Wild and Scenic River: Niobrara River

All photos © Alison M. Jones

On May 24, 1991, sections of Nebraska’s Niobrara River were added to the Wild and Scenic River System. A total of 104 miles of the Niobrara River are designated under the Wild and Scenic River System. 76 miles are designated as Scenic, and 28 miles are Recreational. The designated sections include:

  • Borman Bridge to State Highway 137
  • Knox County’s western boundary to the Niobrara-Missouri River confluence, and
  • Verdigre Creek-Niobrara River confluence to the north boundary of Verdigre Town.

NWNL visited braided sections between Nebraska and S. Dakota of the Niobrara River during a 2017 Mississippi River Basin expedition documenting Nebraska’s Missouri River tributaries. Our Missouri River Basin/ Niobrara Expedition Statement of Purpose describes the values and vulnerabilities of these watersheds, as well as our Methodology for this expedition. For more information about the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act read the first part of this blog series. The following pictures of the Niobrara River were taken by NWNL Director Alison Jones during her 2017 expedition.

From The National Wild and Scenic Rivers System: “Perhaps the epitome of a prairie river, the Niobrara is known as a biological crossroads. Although passing primarily through private land, it also flows through the Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge and the largest single holding of The Nature Conservancy where bison have been reintroduced. The upper portion provides excellent canoeing.”

Jones_170612_NE_3776The Niobrara River Bridge connecting South Dakota and Nebraska

Jones_170612_NE_4405-2Braided patterns at the Missouri-Niobrara Rivers Confluence

Jones_170612_NE_4406-2Nebraska’s Niobrara State Park view of the Niobrara River

Jones_170613_NE_3795-2Niobrara River before entering Nebraska’s Mormon Canal

Jones_170613_NE_4468-2A new Niobrara River channel flowing under Mormon Canal bridge

Jones_170613_NE_4536-2The Niobrara River cutting through sandy soils of Verdel, Nebraska

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