Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest inland wetland in the United States. Water normally diverts from rivers into the vast marshland.
The wetland water level changes with precipitation and surface flows. For example, 2007 was a wet year. And 2013 was a dry year.
Heavy rains in late summer typically replenish the water levels in the marshland, making it a key stopover for thousands of migrating birds to eat and rest. In the fall of 2022, the birds found nothing to stop for. Landsat images show not only the lack of water, but also an overall lack of healthy green vegetation due to drought conditions in the region.