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Flood protection funding secured for watersheds

SALINA – Karen A. Woodrich, State Conservationist, Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and Senator Jerry Moran, announced Monday that funding in the amount of $846,800 has been secured through the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program (WPFPP) for the Rattlesnake Creek Watershed and Middle Creek Watershed; $725,000 will be awarded to Rattlesnake Creek and $121,800 to Middle Creek to address water conservation efforts in Kansas.

The NRCS Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program, commonly known as Public Law 566 (PL-566), helps units of federal, state, local and tribal governments (project sponsors) protect and restore watersheds of up to 250,000 acres. This program provides cooperation between the federal government and the states and their political subdivisions to work together to prevent erosion, floodwater and sediment damage,  further conservation development, use and disposal of water, enhancing conservation, and the proper use of land in authorized watersheds. These PL-566 projects will help build on over 20 years of partnerships addressing natural resource concerns.

“These projects are important for Kansas,” said Woodrich. “Water management, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and enhancing the surrounding agricultural community are just a few resource concerns that we can address in our conservation efforts across our state.”

“The agreement reached earlier this year between the Big Bend Groundwater Management District 5 and the Fish and Wildlife Service will help satisfy the water needs of both Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and local producers,” said Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.). “I appreciate Acting Chief Norton’s work to provide assistance from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to prepare a watershed plan, an important step forward to begin fulfilling the terms of the agreement at Quivira.”

Middle Creek funding will provide for planning and design of Floodwater Retention Dam (FRD) Number 11. This dam will improve flood protection for property and agricultural lands downstream.

Rattlesnake Creek funding will be for the development of a watershed plan for the Rattlesnake Creek Basin in south central Kansas. NRCS will work with stakeholders to assess the existing resources, evaluate conservation alternatives, and develop a plan to conserve and protect the valuable resources of the area. The primary resource concern in Rattlesnake Creek Watershed is the inadequate water quantity including low surface water flows to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.

Rattlesnake Creek Watershed consists of 151,509 acres located in a prime agricultural region with 4,587 farms producing $1.89 billion in crop and livestock sales annually. It provides surface flows to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge which consists of 7,000 acres of wetlands. Providing critical habitat for over 300 species of birds on the Central Flyway, including threatened and endangered species.