Identify actions within the Kansas River Basin necessary to extend the useful life of our reservoirs, to increase their resiliency and maintain capacity. Develop sustainable measures to reduce flood risk, improve sediment management, and mitigate drought, while seeking opportunities related to critical infrastructure investment, water supply availability, ecosystem restoration, water quality, and enhancing recreation.
The KWO, KDWPT, and USACE are currently conducting public scoping and outreach meetings related to the Watershed Study. Discussion will center on the issues and opportunities that exist within the basin with an emphasis on the following topics:
- Drought and Water Supply
- Sediment Management and Reservoir Sustainability
- Ecosystem Restoration and Management
- Flood Risk Management
The Watershed Study will be completed within a 3-5 year time frame. Approximate dates for completion of the Watershed Study milestones are included below.
• Shared Vision Milestone – November 2020
• Recommendations Milestone – May 2023• Final Watershed Study Report – Fall 2023
The Kansas River Basin includes 18 federal reservoirs, 12 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. Army 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 the USACE and 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 USACE included an authorization of federal funds for the “Kansas River Reservoirs Flood and Sediment Study” (Watershed Study) as part of its FY 2019 Work Plan, with the KWO and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) acting as the non-federal co-sponsors. The Watershed Study 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. Included in that effort, the Watershed Study will review existing and possible future conditions, lake and river basin management, and investigate potential changes to existing or new infrastructure to optimize benefits, reduce flood and drought risks, and increase resiliency and sustainability. The goals are to ensure a robust system that meets the needs of the region and the nation for the next 100 years and to maintain strong partnerships between state, local and federal agencies.
The Watershed Study will follow a six-step planning process:
Total funding for the study is $3 million with a required 25% non-federal sponsor (KWO, KDWPT) cost share of $750,000.