The Missouri River is the longest U.S. river – longer even than the Mississippi River into which it flows. Two sections of the Missouri River that flow between Nebraska and South Dakota have been protected from development under the Wild and Scenic River Act, established in 1968. Fifty-nine miles were added on November 10, 1978, and thirty-nine miles on May 24, 1991. Taken together, ninety-eight miles of the Missouri River have been classified as being of “Recreational” importance, based on their many access points, roads, railroads, and bridges. The designated areas are from Gavins Point Dam to Ponca State Park NEB and from Ft. Randall Dam to the Lewis and Clark Lake.
According to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System website, these two designated stretches of the Missouri River are among the last free-flowing segments of the river, and thus still exhibit the river’s dynamic character in its islands, bars, chutes and snags – characteristics that make it a “braided river.” The Missouri River is the primary western tributary to the Mississippi River, a NWNL case study watershed. For more information about the these reaches of the Missouri River, view the NWNL 2017 Missouri River – Nebraska Expedition on our website.
All photos © Alison M. Jones.