Manhattan, Kansas – A project to develop and implement a holistic watershed management plan for a heritage stream in the Flint Hills recently received additional funding support from the Kingsbury Foundation in Kansas. The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) has been working through partnerships for a decade to build technology that can find and show the largest issues affecting our streams, rivers, wetlands and water bodies.
The project has been ongoing, but the new funding will assist with further research and validation of the existing tools, which include GIS, online mapping and flood analysis. This phase of the project will be completed by the end of 2018. Scientists at KAWS will be looking at stream bank erosion, barriers to fish migration, watershed health and floodplain connectivity in the Cottonwood River Basin, but the resulting tools can eventually be used across the entire state.
“During rain events and flooding, the water runs off the land and into our water supply – taking with it small pieces of the way we use our lands,” said Jeff Neel, Director of Applied Research and Restoration at KAWS. “By addressing the cause of the problems – land management that causes more runoff as opposed to increased infiltration and retention – rather than the result, we can more effectively address potential issues before they start, increase baseflow during droughts and minimize ongoing problems before they get worse.”
KAWS will be using these tools to present easy-to-understand results and planning options to communities and landowners to help preserve habitat and support biodiversity across the state. Assessments of streams, wetlands and adjacent (riparian) areas will also be used as a part of this project.