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Appendix 1

Niobrara River Background



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Introduction
Understanding the Niobrara River and the habitat requirements of its aquatic and avian fauna
requires a study of the past as well as the present, this appendix is being written with that goal
in mind. This appendix is intended as a lay summary of water sources, geology, agricultural and
recreational development in the Niobrara River basin to advance an understanding of the
Niobrara River. The river, which is a vital economic, ecological and scenic component of
northern Nebraska, needs to be understood as fully as possible to protect and ensure the
common welfare of the flora, fauna and the elements of society that thrive upon or near its
flowing reaches. The Niobrara watershed, a sub-basin of the Missouri watershed, covers
approximately 32,600 km
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of which 90% lies within northern Nebraska and the remaining
portions extend into eastern Wyoming and southern South Dakota. The Niobrara River, the
longest river in Nebraska, begins as a small stream in eastern Wyoming and ends approximately
901 km (560 mi) downstream at the confluence with the Missouri River in the town of Niobrara.
The Niobrara River is used in many different ways to meet the needs of those living in the
watershed. Some of these uses include hydro power generation, irrigation of agricultural crops,
water supply for ranches, water for domestic and recreational purposes and as a resource for
native flora and fauna. Along with these needs of society the Niobrara River is also an integral
part of the ecological processes which have been slowly working for millions of years to make
this region the unique meeting spot for the diverse ecological zones found within the Great
Plains.
Prior to the creation of the state of Nebraska, the area was home to numerous tribes such as
the Sioux or Oceti Sakowin and the Ponca. The area these tribes called home also encompassed
the Black Hills of South Dakota. The Ponca people called the river N Ubththa khe meaning
water spread-out horizontally and in the late 1800s the French named it L'Eau qui Court
which means running water. The indigenous peoples living on the plains were nomadic and
followed migrating bison, moving as the seasons dictated. When the native tribes of the West
met the Spanish in the 1600s, horses were introduced and these tribes became even more
mobile. The Nebraska territory was derived from a small portion of the Louisiana Purchase, a
transaction with France completed in 1803. Around this time, traders begin to arrive in the
area, where they trapped and traded along the river near its confluence with the Missouri
River. In the mid-1800s, people began moving west in greater numbers on what became the
Oregon Trail which ran along the Platter River. When gold was discovered in California in 1849,
people began moving through in greater numbers to seek their fortunes. Nebraska officially
became a territory through the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854 (Klajic, 2000). The rapid migration
to the area caused intense pressure on the native indigenous population and interactions
became increasingly violent. By the late 1800s, most of the indigenous tribes were removed
from their native lands and placed on distant reservations. Pioneer expansion and
infrastructure modernization throughout Nebraska shortly followed this period. The Fremont,
Elkhorn and Missouri Valley Railroad Company built several lines of tracks, some near the
Niobrara River, thus improving access and encouraging increased settlements. The railroad also
opened the rich soils and grasslands of western Nebraska to farmers. With the passing of the
Homestead Act in 1862, the grasslands were divided and made available for farming and
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ranches within the Niobrara Watershed. From the onset, farmers in this region saw the need
for augmenting the regions natural precipitation with an irrigation system to supply their crops
on a regular basis. Irrigation has been an integral part of the history of Nebraska and critical to
the people farming in this arid portion of the country.
Today, the uses of the Niobrara River are similar to those in the mid twentieth century, but now
technology has allowed society to utilize the same finite resources of the Niobrara River at a
larger scale. The dominant land use in the basin today is cattle ranching (>70%), but row crops
account for 20% of the watershed and are concentrated in areas where adequate water sources
are available (Peters et al., 2006). Most of the land in the region is privately held; however,
private groups or state and federal agencies hold several large tracts of land in a conservation
status. These areas include: the Niobrara National Scenic River, the Fort Niobrara National
Wildlife Refuge and the Nature Conservancys Niobrara River Valley Preserve.
The Niobrara River borders and partially bisects the northern limits of the Nebraska Sandhills.
The Nebraska Sandhills are the largest intact sand dune complex in the Western Hemisphere
(Bleed and Flowerday, 1998). The Sandhills grasslands begin in the western portion of the basin,
while proceeding east the Sandhills give way to mixed-prairie grassland consisting of more
mesic-floral varieties (Kantak, 1995). Along the riparian zone and active channel, deciduous and
coniferous plants become the primary vegetation type. It is important to note that in many
areas along the Niobrara River, refugia for a variety of special species can be found. For
example, the north facing canyons support white birch (Betula papyrifera), primarily a Rocky
Mountain species, because of the shading and emergence of cold ground water springs (Kaul et
al., 1988). The central stretch of the Niobrara River lies in an area considered to be a biological
meeting place of the Great Plains. This area has been recognized by the US government for its
unique characteristics and a few large tracts of land have been set aside for conservation and
historical importance.
Recognizing the significance of the resources provided by the Niobrara River, the Nebraska
Department of Natural Resources has divided the Niobrara River basin into three distinct
districts. The Upper Niobrara White Natural Resources District (UNWNRD) contains portions of
the Niobrara and White Hat basins located in Dawes, Sheridan and Sioux Counties. The Middle
Niobrara Natural Resources District (MNNRD) bordering South Dakota lies in north central
Nebraska along the middle stretch of the Niobrara River. The District is made up of the northern
two-thirds of Cherry County, western Keya Paha, northern Brown, and a small portion of
western Rock County (USDA NRCS). The Lower Niobrara Natural Resources District extends east
from the MNNRD to the confluence of the Missouri River (NRDNET). Each of these three
districts manages the resources which fall within its boundaries. The Niobrara River reached a
critical point in 2008 when the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources labeled most of the
river as, fully appropriated. However, in June 2011, the Nebraska Supreme Court reversed the
January 2008 determination regarding the fully appropriated designation due to concerns
regarding the quality of methodology used (Schneider, 2011).
Source of Water for the Niobrara River
The Niobrara Rivers water source is primarily ground water seepage from the underlying
geological formations. Originating from the impermeability of the Pierre Shale and the
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proximity of the riverbed to bedrock, the two main aquifers supplying water for the Niobrara
River Basin are the Arikaree and the Ogallala. The Arikaree lies in the western portion of the
basin and beneath the immense Ogallala Aquifer (Figure 1-1), which lies under portions of eight
different states. The majority of area of the state of Nebraska sits on top of the Ogallala
Aquifer. The Arikaree is comprised predominantly of sandstone, siltstone, shale, and silty clay.
The Ogallala Aquifer consists of fine to medium sandstone and silty clay material (Long et al.,
2003). The material comprising the Ogallala Aquifer dates from approximately 2 to 6 million
years ago. The gradual erosion of the Rocky Mountains provided the base material for the
aquifer, which was then covered by windblown and alluvial sediment that filled the ancient
valleys and channels of the present Niobrara River Basin. In the western portion of the Niobrara
River, a majority of tributaries begin as seeps and result in many cold-water streams. Further
east, within the National Scenic portion of the Niobrara, these seeps create numerous
waterfalls. Nearly 230 waterfalls exist along this reach of the river in all. Water level
fluctuations in the river are limited in the west because of the consistent aquifer discharge. In
the east however, water fluctuations increase with changes in soil type, precipitation, and
distance in relation to the aquifer (Istanbulluoglu, 2008).

Figure 1-1: Shape and size of the Ogallala Aquifer system. Figure produced from GIS data by the USGS
and published in Open File Report 00-300 (USGS OFR 00-300).
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Precipitation and groundwater contribution are vital components to the hydrography of the
Niobrara River. However, it is perhaps the use of that water that remains the cornerstone for
sustainability of the system. Anthropogenic diversions within the basin include dams and
subsequent irrigation reservoirs and groundwater wells. All of these uses have the ability to
change the river and the surrounding ecosystem and it is important to understand the effects
that they can have.
Geology
The Niobrara River basin consists of a variety of geological formations ranging in age from the
Cretaceous bedrock of 135 million years ago (mya) to the eolian loess of less than 1000 years
ago. These differences produce a basin that is old and new at the same time geologically
speaking. The base formation underlying the river and the entire basin are Cretaceous and
Tertiary bedrock. Lying above the bedrock is the Niobrara Chalk formation. This formation is
present and visible in the vertical bluffs from the mouth until approximately the Norden Bridge
(Conservation and Survey Division, 1986). Downstream from the Norden Chute, Pierre Shale
layers become visible and are in closest proximity to the water. Subsequent formations in the
basin, Rosebud (24-28 mya), Valentine (11-14 mya), and Ash Hollow (6-11 mya) can also be
seen above the Pierre Shale. These formations along with other geologic activity during the
Quaternary Period (0.0-38 mya) formed the basis of the Ogallala group and the foundation of
todays Ogallala aquifer (Skinner & Hibbard, 1972). The Ogallala aquifer is a vital water source
for Nebraska, as well as the source of the Niobrara Rivers base flows. Capping the Niobrara
River basin is a mix of several different sedimentary formations including: Petti-john, Duffey,
Long Pine, and Keim. This group of terminal formations is heavily incised due to fluvial action on
gravel and fine sediments and is found in varying amounts (Elders, 1969; Bristow, 1999).
Additionally, eolian sands cover much of the area but are restricted primarily to the southern
banks and uplands of the Niobrara River basin. Soil make-up for the basin is varied, but
primarily consists of Valentine (Elders, 1969). Overall the Niobrara River basins geology is
varied in age, composition, and level of influence. Each component of the geology combines to
establish unique properties that are found nowhere else in Nebraska. Cross-section illustrations
of the geologic formations of the Niobrara River valley can be found in Johnsgard et al. (2007).
Figure 1-2 illustrates the current geological bedrock formations within the Rushing Rivers study
area as well as those for the entire state. The Ogallala bedrock formation dominates the study
area, but what is interesting and gives the Niobrara River some of its distinctive character, as
noted above, are the bedrock formations which lie above the Ogallala Aquifer and in some
cases directly below the river itself. Some of these areas are highlighted by thick black lines in
Figure 1-2 because they are difficult to see due to the size of the study area.
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Figure 1-2: Bedrock geology of Nebraska (inset) and of the study area. Bold black lines within the
study area show changes in bedrock from Ogallala to Arikaree and White River.

Figure 1-3: This figure shows the scale of the Rushing Rivers study area (inset) and some of the major
recreational areas in the basin as well as the four major impoundments described in our report.
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Dams/Diversions and Fish Barriers
Currently there are approximately 50 small private water diversions in the basin. However, it is
the four major impoundments (Figure 1-3) within the basin that have the most obvious and real
effects on the Niobrara River hydrograph. Damming of the Niobrara River began in 1915 with
the creation of Cornell Dam near Valentine, NE. Subsequent damming occurred in 1927, with
the creation of Spencer Dam. The remaining major impoundments within the basin, Box Butte
Dam and Mirage Flats Project and Merritt Dam and reservoir, were completed in 1949 and
1965, respectively. Use of water within the basin is primarily for agricultural purposes. The
Merritt Dam and Reservoir service the largest amount of land (34,540 acres) and diverts the
largest amount of water (580 cfs) for agricultural purposes (Istanbulluoglu, 2008). In contrast to
the flow change effects at Merritt and Mirage Flats, both Spencer Dam and especially the
Cornell Dam have relatively minor impact on the rivers hydrograph. Cornell Dam is maintained
as a run-of-the-river structure thus minimizing its impact; Spencer Dam, however, operates
with some daily releases for hydropower generation. These structures have greatly affected the
transport of sediment downstream and the ability of fish to migrate. Overall, the four
structures have changed the Niobrara River and have influenced the river ecosystem
(Istanbulluoglu, 2008).
Box Butte Dam
The Box Butte Dam (Figure 1-3) and its associated components are a product of the New Deal
under President Franklin Roosevelt during a time of economic hardship and drought conditions
for western Nebraskan farmers. Since the late nineteenth century, local farmers understood the
need for irrigation to make their farms thrive. In 1939, after two years of investigation, the
Bureau of Reclamation submitted its recommendation for an irrigation project to be initiated at
what is now called Mirage Flats. In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt approved the Mirage
Flats Project which fell under the Water Conservation and Utilization Act of May 10, 1939. This
Act allowed funds to be dispersed to begin construction on the project that would include
dams, canals and reservoirs. The completed project known as the Mirage Flats Project includes;
Box Butte Dam and Reservoir, Dunlap Diversion Dam and Mirage Flat Canal. With the
completion of this project, local farmers were able to permanently irrigate their crops. Two
agencies of the New Deal were charged with overseeing and completing the project. The two
agencies were the Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Farm Security Administration
(FSA). The WPA was an agency that provided people jobs to help them through tough economic
times. The objective of the FSA was to provide relief to farmers during the Depression. The FSA
began purchasing land in the Mirage Flats area in 1940, which it then began to subdivide and
make useable once the irrigated water provided through the project was made available;
whereas, the WPA began construction of the Box Butte Dam in January of 1941. Both agencies
had to halt their efforts on the project due to WWII and did not begin again until 1944. Work on
the land preparation phase of the project was completed by the FSA in 1948. Due to the delay
in construction because of the war, additional funding was provided to the project to get it
completed faster. The additional funding was used to hire a contractor to build the Dunlap Dam
Diversion and the entire project was completed in 1949.
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Box Butte Dam is a zoned, earth-filled structure with a rock face which is 87 ft tall and 5,508 ft
in length. It is located approximately 16 km (10 mi) north of Hemingford, Nebraska in Box Butte
County. The reservoir for the dam has a total capacity of 31,060 acre-feet and a surface area of
1,600 acres. The Dunlap Diversion Dam is a concrete weir wing structure approximately 12 ft
tall and 80 ft in length. It is located 12.9 km (8 mi) downstream from Box Butte Dam and is used
to divert up to 220 cfs of water over 19 km (12 mi) through the Mirage Flats Canal System. The
Mirage Flats Canal System is located off the Dunlap Diversion and has a length of approximately
21 km (13.2 mi) and a carrying capacity of 220 cfs. The canal system delivers the diverted water
to project farming units totaling over 11,000 acres. Crops for the Mirage Flats Project include
alfalfa, beans, barley corn, oats, and wheat. Recreation opportunities are also available as a
result of the project. Some of these activities include camping, boating and fishing at the
reservoir. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission manage the recreational activities at the
reservoir. In addition to the services listed above, the dam also provides a measure of flood
control.
Merritt Dam
Merritt Dam (Figure 1-3) on the Snake River is located approximately 19 km (12 mi) southwest
of Valentine in the northern Sandhills region of Nebraska and began delivering water in 1965.
The dam is named after Mel Merritt, who was a strong supporter of the irrigation possibilities
the Snake River provided and a conservation officer for the State of Nebraska. The components
that provide farmland to be irrigated in the vicinity of Ainsworth are the Merritt Dam,
Ainsworth Canal and the Ainsworth Lateral System. The dam has the ability to divert water
from the Snake River into the canal which sends diverted water to the lateral system which
then distributes the water to various farms within the Ainsworth Irrigation District. The earth
filled dam is 126 ft tall and is 3,222 ft in length. The dam is operated by Ainsworth Irrigation
District and provides water for the Ainsworth Irrigation District which is located in Brown and
Rock Counties. The water used for irrigating purposes is moved from the reservoir through the
Ainsworth Canal approximately 64 km (40 mi) to the Ainsworth Irrigation District providing
water for 298 farms with a total acreage of approximately 34,540 acres of cropland with a value
of more than $11,500,000 (1992 dollars, Simonds (1999)). The total acreage of farm lands
within the district grew until 1977 and since has remained fairly consistent. Up to 580 cfs of
water is diverted from the Snake River by the Merritt Dam and Reservoir to provide the water
used for irrigation purposes (Istanbulluoglu, 2008). Corn is the primary crop on project farm
lands and is grown on more than 25,000 acres. The reservoir waters and lands abutting the
reservoir are managed by the Nebraska Game and Parks Division for recreational use and
wildlife conservation purposes which bring more than 150,000 people to the area each year
(The Ainsworth Unit). The reservoir has a total capacity of over 60,000 acre/feet (U.S.
Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation). Construction on the Ainsworth Canal
began in April 1962 and was completed in September 1965. The canal just under 85 km (53 mi)
in length and lined with concrete and has a capacity of 580 cfs. The Ainsworth Lateral System is
over 281 km (169 mi) long and can vary in its flow capacity between 4 -580 cfs. The Ainsworth
Lateral System was completed in June 1966.
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Cornell Dam
Cornell Dam (Figure 1-3) is named after C.H. Cornell of Valentine who was the driving force in
getting the dam built. The dam is a run-of-the-river structure completed in 1915, above the
confluence of Minnechaduza Creek and the Niobrara River. The dam is primarily concrete
totaling over 207 ft in length with a hydraulic height of approximately 10 ft. It was constructed
for the purpose of generating electricity and supplied energy to Valentine, NE. Cornell Dam was
privately operated until the early 1940s, when Nebraska enacted a statewide public power
policy. The dam and hydroelectricity plant were then operated by Nebraska Public Power
District (NPPD) until it closed operations in 1985. After the closure of Cornell Dam, NPPD
transferred the land and surrounding structures to the United States Department of the
Interior, which then became part of the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge operated by the
United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Nebraska Public Power District website).
Spencer Dam
Construction of Spencer Hydro-Dam (Figure 1-3) was completed in 1927 and operations of the
facility have been overseen by NPPD since the 1940s. The Spencer Hydro-Dam is the only
hydroelectric facility on the Niobrara River. Spencer Dam is primarily an earthen dam
accompanied by nine spillway gates and the generator house. The total length of the structure
is approximately 3698 ft, of which 404 ft is spillway gates and the generator house and
hydraulic height for the Spencer Hydro-Dam is just over 26 ft. The hydroelectricity facility
houses two Westinghouse generators with a maximum capacity of 3000 kilowatts per hour.
River flows that move through the turbine of the hydro electrical facility vary throughout the
year with 2010 summer flows averaging 1690 cfs (SD=227 cfs). The maximum discharge for
operation is 20000 cfs. While Spencer Hydro-Dam can be classified as a run of the river dam,
it still impedes some water and substrate, creating a small impoundment upstream of the dam.
The maximum capacity of the impoundment is 16,487 acre feet with normal storage at 5,306
acre feet. Additionally, the normal surface area of the impoundment is 1.4 square miles. The
dam is operated to match the flow of the river, but this cannot always be exact because of
routine maintenance. However, operational procedures generally match normal flow
conditions (Soenksen et al.,2010). The dam also provides the added benefit of acting as a
barrier to invasive aquatic species moving up-river from the Missouri River such as Asian carp
(Wanner et al., 2008). The hydropower facility has a 2,035 cfs hydropower water appropriation
right with priority dates of 1896, 1923 and 1942 (Aiken, 2007).
Norden Chute
The Norden Chute (Figure 1-3), located east of Valentine, marks a point where the river
transitions from a single river channel upstream to a mostly braided river system downstream.
The Norden Chute is a natural fish barrier produced as a result of the river flowing over a unit of
bedrock that forms a portion of the high plains aquifer. The single channel portion of the river
upstream from Norden Chute is generally narrow with very little to no flood plain; on the other
hand, downstream from the chute the river is remarkably different having a very wide and large
flood plain. This difference can be easily seen in the aerial photography located in Appendix 3
of this report; Sites 16 through 6, from west to east, exemplify the single channel characteristics
and Sites 5 through 1 show the highly braided characteristics of the river downstream.
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Recreation
Niobrara National Scenic River
In 1991, a 122 km (76 mi) stretch of the Niobrara River became part of the USAs Scenic River
System (Figure 1-3). The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System was created by Congress under
the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Under this Act any river that is deemed to have
exceptional recreational, natural, scenic and cultural characteristics can be designated as a Wild
and Scenic waterway. Rivers of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System should also be void
of impoundments, be able to support a natural flora and fauna community, be healthy for
people to utilize in a recreational capacity and retain a generous portion of their natural
condition (National Wild and Scenic Rivers System).
Under this system the National Park Service is able to develop a specific management plan for
its use and provide a level of protection the river would not otherwise have. The Niobrara
National Scenic River begins east of Valentine and flows 76 miles through north central
Nebraska. There are over 230 waterfalls on this portion of the river, which are a natural feature
attributed to the close proximity of the river and the high plains aquifer. The National Park
Service has identified six different ecosystems meeting in this area. There are three forest
types: eastern deciduous, ponderosa pine and boreal forests. There are also three prairie types:
tall-grass, mixed-grass and short-grass. The rich complexity of varying ecological zones within
the area supports a large number of both plant and animal species (National Park Service). This
stretch of the Niobrara River is enjoyed by tens of thousands of visitors yearly through the U. S.
National Park Service and the many recreational outfitters located in the area.
Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge
Before the first European settlers came to the Nebraskan territory the surrounding landscape
was largely dominated by grass extending for great distances with streams and rivers scattered
throughout the region. These lotic environments bordered by trees were a rich resource
supporting a host of vegetative and animal life. Fort Niobrara was built in 1879 to protect
pioneering settlers but saw little conflict during that time and was later abandoned in 1906. In
1912, President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order making Fort Niobrara a bird
preserve and a place to conserve bison and elk herds which were rapidly dwindling in number.
Today, Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge (Figure 1-3) encompasses an area over 19,000
acres and contains within its borders the Cornell Dam and a portion of the Niobrara National
Scenic River. Fossils dating from 12 thousand to 13 million years ago have been found within
the refuge including those of three-toed horses, mastodons and giant bison. A person visiting
the refuge today can still see the remains of the foundation from where the old fort originally
stood. The refuge is home to or is visited by over 230 species of birds yearly. The geographical
location of the fort places it in the migration route for many bird species including the
endangered whooping crane.
Valentine National Wildlife Refuge
In 1935, the 71,516 acre Valentine National Wildlife Refuge was established to protect a part of
the Sandhills region and the wildlife which falls within its boundaries. This refuge is managed as
part of the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and is home to a portion of the Sandhills
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Prairie the last mid and tall grass prairie in the country. This prairie system was deemed a
National Landmark in 1976 due to its unique character.
Niobrara Valley Preserve
The Niobrara Valley Preserve, purchased in 1980, is the largest preserve the Nature
Conservancy owns and manages. It is situated in a portion of Brown, Cherry and Keya Paha
Counties. The preserve is almost 58,000 acres and contains a 25 mile stretch of the Niobrara
River. This preserve is home to more than 500 bison, which were brought back in 1985 to help
restore the valley to its original condition before European settlement in the 1800s. The
preserve functions as a testing ground for grassland management practices to help restore the
native prairie systems, which were once an integral part of this diverse region. The preserve
also operates as a ranch for cattle grazing and wood harvesting. Through the Niobrara Valley
Preserve, the Nature Conservancy places a high importance on scientific research and
education integrating the ecological needs of the prairie system with the demands of society
(Niobrara Valley Preserve website).
Merritt Reservoir State Recreation Area
The Merritt Dam/Reservoir complex provides recreational opportunities and wildlife
conservation management. Managed by the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission, the 71 km
(44 mi) of reservoir shoreline provides hunting, fishing, camping and water recreational
activities to thousands of visitors each year.. The recreational complex at the reservoir has eight
camping areas with more than 200 campsites available (Nebraska Games and Parks). The
recreational facilities and campgrounds are also used by visitors to the nearby McKelvie
National Forest, which is located just to the north of the dam.
Box Butte Reservoir
The Box Butte Reservoir State Recreation Area located on the 14 miles of shoreline surrounding
the Box Butte Dam and over 600 additional acres surrounding the reservoir provides many
opportunities for people to enjoy outdoor recreational activities. Visitors to the facility
managed by the Nebraska Games and Parks Commission can participate in boating, fishing,
hiking and camping (Nebraska Games and Parks). This site is also a favorite for bird enthusiasts;
over 200 species of birds have been seen at this park since 1973 (U.S. Department of the
Interior, Bureau of Reclamation).
McKelvie National Forest
This national forest is over 115,000 acres of prairie grassland and pine forests. Most of the trees
in the national forest have been planted by people to be used for harvesting purposes. The
Eastern Juniper, Scots Pine and Ponderosa Pine stands that are harvested and continuously
replaced have begun to spread throughout the area on their own.
Valentine State Fish Hatchery
The Valentine State Fish Hatchery built in 1912, located on Minnechaduza Creek just north of
Valentine, is one of four state operated hatcheries in Nebraska. The 700-acre facility managed
by the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has the capability to collect and produce more
than 68,000,000 eggs a year as well as raise more than 1,000,000 largemouth bass, bluegill,
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black crappie, channel catfish and tiger muskellunge in a season (Nebraska Game and Parks
Commission).
Niobrara State Park
The state park encompasses the confluence of the Niobrara and Missouri Rivers and protects
1,640 acres of delta and the surrounding hills. The park is a popular camping site.
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References
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braided Niobrara River, Nebraska: effect of base-level rise. Sedimentology. 46: 1029-
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Elders JA. 1969. Soils of Nebraska. University of Nebraska Conservation Survey Division
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Istanbulluoglu E. 2008. Hydrological Analysis of the Niobrara River. Initial Report.
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Simonds WJ. 1999. The Ainsworth Unit Sandhills Division Pick-Sloan Missouri Basin Program.
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in the Niobrara River Basin, Nebraska, 1980 and 2009. Journal of Environmental
Hydrology 18, paper 11.
Wanner GA, Pegg MA, Shuman DA, Klumb RA. 2008. Niobrara River Fish Community
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ONLINE RESOURCES
National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website.
http://www.rivers.gov/
Nebraska Games and Parks website.
http://outdoornebraska.ne.gov/parks/
Nebraska Natural Resource Districts website. http://nrdnet.org/DOCS/PDF/Niobrara.pdf

Nebraska Public Power District website.
http://www.nppd.com
Niobrara Scenic River, National Park Service website.
http://www.nps.gov/niob/naturescience/index.htm
Niobrara Valley Preserve website
http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/nebraska/pla
cesweprotect/niobrara-valley-preserve.xml
U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Reclamation website.
http://www.usbr.gov/projects/