• Channel morphology;
  • Hydrologic change;
  • Platte River;
  • Water development


Major changes in hydrologic regime and morphology of channels of the Platte River and its major tributaries, the South Platte River and North Platte River in Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska have occurred since about 1860, when the water resources of the basin began to be developed for agriculture, municipal, and industrial uses. The extent of this water development, which continues to increase with growth in population and land use, has affected the timing of streamflow and transport of fluvial sediment in the Platte River through diversions, reservoir storage, and increased use of groundwater. Changes in flow regime, such as increase in low-flow magnitudes and abatement of peak-flow magnitudes, have made the riverine environment conducive to vegetative growth while reducing channel scour. These factors, in turn, contribute to morphologic changes of decreased channel width and channel area and increased island formation. This paper will focus on these trends over the last several decades in the study area on the Platte River in Nebraska.