In 1949, the Cedar Bluff Dam was constructed along the Smoky Hill River in Kansas to mainly provide irrigation to the area, but also to help with flood control, establish fish and wildlife habitats, develop recreation sites, and provide water for municipal and industrial uses.
In the late 1960's and into the 1970's, the flow of the river declined dramatically, and by the early 1980's, not enough water was available for irrigation. By 1992, all associations and activities regarding irrigation and the delivery systems dissolved, though other uses were retained.
Even though the primary use of the dam was lost, the water levels of the reservoir have increased over the years, and now is a popular recreation site, while still offering flood control and water for municipal uses and local industries.
Landsat images acquired in 1980, 1986, and 2012 show the changes to water levels in the reservoir. While levels may fluctuate from year to year, the general area of the reservoir remains high. The forty year Landsat archive provides data on the land surface variations. Data from Landsat observations are used by decision makers to determine how to best use natural resources and to monitor water body conditions.