Understanding our environment

Reservoir Assessment Program

John Redmond Reservoir, near Burlington, is now nearly 45 percent filled with sediment.

Kansans are facing enormous challenges to the health and functionality of their reservoirs. Sediment accumulation and other factors have been and continue to create immediate water quality and habitat quality issues. Our communities have a critical need for information on physical, chemical and biological conditions in reservoirs and their watersheds.

Recognizing this need, the Kansas Biological Survey in 2006 created its Reservoir Assessment Program, with major investments in infrastructure and equipment. The Survey is a key source of biological and ecological information about the Kansas environment and has extensive experience in reservoir, stream and water quality assessment; watershed monitoring; and remote sensing and related geospatial technologies. It therefore is especially qualified to contribute to the research and information needs for immediate and long-term management of Kansas reservoirs.

Through the Reservoir Assessment Program, the Survey acquired sophisticated acoustic echosounding technology for bathymetric mapping, sediment thickness estimation, bottom sediment type classification, fish surveys and submerged aquatic vegetation surveys. The program also has a dedicated sediment coring pontoon boat with an SDI vibracorer for taking sediment cores in reservoirs. From these cores, we measure sediment thickness and sample sediment characteristics. Major investments in field equipment have been supported by additional investments in water quality laboratory capabilities and high-speed data processing and 3-D visualization technology.

The Survey has produced complete reports on the on the lakes for which it has conducted bathymetric mapping. Many of these reports have been made availalable publicly via the Kansas Water Office website. Scroll down to the heading "Reservoir Bathymetry" to select and download individual reports.