KEARNEY, Neb. — While the Platte River remains an important wetland for many species and habitats, one group of contractors makes it their duty to improve environmental and economic concerns.
Contractors from across the state are in Kearney at the Nebraska Land Improvement Contractors Association’s 60th annual convention to network and mingle, but also learn more about environmental projects in Nebraska.
The Nebraska LICA consists of small and large contractors and business owners who are concerned with soil and water conservation.
Steve Kriewald with NLICA said one of the largest issues addressed at the convention dealt with the Platte River.
"A lot of the main issues have to do with protecting wetlands, helping create wetlands where needed and you know, on the other end, creating dam structures like that to hold water back and prevent flooding of that nature,” said Kriewald.
These contractors heard from wetland engineers on a few restoration projects that they can bid on and work for.
Justin Brei with the Platte River Recovery said a lot of the Central Platte River has changed because of farming practices, making wetland projects important.
"The river has changed overall. It used to function a lot differently in the past than it does now so we kind of take advantage of certain areas of the river where we're able to do some restoration that can still benefit the species but still also allow those other used like agriculture,” said Brei.
NLICA contractors would work to excavate and seed the land to grow the habitat and not only would these projects help conserve the soil and water, but many animals that rely on wetland habitats as well.
"The endangered species that the program is looking to provide habitat for are the whooping cranes, interior least tern, piping plover and then they also provide some benefits for the sturgeon down in the lower Platte River,” said Brei.
Thursday’s top presentations include what not to put in a landfill and more on wetland compliance.