More than 30 partners working to address the Harmful Algal Blooms occurring in Milford Reservoir
Manhattan, Kan. – Nearly 30 partners joined Lt. Governor Tracey Mann, Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter, and National Resources Conservation Services State Conservationist (NRCS) Karen Woodrich to sign the Milford Lake Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) Project last week during the Governor’s Water Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas.
“To have this many partners in the room, who come from organizations representing such a diverse sector of Kansans, is monumental to me,” said Lt. Governor Tracey Mann. “Seeing public water suppliers to agriculture commodity organizations, producers and cities coming together to address the impact of Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) demonstrates the core essence of what makes us Kansans – coming together and leading by example to solve this issue.”
Throughout the United States, HABs impact operations for many raw water sources utilized by public water supplies. When HABs are present toxins and taste-and-odor compounds can be produced which can lead to increased treatment costs for water suppliers as well as public health concerns. Milford Lake, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reservoir in north-central Kansas near Junction City and Fort Riley, is a prime Kansas example of the impacts HABs can have on drinking water sources as well as collective efforts which are in progress to reduce the magnitude and frequency of HABs occurring.
“We know phosphorus loading from the Lower Republican River Watershed is one of the contributing factors leading to the formation of HABs in Milford Lake,” said Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter. “In an effort to reduce the phosphorus loading entering Milford Lake from the Republican River, our office has engaged with a number of partners who are impacted by releases from Milford as they travel downstream as we recognize the value of source water protection related activities to help reduce nutrient and sediment runoff.”
Starting over a year ago the KWO engaged with NRCS and a partnership team including state government agencies, cities and public water suppliers, agricultural commodity groups and organizations, county conservation districts, non-profit organizations, and businesses surrounding Milford Lake to develop the framework for an RCPP project to provide additional financial assistance to producers to adopt conservation practices which reduce nutrient runoff within the Milford Lake watershed.
“We are glad to be part of this partnership and utilize NRCS funds to provide sign- up incentive payments for certain practices,” said NRCS State Conservationist Karen Woodrich. “It was a great day when we shared the word that the Milford Lake Watershed RCPP Project had been successful in receiving a commitment from NRCS of $2.88 million to be utilized in conjunction with partner team contributions to provide financial and technical assistance within the watershed to increase the adoption of conservation practices through the EQIP.”
The ceremony signified the beginning of public outreach events associated with year one of the Milford Lake Watershed RCPP Project in advance of producer outreach events scheduled to take place starting later this month. For more information about the project or where the upcoming public outreach meetings will take place visit www.kwo.ks.gov.
In addition to KWO and NRCS, the following project partners have committed to contributing to the success of the project:
Acorns Resort; City of Lawrence; City of Olathe; City of Topeka; City of Wakefield; Clay County; Clay County Economic Development Group; Dickinson County Conservation District; EcoPractices (Sustainability Partners); Flagstop Resort & RV Park; Friends of the Kaw; Geary County Conservation District; Jewell County Conservation District; Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams; Kansas Biological Survey; Kansas Corn Growers Association; Kansas Department of Agriculture – Division of Conservation; Kansas Department of Health and Environment; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; Kansas Farm Bureau; Kansas Forest Service; Kansas Soybean Commission; Kansas Water Office; National Sorghum Producers; Riley County Conservation District; Sustainable Environmental Consultants; The Nature Conservancy-Kansas; Thunderbird Marina & RV Resort; United States Department of Agriculture-National Resources Conservation Service; WaterOne of Johnson County; Westar Energy
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