Although perhaps not as well known as other river systems in the western United States, according to the sociologist David M. Freeman, the waters of the Platte River Basin are “among the most intensively exploited on the planet” (p. 11). The North Fork of the Platte spans 618 miles through southeastern Wyoming, while the South Fork extends 424 miles across northeastern Colorado. These two tributaries join near the town of North Platte, Nebraska, to form the 310-mile-long main stem that makes its way eastward to the Missouri River. Over the past 150 years or so, this once shallow, wide, slow-moving, and braided river has been profoundly altered with fifteen major dams and reservoirs along with several hundred smaller water...

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