The Central Nebraska Basins (NAWQA) study unit includes the Platte River and two major tributaries, the Loup and Elkhorn Rivers. Platte River flows are variable of diversions, but the Loup and Elkhorn Rivers originate in an area of dune sand covered by grassland that generates consistent base flows. Ground water has no regional confining units and the system is a water table aquifer throughout. Macroinvertebrate and fish taxa were related to stream flow. One of the four wetland complexes includes habitat for threatened and endangered bird species. A water quality assessments will be based on the differences in environmental setting in each of four subunits within the study unit.