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Kansas Memory has been created by the Kansas State Historical Society to share its historical collections via the Internet. Read more.



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Environment - Water - Wetlands - Cheyenne Bottoms

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Alysia Kysar to Governor Joan Finney

Alysia Kysar to Governor Joan Finney
Creator: Kysar, Alysia
Date: March 19, 1991
Alysia Kysar of Liberal, Kansas, writes Governor Joan Finney of Topeka concerning a water rights conflict at Cheyenne Bottoms wetlands in Barton County, Kansas. Kysar is eleven years old. She argues that the importance of wildlife habitats and communal ownership of natural resources, like water, supercede the rights of individual water users along Wet Walnut Creek. Kysar further questions the suitability of irrigated agriculture to an arid environment. In Wet Walnut Irrigators v. Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area (1992), the Kansas Supreme Court ruled in favor of Cheyenne Bottoms, citing its earlier claim to water rights.

Cheyenne Bottoms, Barton County, Kansas

Cheyenne Bottoms, Barton County, Kansas
Creator: Kansas Industrial Development Commission
Date: 1966
A black and white photograph showing a levee being built at Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County, Kansas. The 41,000 acre tract of land located between Great Bend, Kansas and Hoisington, Kansas, is a wetland refuge for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds.

Frank Robl

Frank Robl
Date: Between 1935 and 1939
These are photographs of Frank Robl, known throughout the country as the "duck man". He was an active bird bander for more than 50 years. His farm located three miles north of Ellinwood is five miles southeast of the Cheyenne Bottoms marsh. Robl's bird banding began in 1923 and he was most active from 1924 through 1939. During this period, about 18,842 birds were banded and more than 16,000 of these were ducks. This early banding contributed much to our knowledge of the varying migration patterns, longevity, survival and general life history of our many species of ducks. Robl was also an avid photographer and made early movies of waterfowl.

Map of Cheyenne Bottoms

Map of Cheyenne Bottoms
Creator: Kansas. Forestry, Fish and Game Commission
Date: January 1958
A map of Cheyenne Bottoms from the "Kansas Fish and Game" magazine. The map shows canals, diversion dams, and the five pools of water that comprise the wetland refuge in Barton County, Kansas.

The Story of Cheyenne Bottoms

The Story of Cheyenne Bottoms
Creator: Robl, Frank W.
Date: Between 1948 and 1958
This pamphlet written by Frank W. Robl, manager of the water fowl-banding station at Cheyenne Bottoms in Barton County, Kansas provides a brief history about the wetland. Also, includes data from 1924 to 1939 on the number of ducks and geese banded at the refuge.

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