Riverine wetlands

An aerial view of the Platte River at Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary near Gibbon, Nebraska. Grant Reiner/Platte Basin Timelapse

Riverine wetlands are found all across Nebraska — at the edges of rivers and along river floodplains, and they include small streams and creeks. These are complex systems made up of wetlands, sandbars, river channels, tree falls and organic matter, all of which make them biodiversity hotspots.

Because of their make-up, these wetlands produce invertebrates and other organic matter that provide energy and food to other parts of the streams and rivers. They provide spawning and nursery areas for many types of fish, mussels, amphibians and reptiles, and are home to numerous wildlife.

These wetlands are fed by snow melt in the Rocky Mountains, groundwater from the Ogallala Aquifer and other aquifers, and precipitation, and water levels in the core river system affect them.

Although some wetlands occur along all of Nebraska’s rivers, those associated with the Platte, Missouri, Niobrara and Elkhorn rivers contain the greatest river-associated wetland acreage left in the state. Other rivers were highly altered due to channelization and down-cutting, eliminating once extensive riverine wetlands.

Watch our Riverine Wetlands film

Follow Nebraska Game and Parks and the Platte Basin Timelapse crew to learn about Nebraska’s riverine wetlands, conservation efforts to protect them, and the species that rely on them to survive.

This documentary was produced in collaboration with the Platte Basin Timelapse project at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln by Grant Reiner. Find additional videos, interactive maps, recorded bird sounds, photo galleries of the plants and animals that depend on these wetlands, and a behind-the-scenes look at the making of this documentary online at Wetlands of Nebraska: Riverine Wetlands StoryMap.

Explore the Riverine StoryMap

Riverine systems

Additional information on riverine wetlands along the Platte Confluence and Central Platte, Lower Platte and Missouri rivers, is coming soon.

More on riverine wetlands

Learn more about riverine wetlands in our Wetlands Guide, which talks about how wetlands function, their dynamics, threats to their survival, and conservation efforts. Fourteen wetland complexes — including Nebraska’s other wetland types — are covered in depth.

Or visit our wetlands website,, to discover additional resources designed for landowners, hunters, wildlife watchers and educators.