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Flocks of snow geese skim golden short grass prairie to land on the precious water of Neegronda Reservoir. Dotted with cottonwood trees around its shoreline, the reservoir is home to all kinds of shorebirds and waterfowl. It's a great place to watch birds and wildlife or fish and play on the water.
Neegronda is the second largest of the four reservoirs that make up what are traditionally called the Great Plains Reservoirs. The others are Neenoshe, Neesopah, and Neeskah. The reservoirs are located just south of Eads in Kiowa County in southeastern Colorado. Neegronda, which is Cheyenne for Big Water, along with the other Great Plains Reservoirs, is a modified playa lake. Usually very shallow, playa lakes or natural-basin reservoirs have provided water seasonally for the wildlife and native people of the Southern Great Plains. In recent times the reservoirs have been used to store flood water for irrigation. Built by the Great Plains Water Company, the Great Plains Reservoirs project is the most extensive of its kind in the west. Water to fill the reservoirs is diverted from the Arkansas River through a series of canals and gates. With the exception of Neeskah, the reservoirs are linked together. Their water was use for irrigation for the first time in 1990.
In addition to providing valuable water for irrigation, Nee Gronda also provides recreation opportunities for residents and visitors to the area. Although there are no marinas around the lake, there are public boat ramps including a newly completed ramp made with baled recycled tires. Along with motorized boating there is sail boating and waterskiing and Neegronda is a good place to wind surf. Primitive camping, showers, and a private campground means the fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down.
Stocked by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, Neegronda Reservoir is host to annual bass and walleye tournaments. Anglers can also fish for wiper, saueye, crappie, white and largemouth bass, and bullhead. Water levels fluctuate for irrigation needs, but there are plenty of fish in this warm water lake.
All the Great Plain Reservoirs, including Neegronda, are inside the Queens State Wildlife Area. The area has excellent hunting for both large and small mammals including deer, rabbits, and squirrels. Hunters will also be pleased with the populations of game birds, including pheasant and bobwhite quail, and waterfowl. The Wildlife Area offers ample opportunities to see deer and antelope in the prairie environment, and there are many shore birds, including the least tern and piping plover. Lucky visitors may even see bald and golden eagles soaring over the reservoir.
Wide open prairies with deer and antelope and an abundance of fish and waterfowl makes Neegronda Reservoir a great place to visit.
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