Rivers of the Flint Hills

The scenic Flint Hills of eastern Kansas are composed of Permian strata, lifted and carved into a maze of ridges and valleys by numerous streams.  The Kansas River, which forms from the merger of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers at Junction City, Kansas, curves along the northern border of the Flint Hills, receiving flow from McDowell Creek, Deep Creek and Mill Creek (west to east), which drain the north rim of Hills.  The northeast portion of the Flint Hills is drained by the upper tributaries of the Marais des Cygnes River, which flows eastward into Missouri to join the Osage River.  Both the Kansas and Osage Rivers are, in turn, major tributaries of the Missouri River.

The central and southeastern regions of the Flint Hills are drained by the tributaries of the Neosho River (including the Cottonwood River which flows west to east); the Neosho itself flows southeastward and then southward, joining the Arkansas River in northeastern Oklahoma.  The Verdigris River and its tributaries drain the south-central portion of the Flint Hills; flowing southward, the Verdigris also joins the Arkansas River in Oklahoma.  Finally, the Walnut River incises the southwestern edge of the Flint Hills; flowing SSW and passing east of Wichita, it enters the Arkansas River at Arkansas City, Kansas.

Many who read Nature's Blog will probably have little on no interest in this litany of Kansas rivers.  However, those of us who are fascinated by the landscape and topography of this planet have a keen appreciation for the work of rivers and how they have sculpted the geography that we encounter.  They are, after all, more than nature's sewers and, to truly understand the lay of the land, we must know where the rivers flow.