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Encyclopedia > Platte River
Platte
Map of the Platte River, also showing the South and North Platte River watersheds
Origin Western Nebraska
Mouth Missouri River, Nebraska
Basin countries United States
Length 310 miles (499 km)
Source elevation 2,770 feet (844 m)
at North Platte, Nebraska

The Platte River is an approximately 310 mi. (499 km) long river in the Western United States. It is a tributary to the Missouri River, which in turn is a tributary to the Mississippi River. Platte River being one of the most significant river systems in the watershed of the Missouri, it drains a large portion of the central Great Plains in Nebraska and the eastern Rocky Mountains in Colorado and Wyoming. The river was highly significant in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major westward trails, including the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail. In the 18th century, it was also known among French fur trappers who explored it as the Nebraska River. The Platte River may refer to: The Platte River in Michigan in the United States. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... Platte River, showing North Platte and South Platte © 2004 Matthew Trump File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... River Wey near its source at Farringdon, Hampshire Headstream is the origin of water flow that initiates the subject watercourse. ... For other uses, see Nebraska (disambiguation). ... The Missouri River is a tributary of the Mississippi River in the United States. ... For other uses, see Nebraska (disambiguation). ... A drainage basin is the area within the drainage basin divide (blue outline), and drains the surface runoff and river discharge (green lines) of a contiguous area. ... River Wey near its source at Farringdon, Hampshire Headstream is the origin of water flow that initiates the subject watercourse. ... Grain elevator along the Union Pacific Railroad in downtown North Platte North Platte is a city in Lincoln County in southwestern Nebraska on I-80 where the South Platte River and the North Platte River join to form the Platte River. ... Regional definitions vary from source to source. ... The Missouri River is a tributary of the Mississippi River in the United States. ... For the river in Canada, see Mississippi River (Ontario). ... For other uses, see River (disambiguation). ... A drainage basin is the area within the drainage basin divide (blue outline), and drains the surface runoff and river discharge (green lines) of a contiguous area. ... For other uses, see Great Plains (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Nebraska (disambiguation). ... For individual mountains named Rocky Mountain, see Rocky Mountain (disambiguation). ... Official language(s) English Demonym Coloradan Capital Denver Largest city Denver Largest metro area Denver-Aurora Metro Area Area  Ranked 8th in the US  - Total 104,185 sq mi (269,837 km²)  - Width 280 miles (451 km)  - Length 380 miles (612 km)  - % water 0. ... Official language(s) English Capital Cheyenne Largest city Cheyenne Area  Ranked 10th  - Total 97,818 sq mi (253,348 km²)  - Width 280 miles (450 km)  - Length 360 miles (580 km)  - % water 0. ... For other uses, see Oregon Trail (disambiguation). ... The Mormon Trail or Mormon Pioneer Trail is the 1,300 mile route that members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints traveled from 1846-1857. ... (17th century - 18th century - 19th century - more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800. ...


The Platte River is a braided stream that spans from the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming to the Missouri River. It then pours into the Missouri River which leads into the Mississippi River and then into the Gulf of Mexico.

Contents

Description

Platte River valley west of Omaha, Nebraska
Platte River valley west of Omaha, Nebraska

The Platte River is formed in western Nebraska east of the city of North Platte by the confluence of its two affluents, the South Platte and the North Platte rivers, both of which rise in the eastern Rockies near the Continental Divide. It flows in a large arc, southeast then northeast, across Nebraska south of the Sandhills region, passing Gothenburg, Cozad, Kearney, and Grand Island. It is joined by the Loup River 5 miles (8.0 km) southeast of Columbus and flows east past North Bend then to Fremont, then south, passing south of Omaha and joining the Missouri 5 miles (8.0 km) north of Plattsmouth. Combined with the length of the North Platte, the Platte stretches over 900 miles (1,448 km), with a drainage basin of 90,000 square miles (233,099 km²). Omaha redirects here. ... For other uses, see Nebraska (disambiguation). ... Grain elevator along the Union Pacific Railroad in downtown North Platte North Platte is a city in Lincoln County in southwestern Nebraska on I-80 where the South Platte River and the North Platte River join to form the Platte River. ... A tributary (or affluent or confluent) is a contributory stream, a river that does not reach the sea, but joins another major river (a parent river), to which it contributes its waters, swelling its discharge. ... The South Platte River in Denver, Colorado The South Platte River is one of the two principal tributaries of the Platte River and itself a major river of the American West, located in the U.S. states of Colorado and Nebraska. ... The North Platte River The North Platte River is a tributary of the Platte River, approximately 680 mi (1,094 km) long, in the U.S. states of Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska. ... A continental divide is a line of elevated terrain which forms a border between two watersheds such that water falling on one side of the line eventually travels to one ocean or body of water, and water on the other side travels to another, generally on the opposite side of... Sand Hills from space, September 2001 The Sand Hills are a 19,600 mi² (50,960 km²) region of mixed-grass prairie in north-central Nebraska, covering just over one-fourth of the state. ... Gothenburg Gothenburg is a city located in Dawson County, Nebraska. ... Sign marking the 100th meridian in Cozad Cozad is a city located in Dawson County, Nebraska. ... Kearney is a city in Buffalo County, Nebraska, United States. ... Image:Thumb18115. ... The Loup River in Nebraska, showing the North and South Loup rivers This article is on the Loup River in Nebraska, USA; for information on the Loup River in southeast France, see Loup River (France). ... Columbus is a city in Platte County, Nebraska, 90 miles (148 km) west by north of Omaha on the Loup River, a short distance above the confluence with the Platte. ... North Bend is a city in Dodge County, Nebraska, United States. ... Fremont is a city located in eastern Nebraska, in Dodge County, near Omaha. ... Omaha redirects here. ... Plattsmouth is a city located in Cass County, Nebraska. ...


The Platte River has three main stretches from the Rocky Mountains to North Platte, Nebraska from there to Columbus, Nebraska and the onto the Missouri River. It starts from ice melt in the mountains and then follows down to the plains of Nebraska where it is used to irrigate farmland. The Platte is stabilized by reservoir storage of flood water and return flow by ground storage and many small tributaries along the entire length of the river.


The Platte River is connected to many numbers of tributaries such as the North and South Platte Rivers which originate in the Rocky Mountains. From there it loses water on its way to the Missouri River and if it weren’t for rivers like the Loup and Elkhorn and also the Salt Creek then the Platte River would run dry due to evaporation and irrigation.

A Great Blue Heron and immature Bald Eagle on the Platte River in Nebraska
A Great Blue Heron and immature Bald Eagle on the Platte River in Nebraska

The Platte drains one of the most arid areas of the Great Plains and thus its flow is considerably lower than rivers of comparable length in North America. For much of its length, it is a classic wide and shallow braided stream. During pioneer days, the common humorous description was that the Platte was "a mile wide at the mouth, but only six inches deep." 49ers said it was "too thick to drink, too thin to plow". In western Nebraska, the banks and riverbed of the Platte provide a green oasis amid an otherwise semi-arid region of North America. The central Platte River valley is an important stopover for migratory water birds, such as the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane, in their yearly traversal of the Central Flyway. Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 The Great Blue Heron , Ardea herodias, is a wading bird in the heron family Ardeidae, common over most of North and Central America as well as the West Indies and the Galápagos Islands, except for the far north and deserts and high mountains where there... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1766) Bald Eagle range  Resident, breeding Summer visitor, breeding Winter visitor On migration only Star: accidental records Subspecies (Linnaeus, 1766) Southern Bald Eagle (Audubon, 1827) Northern Bald Eagle Synonyms Falco leucocephalus Linnaeus, 1766 The Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) is a bird of prey found in North America... A braided river channel consists of a network of small channels separated by small islands called braid bars. ... 49ers can refer to: The immigrants of the California gold rush in 1849; The San Francisco 49ers American football team, named after the above; Athletic teams of Long Beach State, also named after the California gold rush immigrants; Athletic teams of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, in memory... Binomial name Linnaeus, 1758 as of 2007 The Whooping Crane (Grus americana), named for its whooping call, is a very large and endangered crane. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) The Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) is a large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. ... The Central Flyway is a bird migration route that generally follows the Great Plains in the United States and Canada. ...


This river has shrunk significantly in the past 70 years. This reduction in size is attributed in part to irrigation, and to a much greater extent to the waters diverted and used by the growing population of Colorado, which has outstripped the ability of its groundwater to sustain them.


History

The first European to discover the Platte was the French explorer Étienne de Veniard, sieur de Bourgmont in 1714, who named it the Nebraskier, an Oto word meaning "flat water". The French word for flat, platte, was later applied. The river provided valuable transportation for the French trade in furs with the Pawnee and Oto indians For other uses, see Europe (disambiguation). ... Étienne de Veniard, Sieur de Bourgmont (April 1679-1734) was a French explorer who made the first maps and documentation of the Missouri and Platte rivers. ... Battle of Gangut, by Maurice Baquoi, 1724-27. ... The Pawnee (also Paneassa, Pari, Pariki) are a Native American tribe that historically lived along the Platte, Loup and Republican Rivers in present-day Nebraska. ... The Otoe or Oto are a Native American people. ...


The Platte lay in a gray area between Spanish and French claims in the Great Plains. Joseph Naranjo, a black explorer, had also encountered the Platte, and later guided the Villasur expedition there to stop French expansion. Theirs was the deepest penetration of Spanish exploration into the central plains. The Villasur expedition (1720) was a Spanish military expedition intended to check the growing French presence on the Great Plains of central North America. ... The Spanish colonization of the Americas was Spains conquest, settlement, and rule over much of the western hemisphere from 1492-1898. ...


Ceded to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase, the Platte was explored and mapped by Major Stephen H. Long in 1820. The Platte was used by American trappers, and the Great Platte River Road played an important role in westward expansion during the 19th century. It provided fresh water, game, and a clear path westward for the pioneers. Both the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail followed the Platte (and the North Platte). In the 1860s, the Platte and North Platte furnished the route of Pony Express and later for the Union Pacific portion of the first transcontinental railroad. In the 20th century, its valley was used for the route of the Lincoln Highway and later for Interstate 80, which parallels the Platte (and the North Platte) through most of Nebraska. The Louisiana Purchase (French: Vente de la Louisiane) was the acquisition by the United States of America of 828,000 square miles (2,140,000 km²) of French territory (Louisiana) in 1803. ... Stephen Harriman Long (1784 - 1864) was a U.S. army officer and explorer. ... 1820 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... // The First Transcontinental Railroad in the USA was built in the six year period between 1863 and 1869. ... Frank E. Webner, pony express rider c. ... Union Pacific redirects here. ... Poster announcing railroads opening The First Transcontinental Railroad was a transcontinental railroad in North America that was finished in 1869. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... For the Australian highway, see Lincoln Highway (Australia). ... Interstate 80 (abbreviated I-80) is the second-longest Interstate Highway in the United States. ...


This is also why many or most of Nebraska’s larger cities are located on or near the Platte River such as Omaha, Lincoln, Kearney, Grand Island, and North Platte. There were also historical sites along the Platte River such as Fort Kearny and other fur trading posts mostly due to the ease and abundance of traveling along the Platte River.


It is a very important historical piece in that it provided a well known and consistent path for the people who traveled along the Oregon and Mormon Trail. Now it is used as the route which I-80 follows across the middle of our country.


Then in 1859 the first irrigation ditch was built to divert water from the Platte in order to be used in farming. There are also many reservoirs along the Platte River used to supply water for farming irrigation such as Swanson Reservoir, Lake McConaughy, and Plum Creek Reservoir.


Species

The Platte is in the middle of the Central Flyway which is a primary North- South Corridor for migratory birds which affects many species including the Whooping Crane, Piping Plover, and Interior Least Tern which are all endangered and protected under the Platte River Endangered Species Partnership as well as the Pallid Sturgeon. It is also home to many other plants and animals.


Plants that occur often in the Platte River area are Big and Little Bluestem, switch grass, and cottonwood trees. Some of the more charismatic animals are white-tail deer, many types of catfish, Canadian Geese, and Bald Eagles. The Platte River has always been able to support many animals but recently due to urbanization and farming the ecosystem is being depleted.


Policy

The criteria for over appropriation according to the final reading of LB 962 is if the river basin, sub basin, or reach is subject to an interstate cooperative agreement among three or more states and if , prior to such date, the department has declared a moratorium on the issuance of new surface water appropriations in such river basin, sub basin or reach and has requested each natural resource district with jurisdiction in the affected area in such river basin, sub basin or reach either to close or to continue in effect a previously adopted closure of all or part of such river basin, sub basin, or reach to the issuance of additional water well permits in accordance with subdivision. The Platte River basin is mostly currently under over appropriation conditions.


There are also other policies currently in use. One of these that are being used to hopefully decrease the chance of waters becoming over appropriated is Platte River Cooperative Hydrology Study (COHYST) which is a product of the LB 962 bill. COHYST is a seven million dollar study of areas along the Platte River with goals to manage flows in the Platte River in order to benefit wildlife and determine whether or not areas are over appropriated.


Literary reference

In Centennial, James A. Michener's epic novel about the West from prehistoric to modern times, the second chapter is about the geological history of the Platte River tributary. The river as stopover for sandhill cranes plays an important part in Richard Powers' 2006 novel The Echo Maker. Centennial was a novel written by American author James Michener and published in 1974. ... James Albert Michener (February 3, 1907? - October 16, 1997) was the American author of such books as Tales of the South Pacific (for which he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1948), Hawaii, The Drifters, Centennial, The Source, The Fires of Spring, Chesapeake, Caribbean, Caravans, Alaska, Texas, and Poland. ... Binomial name (Linnaeus, 1758) The Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis) is a large crane of North America and extreme northeastern Siberia. ... Richard Powers (born June 18, 1957) is a novelist whose works explore the effects of modern science and technology. ... The Echo Maker (2006) is a novel by American writer Richard Powers which won the National Book Award for fiction. ...


Algis, Laukaitis J. Searching for the Source. UNL. Lincoln: CoJMC, 2006. Caponera, Daunte. Principles of Water Law and Administration: National and International. Taylor and Francis, 1992. 126-127. Carolyn, Johnsen. Wrestling for Resources. UNL. Lincoln: CoJMC, 2006. Condra, G. E. Development of the Platte River Bottomland in South Central Nebraska. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 21 (1931): 101-105. Endangered and Threatened Species of the Platte River. Washington, DC: The National Academies P, 2005. Europeans Compete for Trade. Nebraska Studies. 20 Apr. 2008 <http://www.nebraskastudies.org/0300/frameset_reset.html?http://www.nebraskas tudies.org/0300/stories/0301_0112.htm Kirsch, Eileen. Wildlife Monographs, No. 132, Habitat Selection and Productivity of Least Terns on the Lower Platte River, Nebraska (Jan., 1996), pp. 3-48 Kirsch, Eileen et al. Colonial Waterbirds, Vol. 16, No. 2 (1993), pp. 139-148 Max, Post Van Der Burg. A Diminishing Habitat. UNL. Lincoln: CoJMC, 2006. McCammon, Sarah. Cohyst Project. UNL. Lincoln: CoJMC, 2006. Nebraska. Natural Resources. Legislative Bill 962. 2004. Nebraska State Map Collection. 29 Apr. 2008 <http://geology.com/state- map/nebraska.shtml>. Nemec, Kristine. Underground Treasure Trove. UNL. Lincoln: CoJMC, 2006. Phelps, Steven. Genetic Identity of Pallid and Shovelnose Sturgeon. Copeia, Vol. 1983, No. 3 (Aug. 16, 1983), pp. 696-700 Summary of LB 962 Activities. Nebraska Department Natural Resources, 2004.


See also

This is a partial list of rivers in the state of Nebraska in the United States: Missouri River White River Niobrara River Snake River Keya Paha River Platte River Elkhorn River Logan River Loup River North Loup River Middle Loup River South Loup River Cedar River North Platte River South...

  Results from FactBites:
 
The South Platte River through people and places (3626 words)
The river has not been recognized as a physical part of the city, nor is it seen as a meaningful component of the life of its inhabitants.
Cotton wood associations along the South Platte and Cherry Creek were felled for lumber and firewood, exacerbating the intensity of the sun in a highly arid climate and disrupting the continuity of wildlife habitat.
The river was referred to as the “finest natural highway in the world.” Pioneers crossing the plains used the south Platte as a natral pathway in which water was always available and the path was always sure.
Platte River - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (722 words)
Although it is not navigable, the river was highly significant in the westerward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major westward trails, including the Oregon Trail and the Mormon Trail.
It is formed in western Nebraska east of the city of North Platte by the confluence of its two affluents, the South Platte and the North Platte rivers, both of which rise in the eastern Rockies near the Continental Divide.
The central Platte River valley is an important stopover for migratory water birds, such as the Whooping Crane and Sandhill Crane, in their yearly traversal of the Central Flyway.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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