About FOK

Friends of the Kaw (FOK) serves the Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw. The Kaw is the largest prairie watershed in the world. The river originates at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers and runs more than 170 miles to meet the Missouri in northeast Kansas. The Kaw provides drinking water for 800,000 people. Additional uses are agricultural irrigation and industrial water supply (intake) including three coal-fired power plants.  We are dedicated to protecting the river from pollution sources including: municipal and industrial wastewater discharges, new pollution sources and in river commercial sand and gravel mining.

For more than twenty years, our water-focused friends group has been the only grassroots conservation group dedicated to protecting the Kaw. Our members come from rural, urban, and suburban areas and represent canoers, kayakers, fisherfolk, hunters, birdwatchers, and locals who love the river.


FOK’s Mission is to:

  • To preserve and protect the Kansas River for future generations.
  • To advocate the rehabilitation of the Kansas River’s environs, including its water quality and wildlife habitat.
  • To promote compatible public recreational uses of the Kansas River and encourage the development of adequate public access.
  • To these ends we shall seek to cooperate with other persons, organizations and public agencies.

Friends of the Kaw is a 501 c 3, not-for-profit organization. Any donations made to FOK are deductible to the full extent allowed by law.

A Brief History of Friends of the Kaw

FOK is the only grassroots citizens’ group committed to protecting the Kaw. When we formed in 1991, the river was almost completely inaccessible to the public. We changed all that by increasing the number of boat ramps from six to nineteen, and leading paddle trips to educate about the river.  Our first victory came in 1995 when we led a successful campaign to convince the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) to deny a permit on the basis of the Kaw’s recreational value.   Since then we have seen the number of permits reduced, with only six remaining currently active. Since 2001 FOK has been a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and we sponsor the Kansas Riverkeeper as a full time, non-governmental advocate to represent FOK and the Kaw on every major river stakeholder group.