Pawnee River

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Pawnee River
Pawnee Fork, Otter River
Name origin: Named for the Pawnee, a Native American tribe that once inhabited a region bounded on the south by the river
Country United States
State Kansas
Part of Arkansas River basin
 - right Buckner Creek
Cities Ravanna, Burdett, Rozel, Larned
Source Confluence of several unnamed streams and drainage channels
 - location About 30 miles (48 km) of Garden City, in Gray County
 - elevation 2,835 ft (864 m)
 - coordinates 37°57′57″N 100°35′55″W / 37.96583°N 100.59861°W / 37.96583; -100.59861 [1]
Mouth Arkansas River
 - location Larned, Pawnee County
 - elevation 1,985 ft (605 m)
 - coordinates 38°10′07″N 99°05′44″W / 38.16861°N 99.09556°W / 38.16861; -99.09556Coordinates: 38°10′07″N 99°05′44″W / 38.16861°N 99.09556°W / 38.16861; -99.09556 [1]
Length 198 mi (319 km), East-northeast
Basin 2,701 sq mi (6,996 km2) [2]
Discharge for Rozel, 22 miles (35 km) from the mouth
 - average 57.9 cu ft/s (2 m3/s) [3]
 - max 16,300 cu ft/s (462 m3/s)
 - min 0 cu ft/s (0 m3/s)

The Pawnee River is a river in southwestern Kansas in the United States, about 198 miles (319 km) long.[4] It is a tributary of the Arkansas River, which in turn is a branch of the Mississippi River.

It rises in northwestern Gray County at an elevation of 2,835 feet (864 m), as the outflow of several agricultural drainage channels. For 20 miles (32 km) the river runs due north, before turning northeast near Ravanna. The river arcs to the south and receives Buckner Creek, its main tributary at the town of Burdett, then flows east past Rozel and through Fort Larned National Historic Site. It joins the Arkansas River on the left bank, south of the city of Larned.[5]

This river drains an arid farming region of about 2,700 square miles (7,000 km2) of the Great Plains. Most of its flow is consumed by irrigation before it reaches the mouth, and the river dries up for periods of months at a time in most years.[2] The land surrounding the river was originally inhabited by the Kansa, Cheyenne, Osage, Pawnee and other tribes, the latter for which the river is named. The river was a route for the Santa Fe Trail in the 19th century, and was also the scene of Native American-U.S. wars in 1854, after which Fort Larned was established on the river to maintain a permanent military presence in the region.[6][7]

See also[edit]

-Kansas river
-republican river
-Smokey hill river
-Arkansas river


  1. ^ a b "Pawnee River". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. 1978-10-13. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  2. ^ a b "Pawnee-Buckner Subbasin: 2009 Field Analysis Summary" (PDF). Kansas Department of Agriculture. 2010-04-28. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  3. ^ "USGS Gage #07141200 on the Pawnee River at Rozel, Kansas" (PDF). National Water Information System. U.S. Geological Survey. 1925-present. Retrieved 2010-11-21.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ U.S. Geological Survey. National Hydrography Dataset high-resolution flowline data. The National Map, accessed March 29, 2011
  5. ^ USGS Topo Maps for United States (Map). Cartography by United States Geological Survey. ACME Mapper. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  6. ^ "Pawnee River". Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. Blue Skyways. Retrieved 2010-11-21. 
  7. ^ "Fort Larned National Historic Site, Kansas". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 2010-11-21.