Surface Water Watersheds


Everyone lives in a watershed. A watershed is the land area that contributes water to a location, usually a stream, pond, lake or river. Everything that we do on the surface of our watershed impacts the water quality of our streams, wetlands, ponds, lakes and rivers. What happens in one locality affects other downstream areas.

The North Platte River — Multi-use Water, Part 2: The North Platte Project – Pathfinder, Guernsey and Whalen

Pathfinder dam, reservoir, and new spillway ogee weir.
When the Reclamation Act passed by Congress in 1902 and the United States Reclamation Service was created, studies were conducted to determine where water projects could be constructed. Initially, the Sweetwater River (Sweetwater Project) was considered to construct a dam at “Devils Gate” to provide irrigation water. However, insufficient flows in the river did not justify the construction of a dam. The Reclamation Service then determined that a dam would be constructed on the North Platte River in the Fremont Canyon approximately 47 miles southwest of Casper, Wyoming.

Read More

The North Platte River — Multi-use Water, Part 1: The North Platte River Basin Projects — Background

Snow pack in the mountains of Wyoming. (Photo by Gary Stone)
The Platte River, then the North Platte River, and then the Sweetwater River were the series of water courses across Nebraska into Wyoming east of the continental divide for a pathway across the country that “followed the water.” This was the most traveled route across the continent for early trappers — the California, Mormon, Oregon, Overland and Pony Express trails. Over 400,000 people followed these trails to California, Oregon and Washington, bypassing the “Great American Desert”, not knowing that in the future — with irrigation water development — this area would be the breadbasket for the country.

Read More

Happy World Water Day!

Image shared from

Annually on this day, we bring special attention to the importance of groundwater & freshwater around the world. This year's theme focuses on "Groundwater: Making the invisible visible" to bring attention to this hidden water resource, that all too often goes unrecognized when sustainable policies are developed.

Read More

Nebraska Nitrate Working Groups - Summary and Call for Action

An aerial view of pivot circles
Collaborating organizations
Aubudon Nebraska
Aubudon Nebraska
Central Platte Natural Resources District

Read More

Sign up for updates from UNL Water

Sign Up Here