the Neosho River floodplain was covered with hundreds of shallow wetlands in
the springtime. As spring progressed
into summer, these wetlands dried, producing (“moist soil”) plants to
grow. When it rains during the fall the wetlands fill with water, and provide habitat and nutrition for migrating waterfowl.
these natural wetlands have been lost throughout the river floodplain because
of agriculture and other developments.
To mimic the natural wet and dry cycles on the Refuge, the staff
actively mange over 2,500 acres of restored wetland habitat through the use of
pumps, levees, and water control structures.
Flint Hills NWR receives water from three primary sources: rainfall, pumping, and stream flow from various creeks. Heavy rainfall in early fall will often fills the wetlands located throughout the Refuge for the fall migration. Rainfall in the spring replenishes the wetlands with water for the spring migration. Also as the rainfall supplies the water to the various creeks, the Refuge staff is then able to divert some of the runoff to help fill the wetlands that didn't fill up just from local rainfall. Pumping is another source of water for the wetlands. The Refuge normally begins pumping in late September or early October depending on resource management needs. Pumping normally last for eight to twelve weeks to fill all the wetlands. The water for pumping is taken out of the Neosho River and Eagle Creek drainages.
Neosho River(Grand River)
Once the water has arrived the management of it is the important task. The Refuge uses a series of man-made levees to separate wetland units. In different locations on these levees, there are water control structures. These structures allow Refuge staff to move water from one unit to the next, or to return the water back into the Neosho River. The Refuge has a total of around 2,500 acres of wetlands to manage, all with different water management needs.
Water control structure
Flint Hills NWR wetlands are managed
intensively to create optimal feeding and sheltering conditions for migratory
ducks and geese. Within these moist soil
impoundments, managers manipulate water, vegetation and soil to create optimal
growing conditions for seed producing plants such as millet, smartweed, marsh
elder, pigweed, and bur marigold. During the summer, these annual plants
grow, bloom, and set seed. Then in the Fall, water is returned to the basin, providing
access to these highly nutritious waterfowl foods.
We are currently looking for landowners interested in participating or learning more about the Legacy Conservation Easement Program, contact Refuge Manager Jack Bohannan at 620-392-5553x103.