Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area News
Rain has fallen, however, we remain dry due to the Arkansas River and Wet Walnut Creeks being dry. We did receive about 2.5inches of rain from May 28 through June 5, but the amounts have only provided some shallow sheet water in the pools and these are likely to be gone in the next week or two without more rain..
These small puddles have attracted a few mallards, shovelers and blue-winged teal and even a few shore birds (some peeps, yellowlegs, phalropes, willets and dowitchers) have also been seen feeding around these small pools of water.
The roads are muddy. They are soft on the edges, so avoid the shoulders.
While we remain dry, work progresses. We completed our upgrade of two boat ramps, one in Pool 4A, the other at the Pike Lot in Pool 3B. We have started rebuilding a few blind islands in Pool 2, and will continue that work as long as time and weather permit.
We have done some maintenance work at the Arkansas River diversion dam and have started placing rip-rap on the 2007 flood damaged dike between Pools 1B and 2.
Our latest challenge is trying to reduce the acerage of Kochia (fire weed) coming up in the dry pools. We are going to employ a number of techniques to reduce this weed stand such as disking, mowing and herbicides.
The showers we have had did not provide much relief for our dry pools, but it did halt the work of controlling weeds and planting millets in the pools.
We burned some some grasslands on the west side of Pool 2 this spring. We plan several more burns this spring if the weather allows. During the winter, and continuing this spring, we have done some silt removal from the inlet canal, two small marshes in the perimeter portion of Pool 2 and built half of the mitigation potholes needed to offset the fill resulting from our inlet canal piping project.
Work continues on improving the efficiency of the inlet system. Contractors have begun clearing trees and identifying materials and removing ole concrete structures on a project that will convert the open canal from Dundee to Dry Creek into buried pipe. This canal carries the water from the Arkansas River to Dry Creek. As of early this week they have buried more than 15,000 feet of the near 5 miles of the project. Tubing this strectch of the inlet will eliminate seepage of water from the canal, reduce illegal dumping, eliminate the loss of water to trees and reduce overall maintenance demands on that stretch of the inlet.
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 8 to 5, Sunday 1 to 5. The phone number is 620-566-1456.