President’s Year-End Letter
In March of 2014, the Corps of Engineers (COE) announced that a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) would be required to reauthorize dredging permits on the Kaw. The COE “was unable to conclude that there are no potentially significant impacts associated with the activities proposed by dredging companies.” The new EIS is a positive development, but there’s still work to do. Commercial sand and gravel dredging have seriously degraded the Kansas River, and to prevent additional damage all operations should move to appropriately sited pit mines in the Kansas River valley. When it comes time for the public meeting that will be held in the fall of 2015 we’ll need you to submit your comments in support of protecting the Kaw. We’ll keep you updated!
The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, with the assistance of the National Park Service and Friends of the Kaw, has continued to improve the Kansas River Water Trail. With the participation of Westar’s Green Team informational kiosks have been built at many of the access ramps, including the De Soto ramp.
In June of 2015, our Kansas Riverkeeper, Laura Calwell, was honored by the River Network as a River Hero. This award is peer-nominated and given yearly to five individuals who have dedicated themselves to protecting our most vital natural resource—water. After years of service, Laura will be retiring in the near future, so we are actively seeking applications for a new Kansas Riverkeeper. Visit the job description page for more details.
Finally, as we approach the end of the year, please consider making a tax-deductible gift via PayPal or by sending a check to Friends of the Kaw, P.O. Box 1612, Lawrence, KS 66044. Your gift will support efforts to protect the river, including getting dredging operations out of the river. Already an FOK member? Consider giving a membership as a holiday gift! Over 800,000 Kansans depend on the Kaw for drinking water, and it is only through working together that we can protect this valuable resource for future generations.
Thank you for your continued support of Friends of the Kaw. From all of us at FOK, have a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for the new year!
Jim Walton, President
Kansas River Currents
Check out our latest newsletter for a review of FOK’s activities and accomplishments in 2014!
The Kansas River
The Kansas River (known locally as the Kaw) begins at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill Rivers near Junction City. It flows 173 miles to Kansas City where it joins the Missouri River. The Kaw watershed drains almost the entire northern half of Kansas and part of Nebraska and Colorado (53,000 square miles). It is the world’s largest prairie based river system.