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Smoky Hill

Thursday July 25, 2008 Ellsworth, KS, Buffalo Creek
Harold Klaege, Carol Blocksome, Charlie Barden, Paul Ingle, Mark Janzen, Debra Baker, Dewayne Rice, Scott Satterthwaite, and Cynthia Annett

Paul Ingle's photos

Dewayne Rice set up a field trip to assess Buffalo Creek in Ellsworth County. The group walked over, through and around four different distinct reaches of the creek. Reach one was from the Highway 140 bridge down to the confluence of the Smoky Hill River; reach II was from the bridge north up to a point where the creek had been channelized; reach III was the channelized section up to a flood gap fence; and reach IV was from the flood gap up to the county road.

This reach had excessive sediment deposition and streambank erosion. Aquatic biodiversity was poor. Cropland bordered the riparian area. The riparian corridor was fair to good with good trees of Burr Oak, Black Walnut, Green Ash, Cottonwood and Hackberry. Poor species of trees were Locust, cedar and hedge. Riparian corridor would benefit from a timber stand improvement plan and grass buffer strips widening the riparian corridor.

Cynthia Annett's photos

This reach showed signs of improvement with less sediment loading and improved riffles.

This reach was in a sandstone confined area that did not allow the channel to develop and good meandering pattern thus it lacked diversity.  Above the channelized section the channel showed signs of stabilization with more vegetation growing on the bars and better riffles and pools. The riparian vegetation was fair with some good tree species.

This reach was influenced by the presence of livestock. It lacked a good healthy understory of young trees, shrubs, and grass. It would benefit from a livestock management plan that reduced the negative impacts from livestock.

Scott Satterthwaite's photos