Kanopolis Lake (Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River) WRAPS
Project Goals & Objectives
Russell, KS 67665
2011 Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River Watersheds (BCMSHRW) WRAPS Accomplishments
2 HUC 8s – 2,400 square miles draining into Kanopolis Reservoir
Stacie Minson, KSU Watershed Specialist
• Extensive Water Quality Monitoring Project – 31-40 sites sampled on a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) basis, 5x/30 days to meet state laws, sampled each quarter and after rainfall events. In 2011, 471 samples were taken and analyzed for N, P, Sediment, and E. coli. This project helps us determine subwatershed locations that need to be targeted for BMP installation. A total of 3,437 samples have been taken since the project started in December 2006. The Quality Assurance Plan for the project was updated and submitted to KDHE on May 24, 2011.
• Continued to promote the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) project with residents in the watersheds; now have close to 100 observers helping report precipitation in the watersheds on a daily basis. This information is used by the WRAPS project to determine if water samples need to be collected and to correlate pollutant loading with run-off events. Maps are created at the end of each month, quarterly, and annually. The maps are posted on our website. See attached map for 2011 Summary.
• Oak Creek HUC 12 Targeted Subwatershed Project — this project is the first of the target HUC 12s in the watersheds and lies in Ellsworth County and focuses on TN, TP, TSS, and E.coli bacteria reductions. BMPs installed in 2012 included: 2 winter feeding sites cleaned (4 acres); 31 acres range planting; 1 pit pond; 19,710 LF terrace rebuilds and 10,960 LF terrace rebuilds approved for installation in 2012; 2,300 LF new terraces, 1. 6 acres grassed waterways and 2 acres critical area seeding approved for installation in 2012. All Oak Creek WRAPS BMP funds have been spent or allocated.
• Landon Creek HUC 12 Targeted Subwatershed Project – this project is the second HUC 12 target area and lies in Barton and Russell Counties and focuses on sediment and nutrients. BMPs installed in 2012 included: 2.29 acres grassed waterways; and 4.0 acres of waterway seeding. The remaining WRAPS BMP funds are waiting to be allocated after the 2012 EQIP allocations are ranked. We have several projects that could utilize the remaining funds but would like to best utilize all BMP funds available.
• Thielen Airport HUC 12 Targeted Subwatershed Project – this project is the third HUC 12 target area and lies in Russell County and focuses on sediment and nutrients. Work began in this target area with the producer meeting being held in August. No money was allocated in 2012 but several pieces of property were being checked by NRCS to see if they would qualify for the funds. Several follow-up phone calls were made as well but we are waiting to see how the 2012 EQIP allocations rank out.
• BCMSHRW 9 Element WRAPS Plan –considerable time was spent during 2011 editing and revising the 9 Element Plan. The plan was submitted in September 2011 for final review and was approved in November 2011 by KDHE.
• Kept www.MyKansasWatershed.com up to date with promotion of current events, activities, publications, and monitoring data. We feel the website is a valuable tool that helps us keep people informed of the WRAPS project’s activities. Visits to the website varied depending upon the time of the year and the events being promoted. The top pages and visits by quarter within the website in 2011 were:
o Watershed Projects: 370, 564, 815, 341
o Roll Out the Rain Barrel: 318, 376, 223, 116
o Sternberg Nature Trail: 168,
o Monitoring Project: 274, 215, 215, and 139.
o Recycling Barrels: 205
o Rain Gauges – CoCoRaHS: 116
• Roll Out the Rain Barrel Project – two events were held in 2011 and 586 barrels and and/or kits were built and distributed in 2011. In total 3,481 barrels and kits have been built and/or distributed since the project started in March 2009. Survey results for the 2011 events were collected via www.SurveyMonkey.com and are as follows: 40% had the rain barrels installed within 1 week of the event and an additional 43 % had them installed within one month; 30% of the participants have 1 barrel and 38% have 2 barrels, while 32% have 3 or more barrels; 83% had collected storm water in the barrels and 82% used the water in landscaping watering; 71% of participants learned about water quality and water conservation from the KSU & FHSU staff and students; 80% have reviewed the KSU publications; and here are a few comments from the participants: “Yes, how much water we can save. ¼” rain will fill a barrel. We have had to spend almost nothing on water for yard purposes”; “It’s less trouble than I thought to get involved”; “We found we were watching the rain more closely and were surprised to find even a small amount of rain off the roof can be quite a bit.”; “Everything was so helpful! I appreciated the paperwork with the barrel to explain the specific installation ideas.” and “Great program! Rain has filled all of the barrels at least six times since I installed them and has significantly reduced the amount of water I have used from our house supply. Thanks!”
The FHSU Students that participated in the Recycling and Roll Out the Rain Barrel Projects are required to fill out a survey regarding the Service Learning projects. Here are some of the responses from that survey: 94% of the students strongly agree or agree that the community participation helped them see how it can be applied in everyday life; 88% of the students strongly agree or agree that service learning should be implemented into more classes at FHSU; 94% of the students strongly agree or agree that the service learning project was directly linked to building skills (teamwork, communicating with the public and peers, etc.); 60% of the students strongly agree or agree that they would like to enroll in additional service learning opportunities; 77% of the students agreed that the work in the projects helped them enhance their ability to communicate ideas in a real world context; 88% of the students strongly agree or agree that the community knowledge of recycling water conservation improved as a result of the project; and 94% of the students believe the project had positive impacts on demonstrating to the public ways to improve water quality by recycling and reducing stormwater runoff. This set of survey results shows the impact of service learning in higher education settings in making a connection to the local communities and local water supplies protection efforts.
• Recycling Barrel Project: A new project was developed this year due to the donation of 200+, 30 gallon plastic barrels. This “Free Recycling Barrel” project held in April 2011 educated watershed residents and homeowners by:
• Working with the Rain Barrel Participants and engaging a new audience as well – “my neighbor is doing this, I’d better do this too” attitude –this happened time and time again as people requested Recycling barrels and received them using word of mouth.
• Increase awareness on the importance of recycling – evidence shown in the survey results below.
• Increase the amount of products collected in communities for recycling
o 90% of respondents recycled prior to the availability of the barrels and as a result of this project and additional 10% are recycling.
• Make recycling easier for the homeowner to adopt – yes based on the demand for the project.
• Recycling, in general, reduces water usage as less “new” products are being created, reduces the need for landfill space, and encourages “doing my part” – as per survey results below.
o 86% of respondents said as result of this project they are more aware of their environmental footprint on the environment.
o 98% of respondents saw the relationship between recycling and reducing waste as it relates to water quality and water quality protection.
o “Our household is recycling as much as possible and we wouldn’t be doing this as much if we didn’t have these barrels. Thanks for providing this service!”
• Hosted a 2nd Recycling Barrel workshop on October 5, 2011 where over 150 barrels were distributed. At the end of 2011, 692 barrels have been built and distributed. Survey results were collected via www.SurveyMonkey.com and are as follows: 85% of participants had their recycling barrels in use within 2 weeks of the event; 53% of the participants are using 1-2 barrels; 63%, recycle plastic, 48% recycle glass; 57% recycle paper; 44% recycle cardboard; 42% recycle magazines; 41% recycle metal cans; 66% recycle aluminum cans; and 27% recycle other (mostly yard waste); 11% of the participants had not recycled prior to the availability of these barrels; 83% believe as a result of this project that by recycling they are reducing their footprint on the environment; 46% of participants estimate they are recycling 0-25% more as a result of the project and 27% estimate they are recycling 25-50% more; 96% of the participants see the relationship between recycling and reducing waste as it relates to water quality and water quality protection; and comments from participants: “Just do it! Seems like more work but give it a try – I bet it’s not near as much work as you might think…and the reward is worth it!”; “Great Project”; and “These barrels make recycling so doable…it takes all the organization part of planning out of the equation for us and makes the process so easy to follow through with.”
• With the help of the WRAPS project, the City of Hays applied for and was awarded a $120,000 ARRA Grant for the Skyline Drainage Project in late 2009. The Skyline Drainage project is a hybrid extended dry detention basin and infiltration basin. The target area was an existing 4.75 acre open space with a highly defined storm water channel running through it. The drainage area contributing to this channel is mainly developed areas, and much of the runoff entering this area comes from parking lots and streets. The project is two-fold, benefiting both the community and watershed. First, it helps reduce the risk of flash flooding in the downstream Lincoln Draw area and second, it improves storm water quality. Several meetings at the site took place during the year and finally on October 18, a meeting was held at the Skyline Draw site to verify the completion and check-out of the project. It was determined that four zones (emergent, wet prairie, swale, and west mesic prairie) in the Skyline Draw need to be re-seeded in the spring of 2012 for proper water quantity and quality control to occur. First, the Bermuda grass needs to be killed in the problem areas and seedbed area preparation needs to occur for best results. Second, prairie mowing in the upland areas can continue to with limited mowing in the newly re-seeding areas depending upon weed height. The contractors and the City of Hays will continue to work in tandem on this project throughout 2012
• Wrote and provided numerous news articles, fact sheets, and displays/booths at local events and in local newspapers and newsletters for publication.
• WRAPS Project & FHSU Awarded a Trails to a Greener Future EPA Environmental Education Project at Sternberg Museum; Official on-the-ground work began mid-January when mechanical removal of woody vegetation commenced in the upland areas. There were two large volunteer days of woody vegetation removal via “Take Back the Prairie Days” on Kansas Day, January 29, and again February 26. There were numerous smaller tree removal dates between large volunteer days. On January 29th, the local TV station segment Eagle Street Beat ran a “Take Back the Prairie Day” on its newscast. The video can be found at http://static.ak.fbcdn.net/rsrc.php/v1/yW/r/reIZTdNTHIS.swf?v=5752246837….
On March 21, the prescribed demonstration burn was completed by numerous wildland fire professionals. In all nearly 30 volunteers were on hand to conduct the burn and maintain safe fire conditions. It was estimated that nearly 20 local residents/producers were on hand to watch the burn from the adjacent parking lot. There was an informational meeting in the lobby of the Museum before the burn to discuss the plan and operation of the burn. Three TV news segments were taped and aired by Eagle Street Beat from the one day burn. Only one was posted online http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=579782993843 for Internet viewing.
April brought the chipping of nearly 65,000 pounds of woody debris that was mechanically removed the previous quarter. In working with the community to showcase the use of resources on site, all woody debris that was cut down was chipped into wood mulch for the nearly 1,100 native trees and shrubs that were planted 4 days later. The project was two-fold in that we were able to successfully reuse resources on site but also educate the public about the importance of wood mulch for young trees and shrubs in an area where hot temperatures and dry periods are prevalent. Starting April 8th, a community weekend of planting was held with nearly 1,100 trees and shrubs planted. Over the course of 3 days, 76 volunteers from numerous civic, school, and private groups donated time, labor, materials, and expertise in tree and shrub planting. A feature story ran two weeks later in the Sunday addition of the Hays Daily News as a 2 page spread with photos and narrative of this project and the overall Trails project. The story was headlined as ‘Tree’mendous Attitudes. There was also a short segment that ran on the local Eagle Street Beat TV newscast.
In mid-April, the entire upland area that was burned earlier this year was broadcast sprayed with glyphosate at the recommended concentration to kill/knock back Smooth Brome. The original indication was nearly an 80% kill; however as time passed and some rains came, the Smooth Brome came back. Time, labor, and supplies were all donated for this project by KSU. Shortly after the application of glyphosate, native grasses and forbs were inter-seeded by personnel from the KSU Agricultural Research Center in Hays free of charge. Because we were in a very droughty period (rainfall less than 50% normal), the seeds were drilled during a more favorable period in early May than in April as originally planned. Through the end of June, soil moisture was still lacking and seed germination was not good.
Towards the end of May, the Kansas Trails Council (KTC) began marking and cutting the trail for what would eventually be 1.75 miles of dirt path walking trails looping in and out of the upland and riparian areas. Utilizing their equipment and expertise, the trail was completed in a series of working days that took five weeks to complete (flagging, herbicide, mechanical removal, mowing, and clean-up).
On August 2, 2011, the teacher training day, as written into the grant, was held out at the Museum with a morning session on the trails and an afternoon session in the Museum due to the extremely hot temperatures. For the day, 20 local and regional teachers (mostly regional) attended the professional development workshop. Teachers were presented with the Educator’s Guide -Exploring Kansas’s Nature Resources book for use that day and also to take into their classrooms and use as reference material.
The grand opening/community kickoff on August 13th was a huge success as we partnered it with a Museum event to benefit both celebrations bringing in over 425 citizens that day. We had scheduled talks and informational programs on fish and aquatic life, streambanks, importance of trails in natural areas, bird watching, soils, recycling, waste and water management, insects, fossils, and plants.
The grand opening/community kickoff led into the educational field days in mid-September. In total, 226 students (180 originally planned) were treated to an outdoor education focusing for half a day on aquatic systems, forests, water management, wildlife management, prairies, and wetlands. The field days were divided into 3 sections with an elementary (Environmental Explorer -September 12th), a middle school (Environmental Scientist- September 17th), and a high school (Environmental Researcher- September 26th) field day. The days lasted from 8:45am to 11:45am each Monday morning and had schools both locally and regionally (furthest 34 miles away). All programs were based on State Science Standards for the respective age groups (4th, 7th, and high school). As part of the educational program, students were given a pre-test to gauge prior knowledge about the environment and mans’ impact on the environment. This pre-test was given the day before the event. After the event, the students were given the same test to see knowledge gained as a post-test. Teachers also participated in an evaluation to see how they will be using the project area and what they would like to see included from the Museum as part of the trails system.
• Youth & Community Projects/Presentations: Community H20 Festival at the Mall on March 12, 2011 (200); Edible Aquifer to St. Marys’ 5th grade on March 2, 2011 (10); Hosted the EARTH Water Festival at Sternberg Museum on April 11, 2001, 160 youth and 18 teachers/volunteers attended and 17 speakers presented the following topics: Enviroscape; Aquatic Critters; Incredible Journey; Streambank Trailer; Water Jeopardy; Dinosaur Eggs & Babies; Soils; Kansas Native Plants; Edible Aquifer; Air Quiz Bowl; WOW Trailer; and Ag Trailer. Pre-test scores were 55% and post-test scores were 78% or a 29% knowledge increase; Participated in the McDonald’s/Sternberg Museums’ EARTH Day Celebration for 3rd Graders on April 20, 2011 presenting “Water as it Travels” (259 youth, 21 adults/teachers); Presented the Edible Aquifer to Wilson Elementary 1st Grade Students on April 29, 2011 (26); Minson presented on August 2, 2011 at the Sternberg Nature Trail Teacher Training on the trail site on water and water quality issues. In the afternoon, Minson shared the WOW Trailer, the Incredible Journey, and What’s in Your Water?; On September 12th and September 19th, Minson presented the Incredible Journey to 4th Graders and 7th Graders respectively at the Environmental Education Field Days at Sternberg Museum; Shared “Traveling Downstream” on September 8, 2011 at the Ellis County Kids Ag Day to 253 4th graders and 20 teachers/parents; Hosted the Annual Wonders of Wetlands, Water, & Wildlife Field Day at Loder Point at Kanopolis Lake on September 16, 2011 with 67 youth and 32 teachers, speakers, and volunteers attending. Sessions covered: soils; water quality; the lifecycle of a water drop; GIS and Geocaching with water sampling collection and analysis; wetlands; wildlife; and the streambank trailer. Pre-test scores were 35% and post-test scores were 80%; and Hosted the Fall 2011 EARTH Water Festival on December 5, 2011 at Sternberg Museum for Trego Junior High and Ellis Middle School. Eleven speakers presented the following stations: Edible Aquifer, Incredible Journey, Enviroscape, What’s in Your Water, Groundwater Model, Water Jeopardy, Wetlands, Soils, and Sternberg Exhibits to 69 students and 8 teachers/volunteers. Students were given pre-test and post-tests to gauge knowledge gained: Ellis Middle School – pre-test 58% and post-test 63%; and Trego Junior High – pre-test 39% and post-test 47%. Both schools achieved improved scores indicating the speakers were reaching the students with educational information.
• The WRAPS Group received funding to send six producers to the 2011 No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference in Salina in January 2011. Participants were sent a survey to share their operation and experiences and are listed below.
o Please share how many acres you farm and type of farming operation.
NT Wheat NT Milo NT Corn Fallow MT Wheat NT Forage Sorghum Conv Irr. Corn Conv/NT Wheat
TOTALS 6650 2200 1150 1100 400 300 400 200
What were some of the things you learned at the No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference?
• That it would be very beneficial to apply cover crops in my operation. Was set to order seed but the extremely dry weather has me puzzled again. Will I have enough moisture for the next crop if I plant a cover crop?
• Learned about cover crops and how to incorporate them into a rotation. Due to the lack of residue from the wheat this year, cover crops may be a good idea. Evaporation rates as a result of residue/lack of residue were interesting to see.
• Growing use of cover crops.
• The importance of soil sampling. The use of cover crops and crop rotation.
• Probably the #1 thing I learned at the conference is how much I DON’T KNOW about No-Till! There were more sessions I wish I could have attended. There is a lot of interest in cover crops to promote fertility and soil health.
• Livestock residue is more accepted practice now. Some potential with cover crops providing we get moisture. Using a stripper head may be a viable option.
As a result of the attending the No-Till on the Plains Winter Conference, have you incorporated any of the ideas you learned at the conference into your operation
• I’m still planning to try cover crops, possibly this year.
• Plan to fallow my wheat with a cover crop this year.
• I plan on adding yield monitors on combine to help with fertilizer rates while planting.
• Plan on trying the use of cover crops.
• I’m going to apply various practices that I think will work in my continuous No-Till operation.
• I am going to use trace minerals on my wheat. I am also trying to build organic matter in my soil. My fallow is already limited but I may change to a cover crop on those areas.
Anything else you’d like to share?
• I really enjoyed going to the No Till on The Plains conference. It’s packed with information and I always learn something new. Would like to go to some of the National conferences sometime. Thank you for sending me to the conference.
• Thanks for the opportunity.
• Would like to see producers that farm closer to my area no-till.
• Thanks so much for providing me the opportunity to attend the No-Till conference.
• FHSU Grad Student & Monitoring Project: The WRAPS team is partnering with the FHSU Biological Sciences Department to provide a Graduate Student with an opportunity to explore “Clean” vs. “Dirty” surface water sites for the comparison of vegetation along and/in the water. The “Clean” sites will be in Ellis and Russell Counties along the Smoky Hill River and the “Dirty” sites will be in Ellis and Russell Counties along Big Creek. Drove portions of Ellis and Russell Counties in the watersheds with FHSU Grad, Student Karina Martinez and FHSU Professor Brian Maricle to select thesis project sites along Big Creek and the Smoky Hill River on August 5, 2011
• USDA NIFIA Water Quality Grant Submission: The FHSU Geosciences Department and submitted a grant titled “Identifying and Evaluating What Factors Influence the Pattern of Pollution – Land Effects or Human Effects When Determining and Targeting Best Management Practices in Vulnerable Areas in HUC 12 Watersheds For Achieving Improved Water Quality Utilizing Spatial Modeling, Remote Sensing, Social Knowledge, Water Monitoring, Precipitation, and Watershed Driving Tour Conditions Survey” on July 14, 2011 in cooperation with BCMSHRW WRAPS team. This grant will help us continue reaching TMDL reduction goals in the targeted HUC 12s. Received word in mid-October that we had not received the grant but panel feedback was positive with suggestions to make it a stronger application in the future and the grant team has agreed that we will re-submit given the opportunity.
• Conferences Attended/Presenter: EARTH training in Abilene in June 2011; Presented “Targeting HUC 12s with Windshields and Water Samples” PP at the State WRAPS Conference in Junction City, KS on April 26, 2011 (30); Attended the Heartland Conference “Build a Tabletop Watershed Model” Workshop in Lawrence on May 17-18, 2011. Two tabletop watershed models were built for use in the WRAPS program; FHSU Biology Department Career Fair Booth on April 28, 2011 (100); Smoky Hill/Saline BAC meetings; NRCS Management Unit Meeting for Ellsworth, Lincoln, & Saline Counties to discuss the BCMSHRW roles; A BCMSHRW Rain Barrel was on display at the K-State Research & Extension Booth at the Kansas State Fair from September 9-18, 2011. 653 people registered to win the barrel and picked up the educational brochures; Dustin Fross, Former KSU Watersheds GIS Technician, presented to 30 people at the Water & Future of Kansas Conference in Topeka, on September 30, 2011. Minson designed the Power Point “Roll Out the Rain Barrels: Teaching Water Conservation, Water Quality, & Service Learning in the Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River Watersheds.”; presented a Power Point focusing on the WRAPS project and Targeting of BMPs for reduction loads at the October 5, 2011 Smoky Hill/Saline River BAC Meeting in Hays (15); and Minson presented at the Hays Optimist Club meeting (21) on October 13, 2011 and shared a verbal discussion on pollutants within the City of Hays and showed water samples from our monitoring project that had been collected that morning. Minson will be contacted again to speak early 2012 to share more about the watershed and activities.
• Meetings Attended: Ellis County Wellhead Protection Meetings; Ellis County EQIP Work Group Meeting sharing info on HUC 12 targets in Ellis County; KSU/KDHE Quarterly Meetings; Watershed Specialist Meetings; NRCS MLRA73 Annual Meeting; Ellis, Russell, & Trego County Conservation District Annual Meetings; Hosted the BCMSHRW WRAPS Leadership Team Meeting in February; Meeting with KAW Nation, OK to discuss the monitoring project and how it could be applicable on the reservation; KWO Kansas in Transition Forecasting Our Future Water Needs; Water Quality Booth at Russell Home Show; City of Hays Stormwater Utility Meeting
• Submitted quarterly reports on all the projects the BCMSHRW WRAPS is involved in to KDHE. Completed final reports for 2007-0029 (approved 11-18-11); 2006—0066 BMP and financial amendments to final report and 2009-0010 final report submitted. All KACEE grants for the BCMSHRW for the Wonders of Wetlands, Water & Wildlife Field Days, and Recycling Barrel Project were submitted and approved.
• The BCMSHRW WRAPS team partnered on April 29, 2011, with 25 FHSU students in a Habitat for Humanity Landscaping Project in Hays. Students planted low maintenance plants in the home landscape at a newly established residence. Students learned the importance of design, placement, water needs, and the proper planting of plant species.
• Minson was asked to serve as a committee member for the Take Charge! Challenge Project in WaKeeney. The Take Charge! Challenge is a statewide energy savings challenge. WaKeeney has received $25,000 to spend on energy efficient activities from January 1, 2011 to September 30, 2011. Minson attended the January 18th meeting in Topeka with the Governor for the Statewide Kick-Off, designed a booth, and several educational brochures, and then participated in 19 events throughout the year in WaKeeney to promote the energy conservation program including hands-on educational events for adults and youth. Minson attended the Celebration in Topeka on October 25th. WaKeeney came in second in the contest but the project’s results helped our communities save energy and change daily living habits which will continue the energy savings. Final results for the Northwest Region of Colby, Goodland, Hoxie, Oakley & WaKeeney:
o 84 Efficiency Kansas residential energy audits in and 33 completed EK and How$mart projects www.efficiencykansas.com have been approved; Together all five communities have switched 59,635 incandescent bulbs with more efficient compact fluorescents (CFLs) registered at www.takechargekansas.org; 104,248 residents reached by leadership team members through 132 events and presentations; The changes residents have made in their homes are projected to save them more than $492,091 in natural gas costs and in electricity savings; 403,188 gallons of gasoline saved; 92,216 trees planted; and 705 cars off the road
City of Hays
City of Ellis
City of WaKeeney
City of Russell
Post Rock Rural Water District
USACE — Kanopolis
KDWP — Kanopolis
County Conservation Districts — Trego, Ellis, Russell & Ellsworth County
NRCS — Trego, Ellis, Russell & Ellsworth County
KSRE — Trego, Ellis, Russell & Ellsworth County