A tributary or affluent is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage basin of its surface water and groundwater, leading the water out into an ocean.
The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. From its traditional source of Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.
Colorado is a state of the Western United States encompassing most of the southern Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains. It is the 8th most extensive and 21st most populous U.S. state. The estimated population of Colorado was 5,695,564 on July 1, 2018, an increase of 13.25% since the 2010 United States Census.
At 1,469 miles (2,364km), it is the sixth-longest river in the United States, the second-longest tributary in the Mississippi–Missouri system, and the 45th longest river in the world. Its origin is in the Rocky Mountains in Lake County, Colorado, near Leadville. In 1859, placer gold discovered in the Leadville area brought thousands seeking to strike it rich, but the easily recovered placer gold was quickly exhausted. The Arkansas River's mouth is at Napoleon, Arkansas, and its drainage basin covers nearly 170,000 square miles (440,000km2). Its volume is much smaller than the Missouri and Ohio Rivers, with a mean discharge of about 40,000 cubic feet per second (1,100m3/s).
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or simply America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, it is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe. Most of the country is located in central North America between Canada and Mexico. With an estimated population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the most populous city is New York City.
The Missouri River is the longest river in North America. Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for 2,341 miles (3,767 km) before entering the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, Missouri. The river drains a sparsely populated, semi-arid watershed of more than 500,000 square miles (1,300,000 km2), which includes parts of ten U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Although nominally considered a tributary of the Mississippi, the Missouri River above the confluence is much longer and carries a comparable volume of water. When combined with the lower Mississippi River, it forms the world's fourth longest river system.
The Rocky Mountains, also known as the Rockies, are a major mountain range located in western North America. The Rocky Mountains stretch 3,000 km (1,900 mi) in straight-line distance from the northernmost part of British Columbia, in western Canada, to New Mexico in the Southwestern United States. Located within the North American Cordillera, the Rockies are distinct from the Pacific Coast Ranges, Cascade Range, and the Sierra Nevada, which all lie farther to the west.
The meridian 100° west of Greenwich is a line of longitude that extends from the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean, North America, the Pacific Ocean, the Southern Ocean, and Antarctica to the South Pole.
The Adams–Onís Treaty of 1819, also known as the Transcontinental Treaty, the Florida Purchase Treaty, or the Florida Treaty, was a treaty between the United States and Spain in 1819 that ceded Florida to the U.S. and defined the boundary between the U.S. and New Spain. It settled a standing border dispute between the two countries and was considered a triumph of American diplomacy. It came in the midst of increasing tensions related to Spain's territorial boundaries in North America against the United States and Great Britain in the aftermath of the American Revolution; it also came during the Latin American wars of independence.
The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, officially titled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, is the peace treaty signed on February 2, 1848, in the Villa de Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico that ended the Mexican–American War (1846–1848). The treaty came into force on July 4, 1848.
Kansas is a U.S. state in the Midwestern United States. Its capital is Topeka and its largest city is Wichita, with its most populated county being Johnson County. Kansas is bordered by Nebraska on the north; Missouri on the east; Oklahoma on the south; and Colorado on the west. Kansas is named after the Kansas River, which in turn was named after the Kansa Native Americans who lived along its banks. The tribe's name is often said to mean "people of the (south) wind" although this was probably not the term's original meaning. For thousands of years, what is now Kansas was home to numerous and diverse Native American tribes. Tribes in the eastern part of the state generally lived in villages along the river valleys. Tribes in the western part of the state were semi-nomadic and hunted large herds of bison.
Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by the state of Texas on the south and west, Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the 50 United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.
The path of the Arkansas River has changed over time. Sediments from the river found in a palaeochannel next to Nolan, a site in the Tensas Basin, show that part of the river's meander belt flowed through up to 5200 BP. Whilst it was previously thought that this relict channel was active at the same time as another relict of Mississippi River's meander belt, it has been shown that this channel of the Arkansas was inactive approximately 400 years before the Mississippi channel was active.
A palaeochannel, or paleochannel, is a remnant of an inactive river or stream channel that has been filled or buried by younger sediment. The sediments that the ancient channel is cut into or buried by can be unconsolidated, semi-consolidated, consolidated or lithified. The word palaeochannel is formed from the palaeo, meaning "old," and channel. It may be synonymous with palaeovalley and palaeoriver.
The Tensas River is a river in Louisiana in the United States. The river, known as Tensas Bayou in its upper reaches, begins in East Carroll Parish in the northeast corner of the state and runs roughly southwest for 177 miles (285 km) more or less in parallel with the Mississippi River. The Tensas River merges with the Ouachita River in Jonesville in Catahoula Parish to become the Black River, not to be confused with Black Lake in Natchitoches Parish in north central Louisiana.
Before Present (BP) years is a time scale used mainly in archaeology, geology and other scientific disciplines to specify when events occurred in the past. Because the "present" time changes, standard practice is to use 1 January 1950 as the commencement date (epoch) of the age scale, reflecting the origin of practical radiocarbon dating in the 1950s. The abbreviation "BP" has been interpreted retrospectively as "Before Physics"; that refers to the time before nuclear weapons testing artificially altered the proportion of the carbon isotopes in the atmosphere, making dating after that time likely to be unreliable.
The Arkansas has three distinct sections in its long path through central North America. At its headwaters beginning near Leadville, Colorado, the Arkansas runs as a steep fast-flowing mountain river through the Rockies in its narrow valley, dropping 4,600 feet (1,400m) in 120 miles (190km). This section supports extensive whitewater rafting, including The Numbers (near Granite, Colorado), Brown's Canyon, and the Royal Gorge.
Leadville is the statutory city that is the county seat and only incorporated municipality in Lake County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 2,602 at the 2010 census and an estimated 2,893 in 2018. Leadville is situated at an elevation of 10,152 feet (3,094 m). Originally called "Silver City", Leadville was the first proposed capital of the state and the last place Doc Holliday was a lawman.
Granite is an unincorporated community with a U.S. Post Office in Chaffee County, Colorado, United States. The zip code of Granite is 81228. According to the 2010 census, the population is 116.
Browns Canyon National Monument is a 21,586 acres national monument in Chaffee County, Colorado that was designated as such by President Barack Obama under the Antiquities Act on February 19, 2015. The site will be centered along the Arkansas River between Buena Vista and Salida. Browns Canyon is the most popular destination for whitewater rafting in the country, and is also known for its fishing and hiking. The monument will provide habitat protection for bighorn sheep, peregrine falcons, elk, and golden eagles.
Water flow in the Arkansas River (as measured in central Kansas) has dropped from approximately 248 cubic feet per second (7.0m3/s) average from 1944–1963 to 53 cubic feet per second (1.5m3/s) average from 1984–2003, largely because of the pumping of groundwater for irrigation in eastern Colorado and western Kansas.
Since 1902, Kansas has claimed Colorado takes too much of the river's water, resulting in a number of lawsuits before the U.S. Supreme Court that continue to this day, generally under the name of Kansas v. Colorado. The problems over the possession and use of Arkansas River water by Colorado and Kansas led to the creation of an interstate compact or agreement between the two states. While Congress approved the Arkansas River Compact in 1949, the compact did not stop further disputes by the two states over water rights to the river.
The Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Basin Compact was created in 1965 to promote mutual consideration and equity over water use in the basin shared by those states. It led to the Kansas–Oklahoma Arkansas River Commission, which was charged with administering the compact and reducing pollution. The compact was approved and implemented by both states in 1970, and has been in force since then.
The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System diverts from the Arkansas River 2.5mi (4.0km) upstream of the Wilbur D. Mills Dam to avoid the long winding route which the lower Arkansas River follows. This circuitous portion of the Arkansas River between the Wilbur D. Mills Dam and the Mississippi River was historically bypassed by river vessels; early steamboats instead following a network of rivers—known as the Arkansas Post Canal—which flowed north of the lower Arkansas River and followed a shorter and more direct route to the Mississippi River. When the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System was constructed between 1963 and 1970, the Arkansas Post Canal was significantly improved, while the lower Arkansas River continued to be bypassed by commercial vessels.
The river in history
Many nations of Native Americans lived near, or along, the 1,450-mile (2,334-km) stretch of the Arkansas River for thousands of years. The first Europeans to see the river were members of the SpanishCoronado expedition on June 29, 1541. Also in the 1540s, Hernando de Soto discovered the junction of the Arkansas with the Mississippi. The Spanish originally called the river Napeste. "The name "Arkansas" was first applied by Father Jacques Marquette, who called the river Akansa in his journal of 1673. The Joliet-Marquette expedition travelled the Mississippi River from Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin towards the Gulf of Mexico, but turned back at the mouth of the Arkansas River. By that time, they had encountered Native Americans carrying European trinkets, and feared confrontation with Spanish conquistadors.
Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe, a French trader, explorer and nobleman had led an expedition into what is now Oklahoma in 1718–19. His original objective was to establish a trading post near the present city of Texarkana, Arkansas, but he then extended his trip overland as far north as the Arkansas River (which he designated as the Alcansas). The explorer wrote he and nine other men, including three Caddo guides and 22 horses loaded with trade goods had come to a native settlement overlooking the river, where there were about 6,000 natives, who gave the strangers a warm welcome. La Harpe's party were honored with the calumet ceremony and spent ten days at this location. In 1988, evidence of a native village was discovered along the Arkansas River 13 miles (21km) south of present-day Tulsa, Oklahoma. By then, the site was known as the Lasley Vore Site.[lower-alpha 1]
French traders and trappers who had opened up trade with Indian tribes in Canada and the areas around the Great Lakes began exploring the Mississippi and some of its northern tributaries. They soon learned that the birchbark canoes, which had served them so well on the northern waterways, were too light for use on the southern rivers, such as the Arkansas. They turned to making and using dugout canoes, which they called pirogues, made by hollowing out the trunks of cottonwood trees.[lower-alpha 2] Cottonwoods are plentiful along the streams of the southwest and grow to large sizes. The wood is soft and easily worked with the crude tools carried by both the French and Indians. The pirogues were sturdier and could be more for navigating the sandbars and snags of the Southern waterways.
By the time Fort Smith was established in 1817, larger capacity watercraft became available to transport goods up and down the Arkansas. These included flatboats (bateaus) and keelboats. Along with the pirogues, they transported piles of deer, bear, otter, beaver and buffalo skins up and down the river. Agricultural products such as corn, rice, dried peaches, beans, peanuts, snake root, sarsaparilla, ginseng had grown in economic importance.
On March 31, 1820, the Comet became the first steamboat to successfully navigate part of the Arkansas River, reaching a place called Arkansas Post,[lower-alpha 3] about 60 miles (97km) above the confluence of the Arkansas and the Mississippi Rivers. In mid-April, 1822, the Robert Thompson, towing a keelboat, was the first steamboat to navigate the Arkansas as far as Fort Smith. For five years, Fort Smith was known as the head of navigation for steamboats on the river. It lost the title to Fort Gibson in April, 1832, when three steamboats, Velocipede, Scioto and Catawba, all arrived at Fort Gibson later that month.[lower-alpha 4]
During the American Civil War, each side tried to prevent the other from using the Arkansas and its tributaries as a route for moving reinforcements. Initially, the Union Army abandoned its forts in the Indian Territory, including Fort Gibson and Fort Smith, in order to maximize its strength for campaigns elsewhere, while the Confederate Army sent troops from Texas to support its Native American allies. Union Troops returned later in the war, after defeating the Confederates at the Battle of Pea Ridge and the Battle of Fort Smith, and began recovering the position it had previously abandoned, most notably Fort Gibson, reopening the Arkansas River as a supply route. In September 1864, a body of Confederate irregulars led by General Stand Watie successfully ambushed a Union supply ship bound for Fort Gibson. The vessel was destroyed, and a part of its cargo was looted by the Confederates.
Post Civil War
In the 1880s, Charles "Buffalo" Jones, one of the cofounders of Garden City, Kansas, organized four irrigation companies to take water one hundred miles from the Arkansas River to cultivate 75,000 acres (300km2) of land. By 1890, water from the Arkansas was being used to irrigate more than 20,000 acres (8,100ha) of farmland in Kansas. By 1910, irrigation projects in Colorado had caused the river to stop flowing in July and August.
Flooding in 1927 severely damaged or destroyed nearly every levee downstream of Fort Smith, and led to the development of the Arkansas River Flood Control Association. It also led to the Federal Government assigning responsibility of flood control and navigation on the Arkansas to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE).
The headwaters of the Arkansas River in central Colorado have been known for exceptional trout fishing, particularly fly fishing, since the 19th century, when greenback cutthroat trout dominated the river. Today, brown trout dominate the river, which also contains rainbow trout. Trout Unlimited considers the Arkansas one of the top 100 trout streams in America, a reputation the river has had since the 1950s. From Leadville to Pueblo, the Arkansas River is serviced by numerous fly shops and guides operating in Buena Vista, Salida, Cañon City and Pueblo. The Colorado Division of Wildlife provides regular online fishing reports for the river.
A fish kill occurred on December 29, 2010, in which an estimated 100,000 freshwater drum lined the Arkansas River bank. An investigation, conducted by the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, found the dead fish "... cover 17 miles [27km] of river from the Ozark Lock and Dam downstream to River Mile 240, directly south of Hartman, Arkansas." Tests later indicated the likely cause of the kill was gas bubble trauma caused by opening the spillways on the Ozark Dam.
Arkansas River between Van Buren and Fort Smith, Arkansas
↑ A team led by Dr. George H. Odell, an anthropology professor from the University of Tulsa, uncovered artifacts that showed the natives were members of the Wichita people, and that the European artifacts also found there were of the same time period. Dr. Odell concluded this was most likely place that la Harpe met the natives he described.
↑ Pirogues are still used in the swamps and marshes of South Louisiana by descendants of the "Cajuns," who were exiled from Canada by the British.
↑ Arkansas Post is said to have been the first European settlement in the Mississippi Valley,
↑ Fort Gibson had been built in 1824 on the bank of the Verdigris River in what had been called the "Three Forks" area of Indian Territory.
Interstate 44 (I-44) is a major Interstate Highway in the central United States. Although it is nominally an east-west road as it is even-numbered, it follows a more southwest-northeast alignment. Its western terminus is in Wichita Falls, Texas at a concurrency with U.S. Route 277 (US 277), US 281, and U.S. Route 287 in Texas; its eastern terminus is at I-70 in St. Louis, Missouri. I-44 is one of five Interstates built to bypass U.S. Route 66; this highway covers the section between Oklahoma City and St. Louis.
Muskogee County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 70,990. The county seat is Muskogee. The county and city were named for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The official spelling of the name was changed to Muskogee by the post office in 1900.
The Kansas River, also known as the Kaw, is a river in northeastern Kansas in the United States. It is the southwestern-most part of the Missouri River drainage, which is in turn the northwestern-most portion of the extensive Mississippi River drainage. Its two names both come from the Kanza (Kaw) people who once inhabited the area; Kansas was one of the anglicizations of the French transcription Cansez of the original kką:ze. The city of Kansas City, Missouri, was named for the river, as was later the state of Kansas.
The Republican River is a river in the central Great Plains of North America, rising in the High Plains of eastern Colorado and flowing east 453 miles (729 km) through the U.S. states of Nebraska and Kansas.
The Red River, or sometimes the Red River of the South, is a major river in the Southern United States. It was named for the red-bed country of its watershed. It is one of several rivers with that name. Although it was once a tributary of the Mississippi River, the Red River is now a tributary of the Atchafalaya River, a distributary of the Mississippi that flows separately into the Gulf of Mexico. It is connected to the Mississippi River by the Old River Control Structure.
The White River is a 722-mile (1,162 km) long river that flows through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Missouri. Originating in the Boston Mountains of northwest Arkansas, it flows northwards into southern Missouri, and then turns back into Arkansas, flowing southeast to its mouth at the Mississippi River.
The Ouachita River is a 605-mile-long (974 km) river that runs south and east through the U.S. states of Arkansas and Louisiana, joining the Tensas River to form the Black River near Jonesville, Louisiana. It is the 25th-longest river in the United States.
The Neosho River is a tributary of the Arkansas River in eastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States. Its tributaries also drain portions of Missouri and Arkansas. The river is about 463 miles (745 km) long. Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. Its name is an Osage word meaning "clear water." The lower section is also known as the Grand River.
The Verdigris River is a tributary of the Arkansas River in southeastern Kansas and northeastern Oklahoma in the United States. It is about 310 miles (500 km) long. Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.
The McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) is part of the inland waterway system originating at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa and running southeast through Oklahoma and Arkansas to the Mississippi River. The system was named for two Senators: Robert S. Kerr (D-OK) and John L. McClellan (D-AR), who pushed authorizing legislation through Congress. The system officially opened June 5, 1971. President Richard M. Nixon attended the opening ceremony. It is operated by the Corps of Engineers.
Robert S. Kerr Reservoir is located within the Cookson Hills, on the Arkansas River in Sequoyah, Le Flore, Haskell, and Muskogee counties in eastern Oklahoma, US. It is about eight miles south of the nearest major town, Sallisaw, Oklahoma. The reservoir is impounded by Robert S. Kerr Lock and Dam at river mile 336.2 on the Arkansas River, just a few miles below its confluence with the Canadian River. The lock and dam are part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which provides for barge navigation on the Arkansas River and some of its tributaries. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers maintains the locks and navigation system.
Webbers Falls Lake, also known as Webbers Falls Reservoir, is a reservoir created by a lock and dam on the Arkansas River in Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The normal elevation is 490 feet (150 m). It has 157 miles (253 km) of shoreline and a surface area of 11,600 acres (47,000,000 m2). The drainage area of the lake is 97,033 square miles (251,310 km2). It is an integral part of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System, which was completed in 1971.
Wilbur D. Mills Dam is a steel dam and generating facility located on the Arkansas River in Arkansas County and Desha County, Arkansas, United States.
Newt Graham Lock & Dam is the final lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) before reaching the western terminus, Tulsa Port of Catoosa on the Verdigris River. The lock and dam is 24.8 miles (39.9 km) downstream of the port.
Chouteau Lock & Dam, also identified as Chouteau Lock & Dam 17, is 17th lock and dam of the McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS) from the Mississippi River to its terminus at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa, and is the first lock and dam on the Verdigris River in Oklahoma, just above the Three Forks junction with the Arkansas River. The lock is about 4 miles (6.4 km) northwest of Okay in Wagoner County, Oklahoma. Construction of this facility started in 1966 and was completed in 1970. The estimated cost of Chouteau Lock & Dam was $ 31.8 million.
John Paul Hammerschmidt Lake is a reservoir on the Arkansas River and an integral part of the McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System (MKARNS). It was formed by constructing the James W. Trimble Lock & Dam 13 across the river, near the city of Barling, Arkansas and extends upriver 26 miles (42 km) to W. D. Mayo Lock and Dam, which is located inside the state of Oklahoma. Although the Trimble facility was completed in 1969, it was not allowed to pass commercial barges until 1971, when upstream facilities were completed.
↑ Arco, Lee J.; Adelsberger, Katherine A.; Hung, Ling-yu; Kidder, Tristam R. (2006), "Alluvial Geoarchaeology of a Middle Archaic Mound Complex in the Lower Mississippi Valley, U.S.A.", Geoarchaeology: An International Journal, 21 (6): 610, doi:10.1002/gea.20125