Ground-water hydrology of the Mormon Island Crane Meadows Wildlife Area near Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska

Open-File Report 81-1109



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The Platte River in south-central Nebraska flows generally eastward in a broad, flat valley. The river banks and many areas adjacent to the river support thick stands of cottonwood and willow trees. Brush, grass, pasture land, and cultivated fields occupy most of the remaining area. This is the habitat for many types of wildlife that live in the area or stop over in the area during annual migrations. Both sandhill cranes and whooping cranes are part of the annual migration. There is concern that water-management changes, such as surface-water diversions or ground-water withdrawals for irrigation, may alter the hydrologic environment of the wetland areas and be harmful to the wildlife habitat. In order to determine what affect changes in water management might have on ground-water levels in the wetland areas, detailed data were collected from Crane Meadows Wildlife Area, which is on an island in the Platte River near Grand Island, Nebr. Ground-water levels beneath the island respond to changes in river stage, to recharge from snowmelt and precipitation, and to evapotranspiration by riparian vegetation and from areas where the water table is close to the land surface. The data show that ground-water levels respond rapidly to changes in river stage--usually within 24 hours for distances up to 2,500 feet from the edge of the river. Thus changes in river stage due to changes in surface-water diversions will not have a long-term effect on ground-water levels. Changes in ground-water withdrawals will have the double effect of changing ground-water levels due to changes in drawdown and due to changes in river stage caused by the effects of pumping on river flow. These effects will develop slowly and be long lasting. (USGS)

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Ground-water hydrology of the Mormon Island Crane Meadows Wildlife Area near Grand Island, Hall County, Nebraska
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Open-File Report
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U.S. Geological Survey,
iv, 20 p. ill., maps ;28 cm.