The below content replicates the content of the physical exhibit at CSU Spur. It can be used for reference, language translation, and additional accessibility.
Exploring the South Platte River
Impact Statement: The South Platte River is the center of life in northeast Colorado, and it flows outside this very building!
Description: The South Platte River shifts and changes over time, but the animals, plants, and humans that live along its banks have always depended on this precious resource. From drinking water to watering the lands that grow our food, we depend greatly on the South Platte River. Many organizations have contributed to repairing habitats along the river, including the portion that runs next to this campus. River restoration helps create healthy homes for plants and animals and safe areas for us to access the river.
Walk outside to enjoy the beauty of the South Platte!
Text in video:
The Green River is the largest tributary of the Colorado River.
Today, the Green River is home to 13 native fish species including three that are endangered and one that is threatened.
“At daybreak I am awakened by a chorus of birds. It seems as if all the feathered songsters of the region have come to the old cottonwood tree”. — John Wesley Powell camping on the banks of the Green River, Brown’s Hole, June 6, 1869.
500-foot-high Flaming Gorge Dam was completed in 1963.
In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower approved the first dynamite blast for construction of the dam from his desk at the White House.
Flaming Gorge Reservoir stores twice as much water as the total annual flow in the upper Green River.
Annual hydropower (power made from flowing water) from the dam can power 50,000 homes for one year.
The canyons of the Green River through Dinosaur National Monument are some of the most remote in the country.
An adjacent tributary, the Yampa River, is mostly free flowing and is home to endangered fish populations.
Image Caption 202a: The South Platte River travels over 450 miles from its headwaters in the Mosquito Range near Fairplay, Colorado to the Nebraska border near Julesburg, Colorado.
Image Caption 202b: Many different species of animals call the South Platte River home, including beavers, who live in its waters and eat the nearby plants and vegetation.
Image Caption 202c: The South Platte River Basin is home to some of the country’s most productive farmland due to irrigation canals, like this one, that deliver water to crops and livestock.
Text for 3D Map of South Platte:
- Built in the 1940s, the 13.1-mile-long Adams Tunnel delivers water from the Western Slope to communities and farmlands in the South Platte watershed.
- Living along the South Platte for hundreds of years, Indigenous tribes and peoples, like the Apache, Ute, Cheyenne, Comanche, and Arapaho, still rely on the river today and are great stewards of environmental sustainability.
- Many rivers have tributaries, like creeks, streams, and smaller rivers that flow into them. Some of the South Platte River’s tributaries are intermittent (or seasonal) and can be dry for months or years.
- The confluence (where two rivers, creeks, or streams meet) of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek is where gold miners first pitched tents along the river’s banks and founded Denver in 1858.
Image Credit 202d: Map created in cooperation with CSU Geospatial Centroid
Data sources: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), International Boundary and Water Commission, United States and Mexico, and Esri
River widths are representational and not to scale