About FOK

Friends of the Kaw (FOK) serves the Kansas River, known locally as the Kaw. The Kansas River is the largest prairie-based river system in the world. The river originates at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican Rivers and runs 173 miles to meet the Missouri River at Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kansas. The Kansas River is also a drinking water source for over 800,000 Kansans.  The Kansas River is often referred to as a working river, with such uses as agricultural, irrigation, industrial water supply, municipal water supply, electricity generation, sand mining and many more public and private uses.  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 almost thirty years, our water-focused friends group has been the only grassroots conservation group dedicated to protecting the Kansas River. Our members come from rural, urban, and suburban areas and represent canoers, kayakers, fisherfolk, hunters, birdwatchers, and locals who love the river.

Our Mission:

  • To protect and preserve the Kansas River for future generations.
  • To advocate for the rehabilitation of the Kansas River’s environs, including its water quality and wildlife habitat.
  • To discover and promote compatible public recreational uses of the Kansas River and encourage the development of public access.
  • To educate the public about the importance, benefits, and beauty of the Kansas River.
  • To cooperate with other people, organizations, and public agencies in support of a healthy Kansas River ecosystem.

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 Kansas River. 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 Kansas River’s recreational value.   Since then we have seen the number of permits reduced, with only seven 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 public advocate to represent FOK and the Kansas River on every major river stakeholder group.