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.  

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 August 22, 2017

Area staff and contractors are making some serious headway on this renovation project.  The work that has been accomplished 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 were set.  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 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 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.  The water delivery phase of the project was completed in April of 2017.  The pump and pipeline has been tested and everything seems to be working as planned. Hucke Construction out of Oswego, KS completed the dirtwork, rock, fence, gates and parking curbs for a 36 stall boat parking area with an additional 18 stall overflow parking area.  The 2 new boat ramps have been poured and are complete as well. 

Progress as of October 11, 2017
The major dirt work in Pool 2B is complete but two water control structures need to be installed. The old levee on the south end of two has been removed and smoothed out. We are still unable to pump Pool 2B or the refuge at this time, we will not be able to pump into these pools or capture any additional water from rainfall until the final phase is completed. We are still optimistic that this will be completed for this season but may not have hunt-able water for opening day. This work must be completed for the refuge and Pool 2B to function properly. Please keep in mind that we are only a year and a half into a project that was predicted to take up to 5 years. We are currently extremely ahead of schedule and barring any major weather factors are expecting final completion by fall of 2018.
The final phase on the main area has been bid out and was awarded to Thomas Construction out of Fort Scott, KS.  This phase will call for 4 water control structures and renovating the current emergency spillway in the refuge. Thomas Construction is anticipated to mobilize equipment and begin work on the property as of Monday, October 16th.
Some minor dirt work still remains to be completed in the boating channel of Pool 2A and work is currently underway.
 Areas that will be ready or are near completion for this fall are Pools 1, 2A, 4A, 4B, Upper end of Pool 5, South Unit and the Lower end of Pool 5 is questionable at this point.  We have our fingers crossed that we will get some dry weather so construction can continue to progress.   All contractors are working long hard hours trying to get theses projects completed.
Structures have been closed in the following pools Pool 1, Pool 4A, Pool 4B, Pool 7, and the South Unit.

New brochure maps are in and will be available at the checkstation and Parking area KIOSKs so please feel free to grab one and make yourself familiar with these.

 A couple of the new regulations will be parking in designated parking areas ONLY and boats must operate at no wake speeds in the boating canals. Also Pools 4A and 4B are open to NON-MOTORIZED boats only (Note: An electric trolling motor is a motor and will not be allowed). Staff has posted pictures showing new levee arrangements, parking areas, camping areas, boat ramps and boating canals. This is a very exciting time with all of the improvements being made. This site will be updated as work progresses and season nears and once again thanks for your patience while this much needed work is being completed!!  The fall migration is well underway and we are very anxious to begin pumping and filling pools as soon as we can!!!

Area staff has had a lot of questions on how the main parking area is going to work for this fall.  Parking will be allowed only where the gray curb stops are located.  The curb stops that are painted red symbolize no parking.  The most efficient use of the parking area will be to travel counter clockwise as the curb stops are angled for this direction of travel.  We realize that there are places in the parking area where there are no curb stops that look very appealing for parking but they are not designated areas to park and parking in such areas is not allowed and will not be tolerated.  We want to make sure there is ample room for every user whether it be trucks with trailers, cars or just  regular trucks.  All parking areas will be marked and are in the new area brochure.  Parking along roadsides will no longer be tolerated for safety reasons.  It is the each users responsibility to know the regulations, so if you have questions or are unsure please feel free to contact us. 

Spring and Summer 2018

Work to be completed in spring and summer of 2018 includes drainage work in pool 1, minor drainage work in pool 2A, placing of rip-rap along the face of the refuge levee, and renovation of all levees at the south unit. Renovation of the south unit levees will allow for more uniform flooding of the pools and potentially more hunt-able and manageable acres.  

South Unit Renovation

Work on the South Unit continued in 2017 with more trees being cleared along levees.  


Hunting Pool Habitat 2017

Pool Acres Beans Corn Millet mix Moist Soil Greentree Buckwheat
1 350 35 130 30 90 65  
2A 155 0 40 30 55 30  
2B 190 0 0 0 160 30  
4A 90 0 10 15 65 0  
4B 65 0 65 0 0 0  
5 85 0 20 0 25 20 20
6 15 0 0 0 0 15 0
7 7 0 0 0 7 0 0
8 33 33 0 0 0 0 0
South Unit 100 0 0 0 60 40 0

As always, if you have questions please feel free to call the office at 620-449-2539.  We are always happy to take your calls and please keep in mind that this is a field office, so if we do not answer please leave a message and we will get back in touch with you as soon as we can.