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Cheney Lake Watershed

The North Fork of the Ninnescah River flows generally eastward across south central Kansas. During the early 1960's, Cheney Reservoir was constructed at the lower end of the river to provide a water supply system for the City of Wichita as well as providing recreational opportunities and flood control. The reservoir currently supplies 60 to 70 percent of Wichita's daily water supply.

The watershed encompasses land in five counties - Sedgwick, Reno, Kingman, Pratt, and Stafford, with the majority in Reno County. For purposes of administering the project, the watershed is subdivided into four smaller watersheds - Goose Creek, Silver Creek, the West Ninnescah, and the East Ninnescah. The division between the East and West Ninnescah subwatersheds is an arbitrary line near Arlington. Small towns in the watershed include Arlington, Castleton, Partridge, Plevna, Preston, Stafford, Sylvia, and, Turon.

Agricultural Characteristics

This watershed is classified as 99% agricultural and includes a surprising diversity of farming and ranching practices, crops, rainfall, soil types, and topography. The eastern half of the watershed includes Reno County, which has more farms than almost any other county in the state of Kansas. Small dairies with less than 100 cows are prevalent as are mixed livestock and grain farms.

Twenty-five percent of the watershed is pasture for beef cattle production. Pastures in the western half are generally in larger acreages than the eastern half. In the western reaches of the watershed, strip cropping and center pivot irrigation are common practices that address wind erosion and lower rainfall patterns. Typical crops in the watershed are wheat, grain sorghum, soybeans, sunflowers, corn, alfalfa and other hay and forage crops. There are a limited number of confinement livestock operations.

Seventeen percent of the watershed is enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program with the acres planted to native grasses and forbs for a contract period of 10 years. This area has one of the highest percentages of CRP acres in the nation.

As farmers in the watershed begin to address water quality concerns, they are encouraged to consider their entire farm and their long-term goals. Their most creative solutions will address more than one facet of the farm. The most successful agricultural practices and plans will address economic advantages, improvements in quality of life, as well as protection of our water resources.

Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc.
18 East 7th Street - South Hutchinson, Kansas 67505
Phone: 620-669-8161 ext. 4
Fax: 620-669-5496

Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc. does not accept unsolicited advertisements at this fax number.