Catfish Fry and Community Forum

CATFISHFRY.2014Please join us for the Catfish Fry fundraiser at Abe & Jakes Landing at 8 E. 6th St. in Lawrence, KS starting at 6pm on Thursday evening, September 25. You will receive a delicious catfish dinner prepared by Terrabonne Cafe. The cost is $10 in advance and tickets can be purchased  HERE, or pay $12 at the door.  As well as a yummy dinner, you will enjoy a blue grass band, a great exhibit on the Kansas Riverkings, a cash bar, and lots of fun and conversation about the Kaw!

You will also have the opportunity to bid on some fabulous items from Lawrence merchants in our silent auction.

We would like to thank our sponsors:
Abe & Jakes
Westar’s Green Team
Cromwell Solar
Thompson Financial Group
Cottin’s Hardware & Rental
Landmark National Bank
Downtown Lawrence


Fall Floats on the Kaw!

This Saturday, September 20,  Friends of the Kaw will host the Kanza and Thomas Hart Benton Sierra Clubs on a Kaw River float from Seward Ave. access in Topeka to the Rising Sun access just north west of the Lecompton Bridge.  This is a particularly scenic 13 mile float and we still have a few boats available for the public to rent.   If you have your own canoe or kayak you are welcome to join the float.  We will meet the group at the Rising Sun access at 8am to organize the shuttle and caravan to the Seward Ave. access in east Topeka. After a safety and basic paddling talk we will launch about 9:30am.  We will paddle as a group for about an hour and a half and then stop on a sand bar for a hotdog and marshmallow roast.  Participants will have time to explore the sand bar and also listen to a short Sandbar Seminar about the Kaw.  We will paddle for another hour and half and take out at Rising Sun about 2pm.  Drivers will be taken back to their cars at Seward Avenue and then return for their boats and passengers.

In case of eminent thunderstorms or high wind we will cancel the float at 6am on the day of the float. Call or email the Kansas Riverkeeper for more info or questions!



Community Forum on Kansas Environmental Issues

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Village Presbyterian Church, 6641 Mission Road, Prairie Village, KS 66208
Hosted by Environmental Action Committee of Village Presbyterian Church

Environmental Policy and Politics in Kansas: Which One Needs More Help?
A Conversation with Joshua and Kimberly Svaty

5:30 p.m.                  Appetizers & Exhibits by Kansas Environmental Organizations
6:00 p.m.                  Dinner of Locally Grown Foods Catered by Blue Bird Bistro
7:00 p.m.                  Program: Zack Pistora, Vice-President, KNRC; Josh Svaty, Vice-President of The Kansas Land Institute, former Kansas State Representative & Secretary of Agriculture; Kimberly Svaty, Owner of Gencur Svaty Public Affairs; Moderator Burke Griggs, Assistant Attorney for Kansas, Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford
8:30 p.m.                  Adjourn

Advance reservations advised by Friday, September 26. $20 donation covers dinner and program. $10 covers program only ($5 for students). Payable on-line @ or by check mailed to KNRC/Community Forum, 7301 Mission Road, Suite 248, Prairie Village, KS, 66208. Receipt of on-line payment or check confirms your reservation.

Fall Floats and Catfish Fry


August has been beautiful, bring on the September floats!!

The Friends of the Kaw Dad/Sons float trip on August 9th was enjoyed by all. As shown in the photo above, during the break from floating the boys enjoyed nice swim! Many fish and bald eagles were spotted on the trip and instead of hot dogs, the treat of choice for the August float was watermelon! The sand bar and nice cloudy day were enjoyed by everyone.

In September we have floats planned on Saturday 6, 13 and 20. Anyone with their own canoe or kayak are welcome to join any of our floats – just be sure to call and let us know you’re coming so if we have any last minute changes we can get in touch. Also, for any of our floats we rent out the available canoes or kayaks not used by the group. September is a beautiful month to be on the Kaw, so come join us!

Catfish Fry!

Friends of the Kaw welcomes you to join us for one of our most popular events of the year – the Catfish Fry at Abe & Jake’s Landing in Lawrence, KS. Tickets may be purchased online for $10 in advance or for $12 at the door. Enjoy a catfish dinner, a live band, a great exhibit on the Kansas Riverkings, and lots of fun and conversation about the Kaw. You do not want to miss this event!

Rain Garden Maintenance and Cleanups

Friends of the Kaw will be maintaining the rain garden near the DeSoto ramp on September 6th before the float at 9am. There will be many more opportunities to volunteer with other Kansas River maintenance and river cleanups and we encourage you volunteer a few hours helping us take care of our amazing river, which is a National River Trail and a 172 mile Kansas gem of sandbars and wildlife. Thank you!

July Friends of the Kaw Float Trips

W Volleyball float 1










Friends of the Kaw has hosted the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Church, a KU Architecture class, the Konza Rotary Club in Manhattan, Boy Scout Troop 323 and the Kansas Wesleyan University Girls Volleyball Team (pictured above) on group float trips this summer. Our float trips are lots of fun, good exercise, and educational. In addition, we host a hot dog and marshmallow roast over a drift wood fire on a sand bar. Kaw river sand bars are fun to explore, and hot dogs sure taste good when they are cooked over an open fire!

We would like to thank the participating groups and our float assistants for making these floats safe and fun!

KU Architecture Class

KU Architecture Class


Cooking Marshmallows

Cooking Marshmallows

In September we have floats planned for Saturday the 6th, 13th and 20th. Anyone with their own canoe or kayak is welcome to join any of our floats, just be sure to call and let us know you are coming so if we have any last minute changes we can get in touch. We also rent out the canoes or kayaks not used by the group.



Boys and Girls Club Paddling Experiences

Friends of the Kaw hosts Boys & Girls Club Paddling Experiences!



Friends of the Kaw partnered with Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site, managed by the National Park Service, and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area to engage 170 at-risk 4th – 5th grade students from area Boys and Girls Clubs in a half-day paddling experience as part of a series of 5 five-day camp programs. The paddling experiences took place at Kill Creek Lake and Lake Lenexa on Wednesdays in June and July and consisted of a stormwater game, macro invertabrate study and paddling a canoe or kayak. An experienced adult paddler accompanied each student or group of students. At the end of the event everyone enjoyed a hot dog cook out in one of the lake’s shelters. Our goal was to connect area youth with America’s Great Outdoors encouraging outdoor fitness and this activity was funded by a Paddle Nation Grant awarded to Friends of the Kaw.

Friends of the Kaw would like to thank the staff of Brown v. Board of Education, Freedom’s Frontier and the attending Boys and Girls Clubs for helping to make the five events very successful. Laura Calwell, Erik Wolf and Dee Wilson, staff of Friends of the Kaw, planned and organized the outings but we could not have been successful with out the assistance of our many volunteers who paddled. A big thank you to: Julia Marsh, Mike Calwell, Jeanne Heitzman, Tom Stull, Kate Delahunt, Susan Kysela, Tam Smith, Jim Jackson, and Jim Walton.

IMG_2822     IMG_2808












Floating the Kaw!

Friends of the Kaw has had a very busy summer, along with the five Boys and Girls Club floats we have hosted the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Church, a KU Architecture class and the Konza Rotary Club in Manhattan. We will host Boy Scout Troop 323 on July 19 and the Kansas Wesleyan University Girls Volleyball Team on July 21.

We have no floats scheduled for August at this time but we’re happy to help any group plan a float even at the last minute.

In September we have floats planned for Saturday 6, 13 and 20. Anyone with their own canoe or kayak are welcome to join any of our floats – be sure to call to let us know you are coming so if we have any last minute changes we can get in touch. Also for any of our floats we rent out the available canoes or kayaks not used by the group.

Draft Kansas Water Vision

Let your voice be heard! Attend one of the meetings on the draft Kansas Water Vision.


From the Kansas Water Office:

Water Vision Team on Statewide Tour July 7-11
Team leaders to share first draft of the 50-year Vision with public

Topeka, KS – Next week the Governor’s Water Vision Team will be visiting 12 locations throughout the state for citizens to provide input on the first draft of the 50-Year Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas.

“The first draft of the Vision has been posted to our website and we encourage the public to look at the preliminary document,” said Kansas Water Office Director Tracy Streeter. “This discussion draft is based on input the Team has been gathering for months from stakeholders representing all water uses. While we know the solution isn’t a one-size fits all, we hope this can address many of Kansas’ water priorities.”

Last fall Governor Sam Brownback issued a call to action for a 50-Year Vision to ensure a reliable water supply for Kansas citizens. The Team will be at the following locations for input from stakeholders and citizens on the first draft:
Monday, July 7
Wichita, KS – 11:30-1 pm, Sedgwick County Extension Center, 4-H Hall, 7001 W 21st St.
St. John, KS – 4:30-6 pm, Stafford County K-State Research & Extension Office, 210 E. 3rd

Tuesday, July 8
Liberal, KS – 7-8:30 am, Seward County Activity Building, 810 Stadium Road
Garden City, KS – 11:30 am -1 pm, Finney County 4-H Building, 209 W. Lake Avenue
Dighton, KS – 4:30-6 pm, Lane County 4-H Building, 755 N. 7th

Wednesday, July 9
Colby, KS – 7-8:30 am Colby Community Building, 285 E. 5th
Stockton, KS – 11:30 am -1 pm, Rooks County Fairgrounds, Harding Hall 4-H Building, 918 S. Elm
Assaria, KS – 4:30-6 pm, Assaria Community Center, 315 E. Main

Thursday, July 10
Manhattan, KS – 7-8:30 am, Manhattan Fire Department Headquarters, 2000 Denison
Washington, KS – 11:30 am – 1 pm, First National Bank, 101 C Street
Kansas City, KS – 4:30-6 pm, Kansas City Community College, Jewel Room 2325, 7250 State Avenue

Friday, July 11
Ft. Scott – 9-10:30 am, Ft. Scott Community College, Ellis Fine Arts Center, 2108 S. Horton

“Kansas and its citizens are continually reminded of the importance of water,” said Secretary Jackie McClaskey. “We look forward to hearing from folks next week because it doesn’t matter what area of Kansas you live in, the entire state is affected by this issue.”

Stakeholders and Kansas citizens are encouraged to attend one of the Vision Tour input sessions. For more information and to view the preliminary discussion draft of the Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas, visit

Friends of the Kaw receives two grants to clean up the Kaw!

REI, Inc awarded Friends of the Kaw $2,000 to assist in river cleanups on the the Kaw.


The Douglas County Heritage Conservation Council awarded Friends of the Kaw $10,000 for cleanup of the Kaw between Lawrence and Eudora.

We are in the process of planning our river cleanup events and we are very grateful for the support of these two organizations!

Kansas Riverkeeper Honored as River Hero


Margarita Diaz, Proyecto Fronterizo de Educación Ambiental A.C. (Mexico); Michael Taylor, Illinois Water Trailkeeper (IL); Jane Sherman, Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council (RI); Joe Payne, Casco Baykeeper/Friends of Casco Bay (ME); Laura Calwell, Friends of the Kaw (KS)


Empowering communities throughout the Tijuana River Watershed, giving back as a tireless volunteer river trail steward in Illinois, developing national showcases of urban renewal in Rhode Island, improving water quality in Maine’s Casco Bay, and being a leading advocate for rivers in Kansas are just a few of the accomplishments of an extraordinary group of individuals who have dedicated themselves to protecting our most vital natural resource—water.

Since 2002, sixty-two individuals from around the U.S and world have been honored with this prestigious award.

“We couldn’t be more impressed than we are by the important work these individuals and their organizations are doing to make a meaningful impact on water resources around the nation”, said Nicole Silk, River Network President. “Their dedication to – and love of rivers and water- is what inspires us all.”

In addition, each year River Network celebrates one individual’s accomplishments with the James R. Compton River Achievement Award. This year’s honoree is Rebecca Wodder (Washington, DC). Rebecca is a nationally known environmental leader who has devoted her career to conservation causes, beginning with the first Earth Day in 1970, and as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (WI) on environmental and energy issues. Most recently she served at the U.S. Department of the Interior as Senior Advisor to Secretary Ken Salazar, advancing river and watershed objectives. Rebecca was nominated by President Obama for the post of Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and Parks. She previously served as President of American Rivers from 1995-2011.

River Network hosted the 2014 River Heroes Award winners at a banquet during this year’s River Rally conference in Pittsburgh, PA May 30-June 2.

For details about the River Hero program, visit Nominations are now open for 2015 River Heroes.

About River Network
River Network is empowering a national watershed protection movement that includes more than 2,000 local, state and regional grassroots organizations whose primary mission is to protect and restore rivers and other waters that sustain the health of our country. For twenty-five years, River Network has worked closely with watershed protection groups from coast to coast – building the capacity of state and local organizations, assisting people grappling with water and environmental health problems, protecting habitat for fish and wildlife, developing blue cities and reducing our country’s use of water and energy. Visit us online at or on Facebook.

Friends of the Kaw Recieves a Paddle Nation Grant

Outdoor Nation has provided $2,500 to Friends of the Kaw for Keeping the Dream Alive: Connecting Underserved Students with the Kansas River National Water Trail. Friends of the Kaw is working with the staff at the National Park Service’s Brown v. Board of Education site and Freedom Frontier to provide a paddling experience for the Boys and Girls Club Day Camps this summer on June 11, 18, 25, July 9 and 16 (all Wednesdays.) We will either take the group on the Kansas River from De Soto access to Cedar Creek access or to Kill Creek Lake. We NEED VOLUNTEERS on those days between 9:30 and 2:30pm. If you have a kayak or canoe and want to bring it that would be great or we also need folks to help paddle one of Friends of the Kaw’s boats. If you can help out please contact the Kansas Riverkeeper.

Volunteers Needed!

So many Events and Festivals coming up and we need your help!

Topeka Gives at Fairlawn Plaza Mall on June 3rd, 2014 in Topeka, KS from 7am to 6pm
Fairlawn Plaza Mall: 2114 SW Chelsea Dr. Topeka, KS 66614

Topeka Gives is a one-day event, celebrating charitable giving. The Topeka Community Foundation will provide $35,000 in “match” money for contributions made to support 111 different nonprofit organizations in the community. Contributions can be made only inside the Fairlawn Plaza Mall on that day. This event is a kid-friendly, hands-on, fun activity in which to model the joy of charitable giving.

Friends of the Kaw needs 2 volunteers for Topeka Gives. One volunteer for a 10am to 2pm shift and another for a 2pm to 6pm shift! Contact the Kansas Riverkeeper to volunteer!
Winesong at Riverfest Park in Desoto, KS on June 7th, 2014 from 3pm – 7pm
Riverfest Park: 33440 W. 79th St. Desoto, KS 66018
WinesongWinesong at Riverfest is a charitable fund-raising event for Friends of the Kaw and several other local charities! This is the 3rd Annual event and guests can enjoy the unique opportunity to discover the dozens of wines from at least 17 Kansas farm wineries throughout the local area. This is such a memorable event! This event will be held “rain or shine”!

Friends of the Kaw needs 12, yes twelve, volunteers for Winesong to help with the Friends of the Kaw booth and to help monitor a tent on that day. Folks who volunteer will get free admission (this is a awesome deal!) and the opportunity to explore and enjoy the festival as it is going on! We are not going to put you to work the entire time! Contact the Kansas Riverkeeper to volunteer!


Boulevardia in the West Bottoms of Kansas City on June 14 from 11am – 5pm and June 15 from 12pm – 5pm
West Bottoms: Around the historic 12th Street bridge near downtown Kansas City, MO
BoulevardiaBoulevardia is a new beer, food and music festival being held in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. Friends of the Kaw is going to have an informational booth in the Eco-village of the festival. Our goal is to spread the word on our mission and recruit more people to enjoy and help with protecting and preserving the Kansas River!

Friends of the Kaw needs 6 volunteers for Boulevardia to help with the Friends of the Kaw booth. Folks who volunteer will get free admission AND a free t-shirt (which is amazing!) and have some time to explore and enjoy the festival after volunteering! We need several volunteers on both Saturday (11am to 5pm) and Sunday (12pm to 5pm) of the festival.

Contact the Kansas Riverkeeper to volunteer!

Kayaking on the Kansas River National Water Trail

On Wednesday June 11th, 2014, Laura Calwell, Kansas Riverkeeper for Friends of the Kaw will discuss paddling on the Kansas River at the REI store in Overland Park. This seminar, part of their Outdoor School calendar, will include access ramps, river characteristics, safety, and back country camping on sandbars. The Kansas River National Water Trail runs over 170 miles from Junction City to Kansas City, KS where it enters the Missouri River at Kaw Point. Laura has guided float trips for over ten years and has kayaked the entire river multiple times. She is very knowledgeable about aspects of this prairie-based river. This seminar will cover how to plan short day trips or multi-day trips on this outstanding natural resource in the state of Kansas’ back yard.



Meet Erik Wolf, FOK Program and Communications Director

Introducing Erik Wolf, Friends of the Kaw’s new Program and Communications Director
Erik Wolf, Program & Communications Director

Erik Wolf, Program & Communications Director

Erik Wolf was hired in March as the new Communication and Program Director for Friends of the Kaw. He grew up in Overland Park, KS and has his degree in Environmental Studies from the University of Kansas. Erik takes care of the social media and various programs run by Friends of the Kaw. He is an avid outdoorsman and loves recreating in and around all types of water, especially kayaking on the Kaw. He enjoys teaching people about anything they want to know about the outdoors and believes highly the “leave-no-trace” ethic when enjoying the outdoors so the next person who paddles, bikes, hikes or sight sees behind him will get their own feeling they are the first to explore. Erik lives on Strawberry Hill in KCK where he has a beautiful view of the Kansas River everyday of the year!

Celebrate Earth Month and benefit Friends of the Kaw via Green Wish Kansas!

April is Earth Month! To show their support for Lawrence green initiatives, these restaurants are contributing a portion of profits on specific days of April to Green Wish!

Merchants Pub & Plate – April 21st and 23rd
LiMESTONE –– April 22nd
Pachamamas Restaurant and Star Bar – April 24th
715 Restaurant– ongoing sponsor

What better way to show your support for local green projects than to eat local! Be sure to visit these restaurants on the dates above and tell them you’re there to support Green Wish!



Tell the EPA! Protect our Water!

Tell the EPA: Don’t Delay to Protect Clean Water!

Show your support for the EPA’s efforts to better manage polluted runoff, a major source of pollution to our rivers and streams across the country! Ask your representatives to tell the EPA not to delay in issuing a rule to update its stormwater programs to better protect clean water.

Show Your Support for Updating Stormwater Programs to Protect Clean Water

A recent report released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that approximately 55% of our rivers and streams are in poor biological condition. Polluted runoff is identified as one of the major sources of pollution to our rivers and streams.

What is the EPA Doing?

In 2009, the EPA announced its intention to update and modernize its existing programs to better manage urban runoff and protect clean water.  The Agency is considering requiring that developers use techniques to control runoff before it flows off-site. This simple step may drive the use of green infrastructure practices such as green roofs and rain gardens. Additionally, they are considering requiring existing sources of urban runoff and sources in critical watersheds to reduce their impact.

Unfortunately, the EPA continues to delay in issuing a new rule, so untreated pollution continues to run into our rivers.

What Can You Do to Help?

The EPA needs to act.  We need you to show your support for the EPA’s efforts to strengthen its stormwater programs and better protect our rivers and streams. Send a letter to your Member of Congress expressing concern over EPA’s delays and ask them to put pressure on the EPA to move forward on these critical updates to protect clean water and public health.

Sample Letter

Dear Representative:

As a supporter of Waterkeeper Alliance and clean water, I am writing to express my concern over the Environmental Protection Agency’s delay in proposing a national rule to update its stormwater programs to better protect clean water. This marks the sixth time that the Agency has passed a deadline to propose critical updates to our nation’s stormwater runoff programs.

Polluted runoff is one of the major sources of pollution to our rivers, streams, lakes, and bays. When rainwater hits hard surfaces such as roads and rooftops, it can’t soak into the ground. Instead, it flows along the surface and picks up pollutants like heavy metals and chemicals before eventually flowing into local waters. As our communities continue to grow, our ability to manage the resulting polluted runoff has not kept pace.

We can do better. Updating federal standards to capture and treat rainwater where it falls will keep pollution out of lakes, rivers, and streams and reduce localized flooding in a proven, cost-effective way. The EPA has the opportunity to protect clean water across the country from the Chesapeake Bay to the Puget Sound by updating its programs to capture and filter rainfall, minimize pollution from new or redevelopment, and address runoff from existing sources.

I’m very concerned about the problem of polluted runoff and its impact on clean water and the health and safety of my community. A fair and effective nationwide rule will help mitigate the economic, health, and environmental costs imposed on taxpayers and businesses by unregulated runoff. In fact, FEMA estimates that up to 25 percent of economic losses occur as a result of flooding exacerbated by urban runoff. 

Please urge the EPA to move forward on these critical updates to protect clean water.

Good News for the Kansas River

Pick up a Kansas River Trail Access Map at one of Friends of the Kaw’s booths on Sat. April 19!
  • Party for the Planet at the Topeka Zoo from 9am to 3pm at Gage Boulevard and 6th StreetFriends of the Kaw 3
  • Lawrence’s Earth Day Celebration from 11:30am to 4pm at South Park, 11th & Massachusetts Street
  • Topeka Green Fair from 1 to 4pm at the Shawnee County/Topeka Library, 1515 SW 10th Avenue
This is Good News for the Kansas River!

After review of a consultants report and completion of an Environmental Assessment, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was unable to conclude that there are no potentially significant impacts associated with dredging activities proposed by the dredging companies. They have determined an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be necessary before dredging operations may be reauthorized in the Kansas River. Current dredging permits have been extended through this process.

The last EIS was published in 1990 and this new EIS is an important step to POSSIBLY getting sand dredging off the Kaw, a long time goal of Friends of the Kaw. We have worked to move in-river dredging to appropriately sited pit mines in the Kansas River valley for more than 20 years.

More information on our dredging advocacy efforts!

Friends of the Kaw will continue to follow this issue and let our members know when public meetings are scheduled or written comments need to be submited.

What will the future of the Kaw look like?



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