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Coverage of cattail has recently increased in many wetlands.  This invasion was facilitated by increased sedimentation and altered hydrologic regimes (Newman at al. 1998,Galatowitch at al. 1999).  Water flow into the marsh from adjacent farmlands has increased sediment deposition; causing the marsh to become more shallow.  Availability of water and sediment deposition have stimulated the increase in cattail population and subsequent loss of mudflats and open-water areas used by migratory birds (Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 1995).  

Cattail covered <1% of each pool at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area in the 1970s and 17 to 90% of each pool by the 1990s (Von Loh and Oliver, 1999).  

Restoration of Cheyenne Bottoms' natural hydrology would be difficult and costly; therefore, intensive cattail management is practices (Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 1995).  Burning, discing, flooding, grazing, herbicide application, mowing, and scraping are used to reduce cattail coverage in wetlands (Smith and Kadlec, 1985b, Mallik and Wein, 1986, Smith, 1989, Ball, 1990, Saenz and Smith, 1995).  Many of these techniques are often used in combination to increase mortality of cattail (Kostecke et al. 2004).

This is the main study site of Cheyenne Bottoms, which is on the Southwest part of Clear Greek.  Most of kite and blimp aerial photographs are taken from this spot to monitor effect of cattail management, vegetation response to cattail management, as well as seasonal changes of the Cheyenne Bottoms features.

The marsh area  is full of water in September of 2004.  
This area was invaded by cattail and dominated the open water and mudflat habitats that migratory birds rely upon.  Disking, grazing, and prescribed burning were applied in attempt to restore Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area and make it more attractive to migratory birds.  Bulrush is taking place of burned cattail which is positive change for the local environment.
Water in the Clearwater pool is shallow and muddy in September
Pasture as a way to manage land in Cheyenne Bottoms

 

 

These are two high-oblique images of Cheyenne Bottoms near Hoisington, KS acquired in June 2003 by digital camera on helium blimp.

Access road to the Nature Conservancy land.  Marsh area is located on the right side of the road.  View toward the northwest with the city of Hoisington on the horizon. Image displays distributary channel of Blood Creek in the top left corner, sewage treatment plant for Hoisington to the right of Blood creek.  Access road to Nature Conservancy land in the middle of the image. Clearwater pool is located to right (north) of road. June 2003.

This image displays Deception Creek and dead cattails. Most of the area of the cattails were killed during the drought of 2002
This image acquired by kite aerial photography in May 28, 2004 during drought.  Dry mud is along the road.  Compare with the image below acquired six weeks later.
This image acquired by kite aerial photography in July 7, 2004.  The main pool is full of water due to abundant rains.  Canon PowerShot S230 was utilized for this kite photography.

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