Presentation given by Dr. Cynthia Annett at the 2009 Watershed Restoration and Protection (WRAPS) conference in Great Bend, Kansas
Photo Credit: Craig Thompson
Rivers in Kansas are highly variable over time. This graph shows the peak flows for the Kansas River from 1900-2000. You can see how variable the flows are from year to year; and how high the river was during the famous floods of 1903, 1951 and 1993.
From: USGS The 1903 and 1993 Floods in Kansas—The effects of changing times and technology. Lanna J. Combs and Charles A. Perry. Fs.019-03.pdf
More information: USGS Kansas Floods and Droughts
Click here to go to the Kansas Applied Remote Sensing website for more information about their land cover map.
The Kansas River itself is 173 miles, but it is made up of several large tributaries; the Smoky Hill, North Fork and South Fork Republican, and Arikaree Rivers, all of which arise on the high plains of eastern Colorado. Since none of the tributaries of the Kaw extend into the mountains, we have a completely prairie based system which is dependent on our local climate and groundwater for its flow and temperature regimes.
The Kaw watershed (outlined in blue) contains the largest tracks of intact prairie ecosystem in North America, the Flint Hills. But there are also considerable remnant prairie tracks in the Glacial Hills of Northeast Kansas and other parts of the watershed. Although much of the northern half of Kansas has been given over to agriculture, those of us who are fortunate to live in the Kaw watershed have an opportunity to preserve significant and impressive tracks of native prairie and the streams and rivers that flow through them.
More information: The Kansas River Corridor