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Kansas Water Science Center

Prepared in cooperation with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Tulsa District

U.S. Geological Survey
Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5282

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Gravel Sources for the Neosho River in Kansas, 2004

By Kyle E. Juracek and Charles A. Perry


Gravel (rock fragments ranging from 2 to 64 millimeters in size) is important in the Neosho River Basin of southeastern Kansas both as a resource for human needs and as habitat for the Neosho madtom, a threatened and endangered species of catfish. Concerns about the depletion of the gravel resource, because of natural processes, the construction of John Redmond Reservoir, and in-channel extraction, have prompted a need for information on possible sources of gravel replenishment along the Neosho River in Kansas. In 2004, a combination of onsite inspection, sampling, and aerial photography was used to assess the potential of tributaries and main-stem basal deposits as sources of gravel for the Neosho River.

Gravel in bar deposits of the Neosho River was consistent both in terms of composition and size. The gravel consisted primarily of brownish, rounded chert that was typically medium to coarse grained in size. A spatially representative inspection of 18 tributaries to the Neosho River indicated that, with one possible exception, the tributaries do not provide substantial inputs of chert gravel to the river. Inspection of seven representative reaches of the Neosho River indicated a statistically significant relation between the total length of gravel bars in the river and the total length of basal gravel deposits in the channel banks. Thus, the local basal deposits appear to be an important source of chert gravel for the Neosho River. The basal deposits are of alluvial origin and are common in the Neosho River flood plain.

Available evidence indicates that the erosional and depositional processes that are responsible for gravel-bar formation in the Neosho River generally operate intermittently in association with infrequent large flows. Thus, chert gravel bars in the river may require up to several years to recover from in-channel gravel mining unless a very large flow occurs shortly after mining. Given the importance of basal deposits as a source of gravel, John Redmond Reservoir likely has little effect on sources of gravel to the downstream Neosho River over a period of years to decades unless a very large flow occurs. Ultimately, the chert gravel in the Neosho River is essentially a finite resource as its major present-day source appears to be the finite basal deposits.


Juracek, K.E., and Perry, C.A., 2005, Gravel sources for the Neosho River in Kansas, 2004: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2005-5282, 36 p.

Report Availability

A limited number of printed copies of the full report are available free from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Kansas Water Science Center
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-842-9909

Printed reports also are available for a nominal fee from:

U.S. Geological Survey
Information Services
P.O. Box 25286
Federal Center
Denver, CO 80225
Phone: 1-888-ASK-USGS

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For more information about this study, contact:

Kyle Juracek
U.S. Geological Survey
Kansas Water Science Center
4821 Quail Crest Place
Lawrence, KS 66049-3839
Telephone: (785) 832-3527
Fax: (785) 832-3500

For more information about USGS water resources studies in Kansas, visit the USGS Kansas Water Science Center home page:

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Last modified: Thursday, December 01 2016, 06:50:35 PM
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