Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area News
In June, we received over 11 inches of rain. In addition, we received over 2 inches in July. The 3 big rains were separated by 1 or 2 weeks, so the water had a lot of time to soak into the drought ridden soil. This was great for replenishing soil moisture, but runoff was not as much had the ground been wet to begin with. It still produced some runoff within the basin, especially into Pool 5, and the Wet Walnut Creek received a significant amount of runoff from areas west that received heavier rain fall amounts. We are still diverting a good amount of water from that creek and placing it into Pool 1 for storage. The perimeter pools, especially Pools 2 and 5, are above our desired depth of 18 inches so they are being used to bring up depths in Pools 3 and 4. The Ark River remains dry at our diversion dam.
We should be set for this falls migration, as the natural food production in the marsh, prior to these rains, was excellent.
Summer is here. It sounds like the mild temperatures may be coming to an end with forecasts saying 100's are coming. We estimate 15,000 ducks, mostly blue-winged teal, shoveler and mallards. Most of these birds are nesting on the Area.
We have pelicans, great blue and little blue herons, snowy egrets, great egrets, avocets, black-necked stilts, white-faced ibis and cormorants on the Area in good numbers.
Current water levels in the Pools are: 1A near 60 inches, 1B and 1C each have about 37 inches; Pool 2 is about 20 inches; Pools 3A is about 20 inches, and 3B is about 15 inches, 4A about 14, and 4B near 13, and Pool 5 is about 17 inches.
The rains have prevented us from planting millet in the pools. However, the natural, moist-soil plants are flourishing. Smartweed, bulrush, barn yard grass and sprangletop are doing very well in the perimeter pools. This should provide some excellent food resources for the fall migration.
The roads are in good condition.
We are now pumping Pools 2 and 5 into Pool 1 for storage. This is an effort to try and conserve as much water as we can going into the high evaporation period of summer. In addition, Pool 2 is being allowed to flow into Pools 3 and 4 in an effort to equalize them out in terms of water depth.
The annual Cheyenne Bottoms Information Night has been scheduled for Monday, August 25, at 7 PM. It will be held in the Kansas Wetland Education Center on Kansas Highway 156 in the southeast corner of the Wildlife Area. Conditions on the Wildlife Area, the forecast for the fall waterfowl migration as well as the fall hunting season dates will be presented.
Visit the Kansas Wetlands Education Center at Cheyenne Bottoms. They have educational exhibits directed at describing the role wetlands play in the natural world with a focus on Cheyenne Bottoms. Find out the wide variety of wetlands found in Kansas, you may be surprised at the diversity in this grassland state. Their location is in the southeast portion of Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area along Kansas Highway 156. Their hours are Monday through Saturday 9 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. The phone number is 620-566-1456.