Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Distribution, Proliferation and Significance of Small Impoundments in Kansas
by Callihan, Ryan Andrew, M.A., University of Kansas, 2013, 108; 1551618
Abstract (Summary)

The proliferation of small impoundments across the global and US landscape represents a widespread and little understood man-made environmental change. Small impoundments in the conterminous US number at least 2.6 million and cover a combined area comparable to the large, more studied and understood reservoirs, making their aggregate biogeochemical impact likely significant. Until recently, most water body inventories greatly underestimated the occurrence and extent of ponds and small reservoirs in the US leading researchers to either ignore or underestimate their landscape significance. Little research has attempted to understand either the spatial occurrence or impact of constructed ponds to any given region. Because Kansas has a high density of constructed ponds and a complicated human history of small dam building in an originally lakeless region, the state is a good candidate for understanding the regional history, occurrences, and impacts of small impoundments. This thesis inventories the small impoundments of Kansas while describing their occurrence, spatial distribution, and possible significance in terms of stream hydrology and ecology. Further, this research attempts to understand the cause for continued impoundment proliferation by quantifying the change in impoundment occurrence and use over a 60-year period in Douglas County, Kansas.

According to this research, Kansas contains 241,295 small impoundments that cover a surface area of 74,880 ha (288 mi2) and store roughly 1,299,483 acre/feet of water. While the small impoundments in Kansas dominate both in occurrence and surface area, the medium to large reservoirs in the state still contain 83.8% of the surface water storage. In terms of hydrologic and stream ecological impacts, small impoundments have impounded Kansas streams 80,862 times, converting 7,498 kilometers of stream habitat to lacustrine. While stock water ponds were overwhelmingly dominant in 1950's, by 2013 only 41% were used for the purposes of maintaining stock water. Impoundment uses appear to have shifted away from stock water ponds to more recreational and aesthetic ponds that are now the dominant purpose of at least 26.9% of impoundments. Recreation and aesthetic purposes may be driving much of the current proliferation of small impoundments.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Jakubauskas, Mark E., Egbert, Stephen
Commitee: Slocum, Terry A.
School: University of Kansas
Department: Geography
School Location: United States -- Kansas
Source: MAI 52/04M(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Geography, Environmental science
Keywords: Artificial ponds, Geographic information systems, Kansas, Small impoundments, Water science
Publication Number: 1551618
ISBN: 978-1-303-69883-5
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