Understanding our environment

Atlas of Kansas Lakes

In 2013, recognizing a need across the state for more widely distributed information on the condition of Kansas reservoirs, the Kansas Biological Survey compiled the majority of its existing data on reservoir health into the state's first lakes atlas. The Atlas of Kansas Lakes: A resource for communities, policy makers and planners, was developed for use not only by municipalities, policy makers and project planners but also by scientists, teachers and students from elementary level upward, and other individuals interested in water issues in Kansas. Publication of the Atlas was announced by the University of Kansas in a press release in 2014.

This 240-page book is highly user-friendly, with introductory material that provides a clear, thorough overview of the types, history and status of water bodies in Kansas, as well as issues connected with aquatic nuisance species and species of conservation concern. The material can serve as material useful for teaching about watersheds, the interconnection of various waterways and the impact of human use. Maps cover the state’s climate and physiography, its 12 major watersheds and rivers, and all lakes included in the Atlas.

The Atlas covers 21 federal and 55 state and local lakes studied by the Survey to date, with many photographs and clear, colorful charts. The majority of the book is made up of maps and charts illustrating data on the lakes. Information on each federal lake covers four pages; information on each state and local lake covers two pages. Presentation material for each lake includes:

  • basic information about the lake (county location, year constructed, area, volume, depth, etc.);
  • a bathymetric (lake bottom contour) map;
  • a map of the lake’s watershed, which is color-coded according to land use (cropland, urban land, etc.);
  • and charts with information on the lake’s water chemistry.

A photograph of each of the federal lakes also is included.

The Atlas concludes with a section of charts summarizing the statistics in the book. While part of the purpose of the Atlas is to illustrate where further study is needed, this first edition has been published to address the need to provide more information to the public about the status and trends of surface water resources, especially during periods of drought.

The book is available at the Kansas Union Bookstore, the KU Natural History Museum gift shop and The Raven Book Store in Lawrence, Kansas. Individual copies also may be ordered from the Kansas Geological Survey, which is coordinating with the Biological Survey on sales and distribution of the Atlas. The cost is $25 per copy, plus tax, shipping and handling. Contact the Kansas Geological Survey at 1930 Constant Ave., 785-864-3965, or by email; or at 4150 W. Monroe St., Wichita 67209-2640; 316-943-2343, or by email. Quantities of the book may be ordered directly from the Kansas Biological Survey; please contact us at 785-864-1500 or by email.

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