Keya Paha River

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Coordinates: 42°53′54″N 98°59′6″W / 42.89833°N 98.98500°W / 42.89833; -98.98500
Keya Paha River
River running through hilly grassland with scattered patches of woodland
Keya Paha River near Nebraska-South Dakota border
Country United States
States South Dakota, Nebraska
Source Todd County, South Dakota
 - coordinates 43°13′38″N 100°23′18″W / 43.22722°N 100.38833°W / 43.22722; -100.38833 [1]
Mouth Niobrara River in Boyd County, Nebraska
 - coordinates 42°53′54″N 98°59′6″W / 42.89833°N 98.98500°W / 42.89833; -98.98500 [1]
Length 127 mi (204 km)
Basin 1,710 sq mi (4,429 km2) [2]
Keya Paha River in light green at right center

The Keya Paha River (/ˈkɪpəhɔː/ KIP-ə-haw)[3] (Pawnee: Rakickatihrihuuru [4]) is a river flowing 127 miles (204 km)[5] through the U.S. states of South Dakota and Nebraska.

The name is derived from the Dakota language ke'-ya pa-ha', meaning "turtle hill".[6] The river's name was given to Keya Paha County, Nebraska, through which it flows.[7]

The river originates in Todd County in south central South Dakota, at the confluence of Antelope Creek and Rock Creek near the town of Hidden Timber.[8] It flows in a generally southeasterly direction through Todd and Tripp counties in South Dakota and then through Keya Paha and Boyd counties in Nebraska.[1] It ends at its confluence with the Niobrara River about 7 miles (11 km) west of Butte, Nebraska.[9]

In 1861, the border between the Nebraska and Dakota territories followed the Keya Paha River from the 43rd parallel to the river's confluence with the Niobrara; it then followed the Niobrara to the Missouri. This situation lasted until 1882, when the boundary was changed to follow the 43rd parallel all the way to the Missouri;[10] the change added portions of Keya Paha and Boyd counties to Nebraska.[11]


At a gaging station south of Naper in Boyd County, the river's mean discharge was 138.6 cubic feet per second (3.92 m3/s). The maximum mean annual discharge was 389.4 cubic feet per second (11.03 m3/s), recorded in 1962; the minimum mean annual discharge was 44.5 cubic feet per second (1.26 m3/s), recorded in 1976.[12] The peak flow recorded at that point was 9,280 cubic feet per second (263 m3/s), registered on July 1, 1962.[13] From July 22 to July 30, 1976, the discharge was recorded as zero.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Keya Paha River". Geographic Names Information System, U.S. Geological Survey. 1979-03-09. Retrieved 2011-02-26. 
  2. ^ Seaber, Paul R., F. Paul Kapinos, and George L. Knapp (1987). USGS Hydrologic Unit Maps. U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2294. Cataloging unit 10150006, on p. 39. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  3. ^ McNally, Hannah, and Diana Lambdin Meyer (1997). Nebraska: Off the Beaten Path. Morris Book Publishing LLC. p. 81.
  4. ^ "AISRI Dictionary Database Search--prototype version. "River", Southband Pawnee". American Indian Studies Research Institute. Retrieved 2012-05-26. 
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 30, 2011
  6. ^ Fitzpatrick, Lilian Linder (1925). "Keya Paha County". Nebraska Place-Names. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  7. ^ "Keya Paha History". Nebraska Association of County Officials. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  8. ^ Carter, Janet M. (1998). "Water Resources of Mellette and Todd Counties, South Dakota". USGS Water-Resources Investigations Report 98-4146. Retrieved 2011-04-26. Map on p. 1.
  9. ^ Nebraska Atlas and Gazetteer. Freeport, Maine: Delorme. 3rd edition, 2005. p. 23.
  10. ^ Visher, Stephen Sargent (1918). The Geography of South Dakota. p. 11.
  11. ^ Kay, John and Mary Findlay (1988). "Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey: Reconnaissance Survey Final Report of Boyd County, Nebraska". Nebraska State Historical Society. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  12. ^ Calculated from mean annual values for years 1958–1994 inclusive, found at "USGS 06464900 Keya Paha River Near Naper, Nebr." USGS Water Data for the Nation. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  13. ^ Peak flows for years 1958—1994 inclusive, found at "Peak Streamflow for Nebraska: USGS 06464900 Keya Paha River Near Naper, Nebr." USGS Water Data for the Nation. Retrieved 2011-02-26.
  14. ^ Daily data for July 1–August 31, 1976, found at "USGS 06464900 Keya Paha River Near Naper, Nebr." USGS Water Data for the Nation. Retrieved 2011-02-26.

See also[edit]