Wilson Lake is a multipurpose project situated on the Saline River that serves primarily for flood and silt control, recreation, and fish & wildlife management. The Wilson Lake Dam construction cost $20 million when it was completed in 1964. Since then, Wilson Lake has saved an estimated $1.5 billion in property losses by preventing downstream flood damages to farmlands and developed areas. The substrate of the Saline River is limestone, creating water high in salt content that restricts it from being used for drinking water and irrigation without special treatment. This high salinity content has proven beneficial in stocking the ocean native Striped Bass.
The grassland drainage basin of 1,917 square miles filters sediments resulting in Kansas’s clearest lake. At multipurpose pool, 1516.00 feet above “mean sea level” (MSL), Wilson Lake has 9,000 surface acres of water and 12,842 acres of land. During periods of flooding, the lake can accommodate approximately 20,000 surface acres of water at flood pool, 1554.00 MSL.