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Fact Sheet 2009–3097

Greater Platte River Basins—Science to Sustain Ecosystems and Communities

By June M. Thormodsgard


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The Greater Platte River Basins (GPRB), located in the heartland of the United States, provides a collaborative opportunity for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and its partners to understand the sustainability of natural and managed ecosystems under changing climate and resource requirements.The Greater Platte River Basins, an area of about 140,000 square miles, sustains thousands of acres of lakes and wetlands, which provide a staging and resting area for the North American Central Flyway. Part of the GPRB is within the U.S. Corn Belt, one of the most productive agricultural ecosystems on Earth. Changes in water and land use, changing patterns of snowmelt in the Rocky Mountains, drought, and increasing demands for irrigation have reduced flows in the Platte River. These changes raise questions about the sustainability of the region for both wildlife and agriculture.The USGS and partners are developing a science strategy that will help natural-resource managers address and balance the needs of this region.

First posted November 17, 2009

For additional information contact:

Regional Science Office
Regional Chief Scientist
USGS Central Region
Denver Federal Center
Building 53, MS 406
Denver, CO 80225

303-236-1450 (telephone)
303-236-1451 (fax)

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Thormodsgard, J.M., 2009, Greater Platte River Basins—Science to Sustain Ecosystems and Communities: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3097, 6 p.


Platte River Ecosystem Study

National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA)

Crescent Lake Wildlife Refuge

High Plains Groundwater Availability Study

Recharge Estimation Across the Central Platte River Basin

Microbial Water-Quality Effects from Lower Flows and Increased Migratory Bird Densities

Effects of Water and Channel Management on Stream Ecology of the Lower Platte River, 1934–2006

Magnetic Resonance Sounding (MRS) Data of the Central Platte River

Streamflow and Topographic Characteristics of the Platte River, 1938–2007

Trends in Streamflow Characteristics of Selected Sites in the Elkhorn River, Salt Creek, and Lower Platte River Basins, Eastern Nebraska, 1928–2004, and Evaluation of Streamflows in   Relation to Instream-Flow Criteria, 1953–2004

Sand Dunes in the Greater Platte River Basin

Carbon Sequestration in the Greater Platte River Basin

Land Performance/Productivity Anomalies Mapped with Satellite Imagery

Headwaters Research and Monitoring of the Hydrologic Cycle

Loch Vale Watershed

Central Colorado Assessment Project

Surficial Geologic Mapping and Hydrogeologic Framework Studies

North American Soil Geochemical Landscapes Project

National Geochemical Database (NGDB)

Land Cover Trends

Hydrologic Flux Dynamics and Trends

Decline of Paper Birch Populations

Oil and Gas Production

Carbon Dioxide and Evapotranspiration in the South Platte Watershed

North Park – Medicine Bow Mountains Geology

Hydrogeologic Framework for Selected Areas of the Upper Loup River Basins

Evapotranspiration Rates of Riparian Forests

Resistivity Survey of Selected Irrigation Canals within the North Platte Valley

Heliborne Electromagnetic Surveys for Hydrologic Studies

Heliborne Geophysical Mapping of the Glaciated Areas of Eastern Nebraska

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