NIOBRARA MAKES MOST ENDANGERED RIVERS LIST

Posted 12 months ago

By John Axtell

Endangered Rivers mapThe Niobrara River…which drains much of northern Nebraska…is #10 on the American Rivers conservation group’s 2013 list of the nation’s most endangered rivers.

The group blames improper sediment management for listing the nearly 570-mile-long river that  begins in Wyoming and flows through Nebraska Nebraska to join the Missouri River near the top of Lewis and Clark Lake, the reservoir formed by Gavins Point Dam.

Lewis and Clark Lake…which has lost 30% of its storage capacity…would have sediment problems from just the Missouri, but American Rivers says improper management on the Niobrara is making those problems worse while putting property, crops, and public safety along the lower Niobrara itself at risk of flooding.

The sediment build-up is described as so extreme at the confluence of the two rivers that the overall level of the local water table has increased substantially.

Flooding due to sedimentation forced relocation of the village of Niobrara in 1973, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is working on sediment and high-water conditions that could affect the village at its current location as well as nearby farm fields.

The Colorado leads this year’s list of endangered rivers, followed by Georgia’s Flint River and the San Saba in central Texas.