region M Area 112 larger picture

Cherokee Prairies

Osage Plains Section of the Central Lowland Province of the Interior Plains.

49% of this are within Kansas.
26% of this area within Missouri.
25% of this area within Oklahoma.

Total Land Area 23,840 square miles (61,775 square kilometers).

Towns/cities include:
Chanute, Coffeyvill, Emporia, Independence, Iola, Suburbs of Kansas City, Parsons and Pittsburg, Kansas.
Bartlesville, Broken Arrow, Claremore and Miami, and Tulsa Oklahoma.
Clinton, Harrisonville, Sedalia, and Warrensburg Missouri.


Almost all of this area is underlain by Permian, Pennsylvanian, and Mississippian sandstone, shale, and limestone bedrock.

It is an area of gently sloping to rolling, dissected plains. The northern part of the area has a thin mantle of loess.

Topography -

Elevation ranges from 330 to 1,310 feet (100 to 400 meters). Relief is typically 3-10 feet (1-3 meters).


The average annual precipitation in this area is 34 to 45 inches (865 to 1,145 millimeters).
Most of the rainfall occurs as convective thunderstorms during the growing season.
The average annual temperature is 53 to 62 degrees F (11 to 17 degrees C).
The freeze-free period averages about 220 days and ranges from 185 to 255 days.

Major Hydrologic Unit Areas

Name Code Extent*
Neosho-Verdigris (1107) 47%
Gasconade-Osage (1029) 35%
Lower Missouri (1030) 8%
North Canadian (1110) 5%
Lower Arkansas (1111) 4%
Kansas (1027) 1%

* this is the percent of area drained by each named hydrologic unit


Estimated withdrawls in this MLRA:
Public supply surface water 17.3% ground water 1.5%
Livestock surface water 2.3% ground water 1%
Irrigation surface water 0.2% ground water 4.3%
Other surface water 72.5% ground water 0.9%

Total daily withdrawls average 1,270 million gallons per day (4,805 million liters).
8% Ground water sources
92% Surface water sources

Reservoirs are one of the sources of industrial and municipal water use. Surface waters are suitable for almost all uses.

The Douglas aquifer is utilized in the part of the area in Kansas. Water in this aquifer typically has less than 500 parts per million (milligrams per liter) total dissolved solids.

The Keokuk-Reeds Spring and Roubidoux aquifers in the northeast corner of Oklahoma also are used. Water from the Roubidoux aquifer is low in total dissolved solids, having a median level of 280 parts per million (milligrams per liter), and it is used for public supply. There is no information available about the Keokuk-Reeds Spring aquifer. Water for irrigation and domestic use is pumped from alluvial aquifers in the southern end of this area, in Oklahoma.

Deep wells, especially in the dolomite and minor sandstone layers in the Ozark aquifer in western Missouri, provide water for all uses.The Ozark water has a median concentration of 322 parts per million (milligrams per liter) total dissolved solids.


  • Thermic soil temperature regime.
  • Aquic or udic soil moisture regime.
  • Mixed or smectitic mineralogy
  • The soils are moderately to very deep, loamy or clayey, and can range from well drained to poorly drained.

    Dominant Soils:

  • Mollisols
  • Alfisols
  • Vertisols
  • Great Group Series Location
    Hapludolls Verdigris, Zaar seriesformed in alluvium on flood plains or in residuum on uplands.
    Argiudolls Bates, Catoosa, Clareson, and Eram series;Dennis, Martin, and Summit seriesformed in residuum or colluvium mixed with residuum on uplands.
    Argiudolls Kenoma seriesformed in old alluvium on plains.
    Albaqualfs Parsons seriesformed in old alluvium on plains.
    Argiaquolls Woodson seriesformed in old alluvium on plains.
    Hapludalfs Barco and Barden seriesformed in residuum
    Epiaquerts Osage seriesformed in alluvium on flood plains and stream terraces.

    Fauna and Flora

    The western part of this area generally supports tall prairie grasses. Big bluestem, little bluestem, Indiangrass, and switchgrass are the main species. The eastern part of the area and the valleys in the western part support natural vegetation characterized by trees, mainly red oak, white oak, and shagbark hickory. Islands of tall prairie grasses are common.

    Some of the major wildlife species include whitetailed deer, fox squirrel, raccoon, opossum, cottontail rabbit, bobwhite quail, and mourning dove.

    Land Use

    35% - Cropland - private
    43% - Grassland - private
    1% - - Federal
    11% - Forest - private
    6% - Urban development - private
    2% - Water - private
    2% - Other - private

    Winter wheat, corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, other feed grains, and hay are the principal crops. Some cotton is grown in Oklahoma. More than 2/5ths of the area supports pasture grasses and legumes. Native grasses grow on sloping areas. Forested areas are on the steeper valley slopes and some wet bottom lands. Forested acreage is considerably less in Kansas than in Missouri and Oklahoma.

    The major resource concerns include water erosion; maintenance of the content of organic matter in the soils, surface compaction, and low pH in the soils. Pasture and rangeland concerns include plant productivity and invasive plants.

    Conservation practices on cropland generally include hig residue crops, crop residue management (no-till, strip-till, mulch till), a combination of gradient terraces and grassed waterways, contour farming, conservation crop rotations, and nutrient and pest management. Conservation practices on rangeland generally include prescribed grazing, brush management and proper distribution of watering facilities.

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