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The central Platte River Valley in Nebraska is an internationally significant staging area for
migratory water birds of the Central Flyway and is best known for the one-half million
sandhill cranes and the several million other waterfowl that migrate annually through the
Nine endangered species use the central Platte River Valley for habitat,
including the whooping crane, piping plover, and least tern. Changes in water and
land use have transformed the river channel and altered adjacent wet meadows. With
changes in the hydrology of the river and the structure of riparian habitats, the
sustainability of migratory and resident birds and other biota have been brought into
question. Of central concern is how the ecosystem has adjusted to changes in
streamflow. Developing successful strategies to sustain or rehabilitate the riparian
ecosystem of the central Platte River, requires an understanding of the linkages
between hydrology, river morphology, biological communities, and ecosystem
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Platte River Place-Based Study Program uses
resources from all four Divisions within the USGS
(Biological Resources Division, Geologic Division, National Mapping Division,
and Water Resources Division) to build interdisciplinary teams to examine these
physical and biological linkages.
Provide a better understanding of migratory and resident birds and other
biota and the ecology of their habitats.
Provide a better understanding of the physical processes that influence
Use this knowledge to evaluate the effects of different management strategies
on individual species and their habitats.