Cooperatively investigate water resource problems and opportunities in the Kansas River Basin and recommend comprehensive, long-term solutions.
The Kansas River Basin includes 18 federal reservoirs, 17 of which reside in the State of Kansas, which regulate 85% of the drainage area in the basin, providing critical water supply, flood damage risk reduction, and vital river flow support to downstream regions. To more effectively manage those resources, the Kansas Water Office (KWO) has been working with the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) for several years to increase the overall understanding of the Kansas River Watershed with an emphasis on improving water quality and maintaining water quantity in federal reservoirs, the Kansas River, and upstream tributaries.
Discussions with the USACE Kansas City District regarding watershed-scale study of the basin began in 2015 and led to several valuable collaborate initiatives between federal, state, and local stakeholders. These have included multiple Planning Assistance to States (PAS) agreements between USACE and the KWO examining a variety of water quality, water quantity, and sediment management topics, as well as other important efforts such as streambank erosion assessments, the creation of the Milford Lake Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), various Milford Lake HAB initiatives, and a Sustainable Rivers Program (SRP) project that was awarded to the Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.
Building on these previous initiatives and the goals outlined in the Kansas Water Plan and Vision for the Future of Water Supply in Kansas, the U.S. Corps of Engineers (USACE) included an authorization of federal funds for the “Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Study” (Study) as part of its FY 2019 Work Plan. It is anticipated that the Study will be completed over 3-5 years and will investigate water resource issues and opportunities in the Kansas River Basin to recommend comprehensive, long-term solutions based on a shared vision for the basin. Scoping discussions for the project are ongoing, but topics of interest that have previously been identified and will remain a focus going forward include sediment management, reservoir operations, and flood risk management. The Kansas Water Office and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) are the non-federal co-sponsors for the Study.
The Study will follow the USACE six-step watershed planning process, as outlined below:
• Identify problems and opportunities
• Inventory and Forecasting
• Identify and Screen Measures
• Formulate Initial Array of Strategies
• Refine Initial Array and Evaluate Focused Array of Strategies
• Strategy Comparison and Selection
The process is further divided into a progression of anticipated tasks and major milestones.
Anticipated Study Progression
• Draft PMP Development
• Initial Round of Stakeholder Coordination and Public Outreach Meetings
• Initial Baseline and Existing Conditions
• Identify Conceptual Measures/Alternatives
• Screen Conceptual Measures/Alternative
• Preparation of Study Summary Document
• Shared Vision Milestone Meeting
• Recommendations Milestone Phase
• Final Watershed Plan Milestone Phase
• Shared Vision Milestone
• Recommendations Milestone
• Final Watershed Plan
The Federal Cost Share Agreement (FCSA) for the Study was executed on March 25, 2019, and the KWO provided the initial cash payment of $25,000 to initiate work on the study.
Total funding for the study is $3 million with a required 25% non-federal sponsor (KWO, KDWPT) cost share of $750,000.