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Hydrology

Annual precipitation averages 38.5 inches within the basin (Reed et al. 1993). The largest average monthly amounts occur in May and June (MDNR 1986a). Additional annual precipitation averages for the basin are: snowfall (14-16 inches) and runoff (8-10 inches) (MDNR 1986a).

Presently, four gaging stations within the basin (including Kansas) have significant periods of record.

STATION NAME STATION NUMBER LEGAL DESCRIPTION RIVER MILE PERIOD OF RECORD
Osage River above Shell City, MO 06918070 SE1/4 SW1/4 NW1/4 S20 T38N R29W 92.6 1979-date
Marais des Cygnes River near KS/MO state line, KS 06916600 NE1/4 SE1/4 NW1/4 S16 T21S R25E 33.8 1958-date
Little Osage River at Fulton, KS 06917000 SE1/4 NE1/4 NE1/4 S25 T23S R24E 40.0 1948-date
Marmaton River at Marmaton, KS 06917380 SW1/4 NE1/4 NW1/4 S 4 T26S R24E 70.0 1971-date

There are 276 third order or larger streams within the basin. Due to the complexity of the watershed, stream intermittency is best shown on USGS 7.5 minute topographic maps.

Mean daily discharges were 221 cfs in the Little Osage, 305 cfs in the Marmaton and 2,158 cfs in the Marais des Cygnes rivers. The substantially larger watershed of the Marais des Cygnes River, as compared to the Little Osage and Marmaton rivers, contributes to its larger flow. Maximum mean daily discharges were 67,900 cfs (10-03-1986) in the Marmaton, 61,400 cfs (10-04-1986) in the Marais des Cygnes and 51,800 cfs (10-03-1986) in the Little Osage rivers. This larger discharge for the Marmaton River is probably due to the effect of large dams on the Marais des Cygnes River in Kansas which reduce flood peak discharges on the Marais des Cygnes, even though its watershed is 11 times larger than the Marmaton's. Monthly mean discharges were greatest in March in the Little Osage and Marmaton rivers, and June for the Marais des Cygnes River (Figures Hy01, Hy02, Hy03, Hy04). Peak annual mean daily discharges in the Little Osage River (water years 1951, 1973 and 1987), Marmaton River (1987, 1973 and 1985), and Marais des Cygnes River (1973 and 1987) are shown in Figure Hy05.

Flow duration curves are presented in Figure 7. Direct comparison of the three curves is not appropriate because periods of record are different (Gordon et al. 1992). However, the steep slopes at the low-flow end of the curves indicate low baseflows (McMahon 1976

STATION NAME AND LOCATION STATION NUMBER LEGAL DESCRIPTION DATE INSTALLED
Little Osage River near Horton, MO 06917060 T37N R31W 18 Nov 1988
Marais des Cygnes River near Rich Hill, MO 06916665 T39N R31W 17 Nov 1988
Marmaton River below Nevada, MO 06918065 T36N R31W 17 Nov 1988
Miami Creek below Butler, MO 06916675 T39N R31W 16 Nov 1988
Monegaw Creek near El Dorado Springs, MO 06918340 T38N R27W 30 Nov 1988

in Gordon et al. 1992). Likewise, the steep slopes at the high-flow end of the Little Osage and Marmaton curves are indicative of flashy streams (Gordon et al. 1992). The Q90:Q10 ratios are 1:2,743 (Little Osage River), 1:1,142 (Marmaton River) and 1:164 (Marais des Cygnes River). 7-day L2 and 7-day L20 flows compute to slope indices of 32 (Little Osage River), 13 (Marmaton River) and 12 (Marais des Cygnes River). These data indicate streams with large year to year variations in low-flows and low baseflows (Pflieger 1989), especially in the Little Osage and Marmaton rivers.

The Little Osage River exceeded bankfull discharge (5,575 cfs) an average of 2.1 times per year, the Marmaton River (11,885 cfs) 0.6 times per year and the Marais des Cygnes River (17,425 cfs) 8.2 times per year.

Approximately 100 lakes larger than two acres, totaling about 60,000 surface acres, occur within the basin (MDNR 1984, 1986a, COE Publications, MDC Publications, Outdoor Missouri Map). A list of impoundments larger than 50 surface acres is presented in Table Hy01. Harry S. Truman Dam is the only one with a hydroelectric power plant.

Three major COE dams on the Marais des Cygnes River, or its tributaries, impound 15,375 surface acres of water in Kansas (Table Hy02). Several small water development projects, consisting of retention and sediment control dams, are planned by Kansas Watershed Districts for the Marais des Cygnes, Marmaton and Little Osage river basins. Seventeen percent of the watershed area is controlled by 368 structures, including 60% of the Marmaton, 13% of the Marais des Cygnes and 2% of the Little Osage rivers in Kansas (Table Hy03). These small water development projects plus the three major dams within the Marais des Cygnes River watershed currently control 23% of the Kansas watersheds, and in the near future are planned to control 36% of these watersheds (Table Hy04).

Figure Hy01: Average monthly hydrograph, Little Osage River gaging station at Fulton, KS

Average monthly hydrograph, Little Osage River gaging station at Fulton, KS (water years 1950-1990) (USGS, Lawrence, KS,1991).

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Figure Hy02: Average monthly hydrograph, Marmaton River gaging station near Marmaton, KS

Average monthly hydrograph, Marmaton River gaging station near Marmaton, KS (water years 1972-1990) (USGS, Lawrence, KS, 1991).

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Figure Hy03: Average monthly hydrograph, Marals des Cygnes River gaging station at KS-MO state line

Average monthly hydrograph, Marals des Cygnes River gaging station at KS-MO state line (water years 1959-1990) (USGS, Lawrence, KS, 1991).

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Figure Hy04: Average monthly hydrograph, three major gaging stations (KS), West Osage River Basin

Average monthly hydrograph, three major gaging stations (KS), West Osage River Basin (USGS, Lawrence, KS,1991).

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Figure Hy05: Annual mean flow, three major gaging stations (KS), West Osage River Basin

Annual mean flow, three major gaging stations (KS), West Osage River Basin (USGS, Lawrence, KS, 1991).

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Table Hy01: Impoundments larger than 50 surface acres within the West Osage River Basin

Impoundments larger than 50 surface acres within the West Osage River Basin in west-central Missouri. (MDNR 1984, COE Publications, MDC Publications, Outdoor Missouri Map.

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Table Hy02: Large impundments within the Marais des Cygnes watershed in Kansas

Large impoundments within the Marais des Cygnes watershed in Kansas (U.S. Army C.O.E., Kansas City, KS, 1983).

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Table Hy03: Small water development projects planned (dams) for watersheds of the West Osage River Basin

Small water development projects planned (dams) for watersheds of the West Osage River Basin in Kansas (KS Watershed Joint Districts).

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Table Hy04: Data summary for large reservoirs/small water development projects for the West Osage River Basin in Kansas

Data summary for large reservoirs and small water development projects for the major watershed of the West Osage River Basin in Kansas

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