Neosho Wildlife Area News

Area News

Neosho Wildlife Area



Kansas outdoorsmen enjoyed their first season of waterfowl hunting at the Neosho Wildlife Area (WA) in 1961. Today the Neosho WA, managed by the KDWPT, anchors the premier SE Kansas waterfowling region which lies along the Neosho River. With the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Neosho WA approaching, it is beginning to show its age. Much of the area’s original infrastructure has exceeded its design life and badly needs replacing. Not only does this aging infrastructure require an increasing amount of annual maintenance and manpower to operate, it is also beginning to fail to provide the vital food resources waterfowl rely on in the region.

As this milestone anniversary approaches, the KDWP and Ducks Unlimited, Inc. (DU) have begun planning a major renovation of the area. This work will ensure that the citizens of Kansas are able to continue enjoying this historic place.


The renovation project has two objectives. The first is to improve the amount and quality of habitat available annually for waterfowl and other wildlife species. The second objective is to decrease the annual operation and maintenance costs at the area.


August 2016 News

The spring and summer of 2016 has been very busy and that will continue into the fall and winter.  In May the NAWCA portion of the project was sent out for bid solicitations by Duck Unlimited.  In July The Foley Company out of Kansas City was awarded the bid to build the pump station and a portion of the 3/4 of a mile pipeline that is needed to deliver the water to the marshes.  In August the KDWPT will bid out the Pittman Robertson portion of the first phase which will be the remainder of the pipeline that will deliver the water to each individual pool.  

Neosho WA staff have been working on habitat, undesirable tree removal and improving drainage along with coordinating local contractor Otoole Construction to build a levee in Pool 4, remove some undesirable trees and levees in Pool 2, remove old water control structures so the old system can be tied into the new system, building a large parking area and placing rip rap along portions of the refuge levees to help eliminate further erosion.

This work has been in need for many years and it is very nice to finally see some results on the ground after working on this for 9 years.  However,   this winter will be a tough one for area duck hunters.  The work that is to take place this fall and winter is very weather dependent so we are going to need the help of mother nature and hope that the river system will stabilize.  Due to the process of the construction and the need to remove old infrastructure area staff will not be able to pump water until the new system is built and the two systems can be built together as one new functioning system.  As of right now there will be no water pumped or captured on the main area for the 2016-2017 waterfowl season.  Area staff will still attempt to put water into pool 5 and will put boards in the satellite pools such as pools 7 and 8.  The South Unit will be pumped as long as compliance of the water right is maintained.  

Please keep in mind that Neosho Wildlife area is 57 years old and has had no improvements of this magnitude.  Thank you in advance for your patients while the improvements are made and the area is updated ensuring another 50 years of quality waterfowling.

PROGRESS As of Nov 28th, 2016

Area staff and contractors are making some serious headway on this renovation project.  The work that has been by local contractor O'toole Construction includes removal of the divider dike that separated the North and South pool of 4.  A new Levee was constructed and two new water control structures will be in place after the week of the 28th of November.  The western most dike in pool 2 and the two spurs that came off of it were removed along with the old willow growth that kept the ditches from drying out.  Ten water control structures were removed in preparation for the new pipeline to go in.  The dirtwork for a 39 stall boat parking area has been completed with the ramps to be completed this spring.  With all of this work being done O'toole was able to level the North and West side of Pool 4 which will make it more manageable and also provide better foraging depths for migrating waterfowl.  

The Foley Company out of the Kansas City area was awarded the bid on the Pump station and mobilized the week of the 21st of November to begin work at the river.  Matador construction out of Ottawa was awarded the bid for the pipeline portion of the project and is anticipating being on the area to begin work the first week of December.  

This is a very exciting time with all of the improvements being made.  I will keep this site updated as work progresses and once again thanks for your patients while this much needed work is being completed!!        


The South Unit Pump Project has been completed.

Area staff has also began restoration efforts at the south unit by removing some trees with a newly acquired skid steer that was obtained through the Pittman Robertson Grant.  This will be an ongoing effort on both the main area and the south unit until water is pumped this fall and will begin again next spring after dewatering.                        

If you have any questions about the status of the project or the area please feel free to contact the area office at 620-449-2539.  


Travis Ratliff was hired in May of 2015 as the Assistant Manager for the Neosho Unit (Neosho WA, Hollister WA, Neosho SFLand Bourbon SFL).  Travis is a Chanute native and has grown up hunting the Neosho WA.  He also worked 6 summers as a seasonal employee on the Neosho Unit while attending college at Pittsburg and Emporia State Universities.  If you see him out on the area or in the check station please help me in welcoming him back to the area.    


Hunting Pool Habitat 2016

Pool Acres Beans Corn Millet mix Moist Soil Greentree Buckwheat
1 350   230 70 10 40  
2 250   60 100 80 10  
4 175   50   125 0 0
5 85   85       0
6 15   0 0 0 15 0
7 7 7   0   0 0
8 33   33 0   0 0
South Unit 100   35 10 15 40