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Arikaree River
Arikaree River valley 2016-07-12 1283.jpg
Arikaree River Valley at the location of the Battle of Beecher Island near Wray, Colorado
RepublicanRiverBasin.png
Republican River watershed; the Arikaree is in orange at far left
Native name Ononio'he
Other name(s) Arikara Fork Republican River
Country United States
State Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska
Physical characteristics
Main source Elbert County, Colorado
5,908 ft (1,801 m)
River mouth Republican River
Haigler, Nebraska
3,241 ft (988 m)
Length 156 mi (251 km)
Basin features
Basin size 1,743 sq mi (4,510 km2)
Tributaries
Watersheds Arikaree-Republican-Kansas-
Missouri-Mississippi

The Arikaree River is a 156-mile-long (251 km) river in the central Great Plains of North America. It lies mostly in the American state of Colorado, draining land between the North and South Forks of the Republican River, and it flows into the North Fork in Nebraska after flowing a short distance through Kansas. It is a designated area within the Colorado Natural Areas Program to protect native and uncommon species that may be endangered or threatened.

Name

The river is named after the Arikara Native Americans , whose name refers to "horn".

Geography

The source of the Arikaree River is in extreme eastern Elbert County, Colorado on the western edge of the High Plains region of the Great Plains. From there, the river flows generally northeast across the High Plains in eastern Colorado. It then crosses the extreme northwestern corner of Kansas before entering far southwestern Nebraska. At the town of Haigler, the Arikaree joins with the North Fork Republican River to form the Republican River.

The point where the Arikaree River flows out of Yuma County, Colorado and into Cheyenne County, Kansas, located at 39°58′41″N 102°03′06″W / 39.97806°N 102.05167°W / 39.97806; -102.05167, is the lowest point in Colorado at an elevation of 3,317 feet (1,011 m). It holds the distinction of being the highest low point of any U.S. state, higher than the highest points of 18 states and the District of Columbia.

History

Along the river is the site of the 1868 Battle of Beecher Island.

Arikaree River Natural Area

The Arikaree River has been made one of the designated areas under the Colorado Natural Areas Program because it is "part of the largest and best remaining example of a naturally functioning Great Plains river system in Colorado." It has several species of reptiles, fish, and amphibians that are native and uncommon. The area is a sanctuary for many bird species, including burrowing owls, ferruginous hawks, and greater prairie chickens. The habitat is near-pristine and there are high-quality riparian and native prairie plants.

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