Cooperatove Conservation Project

Unique Partnership Impacts Wetland and Stream Health

Creating, Protecting, and Restoring Kansas Wetlands and Streams

Location: Midwest/Northern High Plains Region: Kansas

Project Summary: The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams implements projects to restore and protect habitat and water quality in Kansas wetlands, streams, and riparian areas.
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Projects such as this stream stabilization on the Smoky Hill River serve as demonstrations for area landowners to see what types of treatment they can use to restore their wetland and stream health. Members of the KAWS Lower Ark Chapter tour the site shortly after completion. Photo by Tim Christian
Resource Challenge

Kansas wetland, stream, and riparian area resources have been in a state of decline for a variety of reasons. Obvious reasons to attack this natural resource concern are to improve water quality, provide high quality wildlife and aquatic habitats, and quality of life concerns.    

  • Remaining wetlands are estimated at 48 percent of the original estimated wetlands found pre-settlement and recent inventories conducted indicate a continued net loss;
  • many remaining wetlands are degraded or in need of restoration; and,
  • of the 136,000 stream miles and riparian corridors, experts estimate that over half of those miles, 68,000-plus, were destroyed, degraded, or otherwise impaired.   

Individual efforts and programs by federal, state, and local agencies and other entities were not slowing the degradation and loss of these valuable areas.  In response to the need to build a strong educational and implementation effort to reverse the trend, the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams was formed in 1996.  In 2004, it became a 501.C. 3. public educational charity non-profit.

Examples of Key Partners
The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, Inc. (KAWS) is comprised of over 100 federal and state agencies, businesses, organizations, tribes, and over 500 individual members.  Many members are non-traditional partners that have found common ground in working to improve our state's wetland, stream and riparian area resources.  Some of them include the Kansas State Conservation Commission, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas Forest Service, Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Kansas Water Office, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Kansas Farm Bureau, Pheasants Forever, Tetra Tech EMI, K-State Research and Extension Forestry, US Fish and Wildlife Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Kansas Council of RC&D’s, county conservation districts, US Army Corps of Engineers, EPA Region 7, George Butler Associates, Kansas Biological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, National Wild Turkey Federation, Kansas Rural Center, Kansas Wildlife Federation, Quail Unlimited, Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Educators, StreamLink, Kaw Nation, Prairie Band Pottawatomi Nation, Sac and Fox Nation, and Westar Energy as well as the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Conoco/Phillips Petroleum, and the Upper Mississippi River/Great Lakes Region Joint Venture.


Results and Accomplishments

KAWS is a non-governmental, non-political, locally-driven group that  identifies, strategizes, and implements sound plans to address Kansas wetland, stream, and riparian area water quality and habitat concerns.  The collective challenge is to meet water quality standards, habitat needs for wildlife and a host of other environmental opportunities that face all Kansans.  KAWS delivers its services through 12 local chapters that cover the state of Kansas.  KAWS derives the majority of its funding through grants.  Today, it has eight staff that provide services to chapters and helping recruit and implement wetland, stream, and riparian area demonstration projects. 

In 2003, KAWS began implementing demonstration projects completing 30 that year.  In 2004, KAWS effectively spread demonstration projects through chapters, spending over $621,000 on 125 on-the-ground projects to improve water quality valued at over $2.2 million.  For 2003-2004, projects total 155.  The 155 projects completed amount to a total commitment of over $3.4 million in grant and non-federal match.  All KAWS projects serve as educational venues to show people what kinds and types of treatment they can use to treat their natural resource needs.

2004 On-the-Ground Projects  

125 projects completed 

  • Stream Stabilization – 22,717 linear feet (4.3 miles)
  • Wetland Restoration - 160 acres 
  • Wetland Buffers – 221 acres 
  • Riparian Fencing – 51,454 linear feet (9.75 miles) 
  • Riparian Buffers – 226 acres 
  • Total Acres Affected – 9,633 acres 

Total On-the-Ground Projects (2003-2004)

155 projects completed 

  • Stream Stabilization – 37,267 linear feet (7.1 miles) 
  • Wetland Restoration – 349 acres 
  • Buffers – 546 acres 
  • Riparian Fencing – 51,454 linear feet (9.75 miles) 
  • Total Acres Affected – 11,533 acres  

KAWS leveraged numerous funding sources amounting to over $1.275 million in 2004 to implement strategic education and demonstration projects.

Project Contact
Tim Christian
State Coordinator
The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, Inc.
PO Box 236
McPherson, KS 67460
(620) 241-3636
Steve Swaffar
Chairman of the Board

800 SW Jackson, Ste 1300
Topeka, KS 66612
(785) 234-4535

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