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Kansas Water Science Center

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Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, Kansas

The Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is an enhanced wetlands area located in the Rattlesnake Creek Basin in south-central Kansas and is managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Established as a National Wildlife Refuge in 1959, the area provides food, water, cover, and protection for many species of birds, wildlife, and fish. Several types of waterfowl take advantage of the refuge in their annual migration, including the endangered Whooping Crane. Since, 1959, the refuge has been enhanced and includes more than 30 marshes and ponds covering about 22,000 acres in Stafford, Reno, and Rice Counties.

The importance of maintaining water supply to preserve valuable waterfowl habitat was recognized early on. A channel was constructed to permit Rattlesnake Creek to flow directly into the Little Salt Marsh, one of two large saline marshes in the refuge. Additional canals and ponds have since been constructed, providing the entire area with a dependable water supply. However, supply is still a problem in dry years, especially during late summer, when the water demands outweigh the water supply, specifically the flow of Rattlesnake Creek into Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. The U.S. Geological Survey developed a computer-based water budget model to assist U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in determining the outcome of possible water-management options. The results of this study were published in "Simulation of Canal and Control-Pond Operation at the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, South-Central Kansas" (Report).

Because of the considerable wildlife benefits offered by the refuge, there is a strong desire to provide a good water-quality supply to the refuge. Streamflow and river stage, flowing into the National Wildlife Refuge, are being monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey at Rattlesnake Creek near Zenith, Kansas. Temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity were monitored with a continuously recording water-quality monitor from 1998 to 2003. In addition, both routine quarterly and event-related water-quality samples were collected and analyzed for selected constituents including major ions, total and dissolved metals, nutrients, selected pesticides, and bacteria. The monitoring identified temporal trends in selected water-quality constituents and was used to estimate the chemical mass loading into Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Map of Refuge Area

Highlights of Water Quality Results

Current Streamflow and Water-Quality Data and estimated concentrations

Historical Streamflow and Water-Quality Data

For additional information, please write or call:

U.S. Geological Survey
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049-3839
Telephone: (785) 832-3539
Fax: (785) 832-3500


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Page Last Modified: 2015-10-28 13:42:46 CDT