Records of the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc.
Scope and Contents
The Records of the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc. consists of documents dated 1921 to 2006, with the bulk falling from 1980 to 2006. The materials were either collected or created by the Trust in relation to its operations as an environmental organization with the purpose of protecting and representing the interests of threatened and endangered wildlife. Major subjects documented include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission project numbers 1417 and 1835, the Nebraska v. Wyoming Supreme Court case, and administrative aspects of the Trust. Scientific information about whooping cranes--as well as sandhill cranes, least terns, and piping plovers--appears throughout the legal documents; however, there is no separate series of materials specifically concerning wildlife. Material types include court documents, testimonies, correspondence, meeting minutes, financial statements, essays, articles, publications, maps, and aerial photographs.
- Majority of material found within 1980-2006
Restrictions on Access
Confidential and attorney-client privileged documents in Series 3 and Series 4 are restricted from public access for fifty years from date of creation. Until then, such documents can only be viewed by the clients involved or with written permission of the clients. The collection is stored off-site, so advance notice is required.
Restrictions on Use
Not all of the material in the collection is in the public domain. Researchers are responsible for addressing copyright issues.
The Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the wildlife habitat along the North Platte River in Nebraska, was established in 1978. An out-of-court settlement involving the state of Nebraska, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), and the Missouri Basin Power Project resulted in the creation of the Trust. Nebraska and the NWF objected to the building of Grayrocks Dam in Wyoming because they feared it would jeopardize wildlife habitat in Nebraska. The settlement enabled the Missouri Basin Power Project to continue construction of Grayrocks Dam on the Laramie River, but they were forced to fund the Trust with a one-time payment of $7.5 million in order to ensure whooping crane habitat maintenance along the North Platte River in Nebraska.
Since the 1800s, North Platte River settlements, dams, and diversions have greatly decreased instream flows. The goal of the Trust is to ensure that the timing of the river flows be such as to enhance whooping crane habitat. Past executive directors include John VanDerwalker (1980-1992), Thomas Emerton (1992-1995), Paul Currier (1995-2003), and Felipe Chavez-Ramirez (2003-2010). Charles ("Chuck") Cooper was named president and CEO in 2010.
The Trust is administered by three trustees representing the parties of the original settlement. Richard Spelts, Jr., was named the first chairman of the Board of Trustees, a position he held until he was dismissed in 1988. Spelts was known for establishing the credibility of the Trust in its early years.
In 1987 the Trust entered the Supreme Court case of Nebraska vs. Wyoming under a brief of amicus curiae. In 1986, Nebraska had sued Wyoming for diverting excessive water from the North Platte River, with Special Master Owen Olpin presiding over the case. In 1987 Wyoming filed counterclaims against Nebraska. These original claims and counterclaims were settled in 1993. Then in 1995 the court accepted revisions to claims from both parties and cross claims against the United States. The final settlement came on March 13, 2001. The Trust also participated in the Cooperative Agreement negotiations which led to the Platte River Habitat Recovery Program in 2006.
The Trust is based in Wood River, Nebraska, and owns approximately 10,000 acres of land along or near the North Platte River. The Trust's mission from its website reads: "At the Crane Trust, our mission is to protect and maintain the physical, hydrological and biological integrity of the Big Bend area of the Platte River so that it continues to function as a life support system for whooping cranes and other migratory birds species."
92.75 linear feet (57 record cartons, 2 flat boxes, 3 square boxes, 3 tubes, 1 flat file)
Language of Materials
The Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving the wildlife habitat along the North Platte River in Nebraska, was established in 1978. The collection contains materials either collected or created by the Trust in relation to its operations as an environmental organization with the purpose of protecting and representing the interests of threatened and endangered wildlife. Major subjects documented include Federal Energy Regulatory Commission project numbers 1417 and 1835, the Nebraska v. Wyoming Supreme Court case, and administrative aspects of the Trust. Material types include court documents, testimonies, correspondence, meeting minutes, financial statements, essays, articles, publications, maps, and aerial photographs. Some materials are closed to public access; see Restrictions.
Some portions of the collections had an inherent arrangement that was retained; other portions were arranged for the ease of research use.
The collection consists of six series in 62 boxes, 3 tubes, and 10 oversize folders:
Series 1: Director's files, 1980-2003 and undated
Series 2: Trust publications, 1980-2005
Series 3: Trust library materials, 1921-2006 and undated
Series 4: Nebraska v. Wyoming documents, 1934-2001
Series 5: Photographic materials, 1981-1982 and 1991-1995
Series 6: Maps, 1962-2001 and undated
Subseries 6.1: Trust maps, 1983-2001 and undated
Subseries 6.2: State and regional maps, 1969, 1978-1997 and undated
Subseries 6.3: Federal government maps, 1962-1987, 1998 and undated
The Records of the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc. was donated to the Water Resources Archive by the Trust in April 2007.
With the aid of two student assistants, processing was completed in May 2011. The collection was completely rehoused in acid-free materials. Metal paperclips were removed and replaced with plastic ones as necessary; all rubber bands were removed. Acidic papers were interleaved with acid-free paper. Tape was removed from documents as possible without damaging the materials, and acid-free paper was interleaved as necessary. Financial documents relating solely to employee insurance, retirement, or compensation were removed. Files of USGS gage data printed from the Internet were removed, as were day camp permission slips and letters from job applicants. Oversized maps were flattened and housed in acid-free folders, as possible, or were rolled and housed in acid-free tubes; duplicates were removed.
- Aerial photographs.
- Chavez-Ramirez, Felipe, 1965-
- Colorado -- Water rights.
- Currier, Paul J.
- Habitat conservation -- Nebraska.
- Integrated water development -- Nebraska.
- Nebraska -- Water rights.
- Platte River (Neb.)
- Platte River Whooping Crane Critical Habitat Maintenance Trust (Organization)
- United States. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
- United States. Supreme Court.
- VanDerwalker, John G.
- Whooping crane.
- Wyoming -- Water rights.
- Guide to the Records of the Platte River Whooping Crane Maintenance Trust, Inc.
- Edited Full Draft
- Prepared by Patricia J. Rettig, Alan E. Barkley, and Jordan Deignan
- Copyright 2011
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Finding aid written in English.
Part of the CSU Libraries Archives & Special Collections Repository
Fort Collins Colorado 80523-1019 USA