As a free-flowing river prior to modern human settlement, the Platte River had a volume of about 2.5 million acre feet, much of it flowing during the spring run-off. This yearly flood maintained a broad braided streambed. In modern times the spring run-off is sharply attentuated and the streambed is now vegetated. This has affected species which nested on the sandbars in the river or relied on the wet meadows irrigated by spring run-off.
There are four endangered species (as well as other wildlife) which are impacted by the current condition of the Central and Lower Platte River in Nebraska: the Whooping Crane which stops at the river during migration, the Piping Plover, the Interior Least Tern, and the Pallid Sturgeon. Projected efforts under the Platte River Recovery Implementation Program to improve the environment include acquisition of additional land for wildlife reserves and increased flow in the river. The Platte River Recovery Implementation Program was created by a cooperative agreement made July 1, 1997 between Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska and the U.S. Department of the Interior .
- Cooperative Agreement for the Platte River Research and Other Efforts Relating to Endangered Species Habitat Along the Central Platte River, Nebraska
- News release regarding "The Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the proposed Platte River Recovery Implementation Program (Program)"
- Links to "The Final Environmental Impact Statement"
- Papers on Platte River Basin issues