Kansas Rivers -
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Ninnescah River -
stream of southern
it is composed of two branches. The north fork
rises in the southern part of Stafford County and flows northeastwardly to Plevna, Reno county, where the course changes to southeast. The south fork
has its source in the western part of Pratt County. Its course is almost
due east through Pratt and Kingman Counties until it unites with the north
fork in the southwest corner of Sedgwick County. The main stream then
flows southeast and empties its waters into the Arkansas River
near the town of Oxford, Kansas.
Osage River -
A tributary of the Missouri River, the 360 mile long river is situated
primarily in central
Missouri, but is formed by the by the confluence of the
Marais des Cygnes
and Little Osage Rivers in Kansas.
Marais des Cygnes
is sometimes counted as part of the river, placing its headwaters in
and bringing its total length to over 500 miles.
Ninnescah River, courtesy
river is named for the Osage
Indians who lived in the area at the time of
the arrival of the first European settlers.
waterway presented significant
navigation difficulties for early settlers because of its fluctuating
water levels, shallow pools and sand bars caused by its tight meandering
course through the hills.
When including its tributaries, its source is in the southern part of
Kansas. It flows eastward through Osage and Franklin Counties
into Miami County, where it changes its course toward the southeast and crosses
the state line near the center of
From there, it continues eastward through the
counties of Bates,
St. Clair, Benton, Camden and Miller and finally, empties into the
Missouri River a few miles below Jefferson City. In high water it is
navigable for small boats for a distance of about 200 miles.
As early as 1839, the state of Missouri
attempted to deepen the channel of
the river to aid in navigation. However, early attempts failed due to lack
of funding. Later in the 19th century, navigation commercial navigation
occurred but was mostly confined to smaller craft that could navigate the
tight bends and shoals of the river. Improvements in the channel by the
last two decades of the century led to greater commercial traffic.
Beginning in 1922, Bagnell Dam was constructed primarily
for electricity to form the Lake of the Ozarks. After nine years it was
complete, which ended commercial navigation of the river. Truman Dam was
authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1954 and completed in 1979. It is
located in Warsaw, Missouri.
Pawnee River -
Also called the Pawnee fork of the Arkansas River,
it rises in the northwest corner of Gray County in southwest
Kansas. For the first 15-20
miles its course is almost due north. Near the now extinct town of Eminence
Finney county, it turns abruptly eastward; crosses the line between Finney
and Hodgeman Counties about eight miles south of the northern boundary of
those counties; then flows northeast into Ness County; turns southeast
across the corner of Hodgeman County, and then by a somewhat sinuous
course eastward through Pawnee County, empties its waters into the
Its principal tributary is Buckner Creek. A
number of interesting events occurred in the valley of this stream in
early days. In 1854, soon after
Kansas was organized as a territory, about 1,500
Indians gathered on the
Pawnee to make war on
the white settlers. They started eastward toward the settlements, but about 100
miles west of Fort Riley were met by a hunting party of about 100 Sauk and
Fox Indians and were driven back with heavy losses.
Pottawatomie River -
Taking it's name from a Native American tribe, the waterway is situated in eastern
and is composed of two branches. The north fork rises in the southwest
corner of Anderson County, about two miles south of the village of
Westphalia, and flows in a northerly and northeasterly course.
south fork rises in Richland Township, also in Anderson County about two miles
west of Selma, and flows northwest into Washington Township, where it
turns toward the northeast and forms a junction with the north fork not
far from the town of Greeley. From that point the course of the main
stream is northeast until it empties into the Marais des Cygnes River, just below the town of
Osawatomie in Miami County. The first white settlers established
homesteads near Greeley in the Spring of 1854.
Republican River -
This stream takes its name from the Republican Pawnee
Indians, who lived on its bank until
about the year 1815.
Lewis and Clark mention the stream in
Republican River rises on the high plains of eastern
Colorado and forms
two tributaries, called the North and South forks.
The northern fork flows east, entering
Dundy County. The southern branch flows in a northeasterly direction from Kit Carson and Yuma Counties of
the Nebraska and enters
Kansas in Cheyenne County,
then flows northeasterly and leaves
Kansas at a point south of the
village of Benkelman, Nebraska. Near
this point it mingles its waters with the north branch and forms the
Republican River joining at Benkelman, Nebraska.
From there, the river flows
generally eastward along the southern border of Nebraska, flowing into the
Harlan County Reservoir before curving southward into Jewell County,
It then flows in
a southeasterly direction through the counties of Jewell, Cloud, Clay and
Geary, until it unites with the Smoky Hill River about two miles below Junction
City to form the Kansas River.
Among the most important tributaries of the Republican are the Arickaree
River and Whiteman's Creek of
the Beaver, Sappa and Prairie Dog Creeks of Kansas. The legislature of
1864 declared the stream unnavigable, although as an experiment the
Financier No. 2 in 1855 ascended for 40 miles without being grounded.
Through the years, the river has been subject to much flooding including a
major flood on July 9, 1902, when it broke a dam near Concordia, Kansas
and re-routed the river by
¼ mile. In June, 1935 a worse flood occurred, referred to
as "Nebraska's Deadliest Flood." On May 31st and
June 1st, a large storm
resulted in nine inches of rainfall causing the
Frenchman, Red Willow, Medicine, Deer, Muddy, and Turkey Creeks to reach
their flood peaks at the same time as the crest passed on the
Republican River. According to reports of the time,
the roar of the water could be heard coming down the Republican Valley
five miles away. The water was said to have been 20 feet deep
in some places, and the discharge was 280,000 cubic feet/second -- more
than 320 times the normal flow today. Before the water receded 113
Estimates show 113 people at estimates of up to 40,000 head of cattle were
killed. 341 miles of highway and 307 bridges were
destroyed and almost 75,000 acres of farmland were covered in water.
a result, the Missouri River Basin flood-control and land-reclamation
project began to build several dams including the Harlan County Dam near
Alma, Nebraska in 1948 and the Milford Dam near Junction City,
1965. More dams were built on the Republican River tributaries including
Bonny Dam in Yuma County,
Colorado in 1951, Enders Dam in Chase County,
Nebraska in 1951, Medicine Creek Dam in Frontier County, Nebraska in 1949,
and the Lovewell Dam in Jewell County,
Kansas in 1957.
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