- Associated Press - Thursday, April 26, 2018

WATERLOO, Neb. (AP) - A Nebraska religious order has granted a conservation easement to protect a pond and surrounding land from development that could harm wildlife.

The Sisters of Mercy signed the conservation agreement to the Nebraska Land Trust last week, the Omaha World-Herald reported . The pond near the Platte River west of Omaha and the 22 acres (9 hectares) of land were used as the site of a spiritual retreat center that closed last year.

The Catholic nuns’ easement will preserve the property’s solitude, scenery and wildlife habitat. The sisters still own the land, but the easement prohibits any development on the river’s shoreline.

The agreement means that the Land Trust will protect the property from any parties that try to destroy the woods, mine the land for minerals, construct power lines, build developments and erect fences, among other things.

The Land Trust was attracted to the property for its natural riverfront along the Platte River, which is increasingly rare as the Lincoln and Omaha metropolitan areas grow toward each other.

The Sisters of Mercy land is the smallest parcel for which the Land Trust has accepted an easement.

“If we want to preserve that beautiful ribbon of green between two cities, the time to do that is now,” said Dave Sands, the trust’s executive director.

The Sisters of Mercy value stewardship of the environment, according to Sister Catherine Kuper. She said the religious order wants future generations to experience nature along the Platte River land.


Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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