water quality a primary focus. Through workshops, presentations, information distribution, technical assistance, and monetary support, the Alliance addresses drinking water protection.
The LPRCA encourages community involvement in the Wellhead Protection Program – a voluntary program that emphasizes community leadership and involvement to prevent water supply contamination.
Today, thousand of acres in the Lower Platte River Valley are irrigated and considered prime agricultural land, selling in excess of $2,500 per acre.
Much of the area is cultivated with corn and soybeans, except in the less productive and saline soils where grain sorghum is typically grown. Grazing lands are also found in the uplands and the valley bottoms.
Beef cow-calf and swine production is prominent on family farm operations scattered throughout the area.
The Lower Platte River and its accompanying wetlands provide important habitat and nesting sites for a variety of waterfowl. In recent years, an average of 46 bald eagles have wintered here. In addition, endangered peregrine falcons are attracted to the area during migration due to its large amount of shorebird and waterfowl prey.
Remnants of oak woodlands and oak-hickory forests blanket the river’s bluffs and provide year-round and migratory homes for a variety of birds. Cottonwoods in the floodplain provide habitat for a broad range of birds as well as mammals, reptiles, and insects.
Freshwater marsh areas provide habitat for beaver, mink, waterfowl, wading birds, and many other species. The river’s significant spring flows, ice, and sediment are the basis for sandbar formation – a critical habitat for the endangered least tern and the threatened piping plover.
The Lower Platte River Corridor is emerging as a premier recreation center and one of the state’s leading tourist draws. The corridor area boasts two state parks, six state recreation areas, an aquarium, canoe launch sites, youth camps, wildlife clubs, museums, marinas, trail networks, golf courses, and a variety of other tourism activities and destinations.
Visitors to tourist attractions in Nebraska spent $2.8 billion in 2002 with each dollar spent contributing $2.70 to the state’s economy. Five of the top 25 tourist attractions in Nebraska are located in or near the Corridor.
Managing this expansion and maintaining the natural beauty of the landscape are immediate challenges for counties and communities abutting the Lower Platte River.
In 2000, the estimated value for mineral production within Nebraska was more than $161 million. Aggregates mined from the Corridor include construction sand and gravel, Portland cement, crushed limestone, lime, masonry cement, and industrial sand and gravel.
Mining work is planned with a clear understanding of the necessity for resource conservation and reclamation. For example, P.A.C.E. (Planning Aggregates Community Environment) is a cooperative group of sand and gravel operators, government entities and conservation groups who collaborate on planning of mining operations and reclamation efforts prior to commencement of mining.
The results of successful reclamation projects can be seen throughout the housing subdivisions, state parks and lakes, golf courses, wetlands, and wildlife refuges of the Lower Platte River Corridor.
The Lower Platte River Corridor offers a host of characteristics that tend to attract housing developments such as; natural and scenic qualities, recreational opportunities, tourist attractions, good transportation, and close proximity to Nebraska’s major metropolitan areas.
Counties and municipalities in the Corridor Region have a variety of planning and zoning regulations to guide land use. The Lower Platte River Corridor Alliance is attempting to coordinate the land use plans throughout the Corridor.
Development in floodways or floodplains, wastewater management, drinking water and water quality, compatibility with surrounding land uses, and adequate infrastructure are common land-use concerns within the Corridor.