Hydrology Resources

Wetland Environments
James S. Aber

The World Wide Web has become the prefered medium for governmental agencies to provide large databases. The combined text, graphic and hyperlink capabilities give the web significant advantages over conventional (paper) means for distributing up-to-date information to the public. Many sites related to water resources--surface and ground water--are now on-line. Several sites are listed below with hypertext links. It is expected that students will utilize some of these resources for obtaining ideas and information to use in class presentations. Review these web sites and follow links to related sites for further exploration of hydrology resources.

State of Kansas

United States


Locate the following features; answer questions and supply information requested for each one.

  1. Americus gauging station, Neosho River, Lyon County, Kansas (site 07179730). Click on "Site Information" at USGS Water-Data. Select "site number" and submit, then enter the ID number and submit for the Americus gauging station. When the Americus result comes up, click on the site number for a detailed record of available data, including current and historical records. Typical hydrographs for a representative flood are presented below.

    Record of discharge (cfs) for a minor flood in early May 2007. This flood resulted from 5-7 inches of rain over the drainage basin during a 36-hour period.
    Record of gauge height (feet). Height above flood stage (red line) represents flow outside the channel on the adjacent floodplain.

    What is the current (give date) stream flow in gauge height and discharge (cubic feet per second, cfs)? Is the current stream flow above or below normal? Download a chart of stream flow for the last 30 days. Describe how stream flow has varied during the past 30 days.

    What is the highest peak annual discharge historically at this gauging station, and in what year did this occur? In what months is the peak annual discharge likely to occur?

  2. Devils Lake, Ramsey County, North Dakota (site 05056500). Download a map of the Devils Lake basin. Examine the historical record for Devils Lake water levels as well as the current hydrograph. Note: the current hydrograph gives lake values starting at 1400 feet elevation.

    East Devils Lake was once a separate lake, but now is joined with Devils Lake as rising water connected the two. Note submerged shoreline to left (dead trees) as well as flooded roads and fields. Blimp airphoto © J.S. Aber (2003).

    What and when was the lowest water level recorded in Devils Lake during historical times? What is the trend for water elevation during the past few decades? What is the current water elevation? During what months of the year does Devils Lake normally rise? Why is the level of Devils Lake of concern today?

  3. Cheyenne Bottoms is located in eastern Barton (BT) County, central Kansas--see KGS places to visit. It's a large fresh-water wetland complex, situated in a natural sink between Great Bend, Hoisington, and Claflin. Locate and download a map showing Cheyenne Bottoms. Describe the appearance of surface drainage in the vicinity of Cheyenne Bottoms. Approximately what is the size (area) of the oval-shaped basin of Cheyenne Bottoms?

  4. Salt contamination of surface and ground water is widespread in south-central Kansas--see KGS PIC 2. Download a map that shows the portions of south-central Kansas that are subject to salt contamination. What is the source of the salt?

    The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is a wetland complex located in Stafford County, south-central Kansas--see QNWR. How has Quivira surface water flow been modified by human management? Why do you suppose Quivira is salty whereas Cheyenne Bottoms is not?

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© Notice: Wetland environments is presented for the use and benefit of students enrolled at Emporia State University. Any other use of text, imagery or curriculum materials is prohibited without permission of the instructor, J.S. Aber (2016).