To adhere to the Kansas-Nebraska-Colorado Republican River Compact, the Central Nebraska Public Power and Irrigation District, the Lower Republican Natural Resources District (NRD), and the Tri-Basin NRD proposed the first transbasin diversion in Nebraska history. The Central Platte River Valley supports diverse wildlife, including four federally listed and eleven state-listed species, as well as robust agricultural production. Periods of high flow in the Central Platte River Valley are necessary to maintain the basin's ecological structure, function, and groundwater recharge. Recent decades demonstrate that current water demands placed on the Platte River are not sustainable, and large portions are designated as "overappropriated." Over 90% of active river channel has been lost in some areas of the Platte. The project proposal fails to account for the ecological dynamics of the Central Platte River Valley when estimating the potential costs and benefits. Moreover, not all alternatives for water acquisition and/ or conservation appear to have been fully investigated, nor were stakeholders in the Platte River Basin involved in the decision-making process to pursue the current transbasin diversion. We recommend a more critical public and scientific evaluation of the current proposal before it moves forward, as well as the addition of a robust ecological impacts monitoring plan.


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pp. 123-135
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