Verdigris River

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Verdigris River
Van Horner Creek, Vermillion River, Wasetihoge River [1]
Verdigris River.jpg
The Verdigris River near Lenapah, Oklahoma
Map of the Verdigris watershed
Country United States
State Kansas, Oklahoma
Physical characteristics
Source confluence 
 - location Madison, Kansas
 - coordinates 38°09′08″N96°10′01″W / 38.15222°N 96.16694°W / 38.15222; -96.16694
 - elevation1,090 ft (330 m)
Mouth Arkansas River
 - location
Muskogee, Oklahoma
 - coordinates
35°48′01″N95°18′28″W / 35.80028°N 95.30778°W / 35.80028; -95.30778 Coordinates: 35°48′01″N95°18′28″W / 35.80028°N 95.30778°W / 35.80028; -95.30778 [1]
 - elevation
489 ft (149 m)
Length310 mi (500 km)
 - location USGS 07176000 near Claremore, OK [2]
 - average4,644 cu ft/s (131.5 m3/s)
 - minimum3.4 cu ft/s (0.096 m3/s)
 - maximum77,700 cu ft/s (2,200 m3/s)
Basin features
 - right Fall River, Elk River, Caney River
Waterbodies Toronto Lake, Oologah Lake

The Verdigris River /ˈvɜːrdɪɡrɪs/ 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. [3] Via the Arkansas, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

Tributary stream or river that flows into a main stem river or lake

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.

Arkansas River major tributary of the Mississippi River, United States

The Arkansas River is a major tributary of the Mississippi River. It generally flows to the east and southeast as it traverses the U.S. states of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The river's source basin lies in the western United States in Colorado, specifically the Arkansas River Valley, where the headwaters derive from the snowpack in the Sawatch and Mosquito mountain ranges. It then flows east into the Midwest via Kansas, and finally into the South through Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Kansas State of the United States of America

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.



The Verdigris is formed near Madison, Kansas, by the convergence of two short headwaters streams, its North and South forks, and flows generally southward throughout its course. South of Coffeyville, Kansas, the river enters Oklahoma. It joins the Arkansas River near Muskogee, Oklahoma, about a mile upstream of the mouth of the Neosho River. The area of convergence of the three rivers Arkansas, Verdigris and Neosho is called "Three Forks".

Madison, Kansas City in Kansas, United States

Madison is a city in Greenwood County, Kansas, United States, along the Verdigris River. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 701.

Coffeyville, Kansas City in Kansas, United States

Coffeyville is a city in southeastern Montgomery County, Kansas, United States, located along the Verdigris River in the state's southeastern region. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,295. It is the most populous city of Montgomery County and with its southeast Kansas location is in the Tulsa, Oklahoma media market. The town of South Coffeyville, Oklahoma is located approximately 1 mile south of the city, existing as a separate political entity immediately south of the state line.

Muskogee, Oklahoma City in Oklahoma, United States

Muskogee is a city in and the county seat of Muskogee County, Oklahoma, United States. Home to Bacone College, it lies approximately 48 miles southeast of Tulsa. The population of the city was 39,223 as of the 2010 census, a 2.4 percent increase from 38,310 at the 2000 census, making it the eleventh-largest city in Oklahoma.


The river is mentioned in accounts by Zebulon Pike (1806), Thomas Nuttall (1818). Fur traders had numerous posts along its route where they met with Native Americans to exchange goods for furs. The river is also mentioned in the novel Little House on the Prairie (1935) by Laura Ingalls Wilder, of her memories when her family moved to Kansas from Wisconsin.

Zebulon Pike soldier and explorer from the United States

Zebulon Montgomery Pike was an American brigadier general and explorer for whom Pikes Peak in Colorado was renamed. As a U.S. Army officer he led two expeditions under authority of third President Thomas Jefferson through the new Louisiana Purchase territory, first in 1805-06 to reconnoiter the upper northern reaches of the Mississippi River, and then in 1806-07 to explore the Southwest to the fringes of the northern Spanish-colonial settlements of New Mexico and Texas. Pike's expeditions coincided with other Jeffersonian expeditions, including the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804–1806) and the Thomas Freeman and Peter Custis expedition up the Red River (1806).

Thomas Nuttall English botanist and zoologist in America

Thomas Nuttall was an English botanist and zoologist who lived and worked in America from 1808 until 1841.

<i>Little House on the Prairie</i> (novel) American childrens novel, 1935, third in the Little House series and second of those featuring the Ingalls family

Little House on the Prairie is an autobiographical children's novel by Laura Ingalls Wilder, published in 1935. It was the third novel published in the Little House series, continuing the story of the first, Little House in the Big Woods (1932), but not related to the second. Thus, it is sometimes called the second one in the series, or the second volume of "the Laura Years".

The name is derived from the Spanish words verde, meaning "green," and gris, meaning "grey." According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the name may be derived from a gray-green substance resembling a copper ore, which tinged the water. [4] In the US treaty of 1834 with the Cherokee Indians, the river was named as a part of the boundary of their lands in the Indian Territory. [5]

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Copper Chemical element with atomic number 29

Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a soft, malleable, and ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. A freshly exposed surface of pure copper has a pinkish-orange color. Copper is used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a building material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys, such as sterling silver used in jewelry, cupronickel used to make marine hardware and coins, and constantan used in strain gauges and thermocouples for temperature measurement.

The Cherokee are one of the indigenous people of the Southeastern Woodlands of the United States. Prior to the 18th century, they were concentrated in what is now southwestern North Carolina, southeastern Tennessee, and the tips of western South Carolina and northeastern Georgia.

In July 2007, Coffeyville Resources suffered flooding at its refinery at Coffeyville by the Verdigris River, causing a spill of about 1,700 barrels of crude oil. [6] The company made efforts to ameliorate the damage.

In 2019, singer-songwriter Gus Dapperton a song on his debut album named ‘Verdigris’ referencing the distinct green colour of the river.

Gus Dapperton musician

Brendan Rice, better known by his stage name Gus Dapperton, is an American singer and songwriter from Warwick, New York.

Dams and transportation

Several dams built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers cause the Verdigris to form Toronto Lake near Toronto, Kansas and Oologah Lake near Oologah, Oklahoma. More dams and reservoirs are downstream along the Arkansas River.

From just north of Catoosa, Oklahoma to the river's confluence with the Arkansas, barge traffic is supported on the river via the McClellan-Kerr Navigation System. This consists of a series of locks and dams on the Arkansas and the Verdigris rivers; this system enables commercial navigation between the Tulsa, Oklahoma, area and the Mississippi River, and thence to the Gulf of Mexico.


In Kansas, the Verdigris collects the Fall River at the town of Neodesha and the Elk River at the town of Independence. In Oklahoma it collects the Caney River in Rogers County.

Cities and towns along the river

See also

Related Research Articles

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McClellan–Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System

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.

Oologah Lake lake of the United States of America

Lake Oologah is a reservoir in northeastern Oklahoma. It is located near the towns of Oologah, Nowata, and Claremore. The lake has a surface of 29,500 acres (119 km2) of water and 209 miles (336 km) of shoreline with 11 lake-side parks. The water storage capacity is rated as 552,210 acre feet (681,140,000 m3). The lake is formed along the Verdigris River, and is a source of water for the Tulsa Metropolitan Area. The purpose of the dam and lake is flood control, water supply, navigation, recreation, and fish and wildlife.

Lampsilis rafinesqueana, the Neosho mucket or Neosho pearly mussel, is a species of North American freshwater mussel endemic to Arkansas, Oklahoma, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas.

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Chouteau Lock & Dam

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.


  1. 1 2 "Verdigris River". Geographic Names Information System . United States Geological Survey . Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  2. "Water-Data Report 2013 - 07176000 Verdigris River near Claremore, OK" (PDF). U.S. Geological Survey. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  3. U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map Archived 2012-04-05 at WebCite , accessed May 31, 2011
  4. Britannica Online Encyclopaedia. "Verdigris River." Accessed September 4, 2011.
  5. ""Verdigris River," Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history". Archived from the original (English) on 2006-12-30. Retrieved 2007-03-14.
  6. Environmental News Service. "Raging Floodwaters Cause Kansas Refinery Oil Spill." July 3, 2007. Accessed September 4, 2007.