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DRAFT

Middle Kansas
DRAFT
Watershed Restoration
and Protection Strategy

Development Report
June, 2007

1481
Table of Contents

Mission Statement……………………………………………………….4
Introduction……………………………………………………………....4
Middle Kansas WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Team………….. 5
Description of the Kansas-Lower Republican Basin……………….7
City of Topeka Source Water Protection and Project Scope………8
Description of the Middle Kansas Watershed………………..........11
Kansas River…………………………………………………………….17
Middle Kansas Watershed Conditions………………………………18
Upper Kansas Watershed Conditions……………………………….25
Impaired Waters in the Middle Kansas Watershed………………31
TMDLs in the Middle Kansas Watershed……………………….....32
Watershed Issues in the Middle Kansas Watershed…………….. 34
Watershed Goals and Objectives in the Middle Kansas
Watershed………………………………………………………………..35
Bibliography……………………………………………………………..44
Appendices……………………………………………………………….45

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Acknowledgements

The Middle Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy was


made possible through sponsorship of the Kansas Alliance of Wetlands and
Streams, McPherson, KS, Tim Christian, Director. The Kansas Department
of Health and Environment provided financial assistance to this project
through an EPA Section 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Control grant and
through Kansas Water Plan Funds.

Thanks to the landowners, agency, and local government representatives and


other interested individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to
attend meetings, provide information, and give input to the development of
this plan

Front cover photo courtesy of Laura Calwell, Friends of the KAW.

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Mission Statement

“The mission of Middle Kansas Watershed


Restoration and Protection Strategy is to promote
watershed management through educational,
technical, and financial assistance to stakeholders
in the watershed.”

Introduction

Watershed restoration and protection efforts are needed to address a variety


of water resource concerns statewide in Kansas. These concerns include
issues such as water quality, public water supply protection, flooding,
wetland and riparian habitat protection, and others. The State of Kansas
committed to implementing a collaborative strategy to address watershed
restoration and protection issues when the Governor’s Natural Resources
Sub-cabinet adopted the Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection
Strategy (KS-WRAPS) in May, 2004.

The KS-WRAPS effort established a new way of approaching watershed


issues for Kansas. The effort placed emphasis on engaging watershed
stakeholders in implementing a stakeholder developed action plan that
achieves watershed goals established by the stakeholders themselves. This
allowed for an individualized approach to watershed issues across the state,
with input, guidance, and action to achieve watershed improvements coming
from the people who live in and work in the watershed. Funding for the
development of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS)
plans for individual watersheds was made available to sponsoring groups,
using Kansas Water Plan funds and EPA Section 319 Nonpoint Source
Pollution Control Grant funds through the Kansas Department of Health &
Environment (KDHE).

The Middle Kansas WRAPS project began when the Kansas Alliance for
Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) was awarded a grant from the KDHE in
2006. A Coordinator for the Upper & Middle Kansas WRAPS project was
hired in August of 2006 to guide the development of the WRAPS planning
effort in the basin, and to work with stakeholders. Individuals with an
interest in water resources in the Middle Kansas watersheds met and began
the process of identifying water-related issues in the basin in September,
2006. Nine public meetings were held in various locations throughout the

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watershed in 2006 and 2007 to gather input from local stakeholders. A
variety of other public informational activities were also undertaken to make
the public aware of the WRAPS planning effort, and to gather input.

A diverse group of stakeholders became involved in the Middle Kansas


WRAPS planning process. Farmers, landowners, representatives of natural
resource agencies and organizations, tribal, city and county government
representatives, public water suppliers and others participated. The group
identified watershed priorities and issues, gathered information, planned
how resource concerns would be addressed, and prioritized issues and actions
that should be taken. In addition to the educational benefits achieved thus
far, the main outcome from this whole process is the development of the
Middle Kansas Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy Development
Report. It is the result of nine months of public debate, input and sharing of
ideas, and documents watershed information and the decisions of
stakeholders involved in its development.

Middle Kansas WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Team

The Middle Kansas WRAPS Stakeholder Leadership Team (LT) evolved from
a core group of meeting attendees. Watershed stakeholders focused on
partnership invitation and consensus building for several months rather than
initiating a formal structure. During the course of several meetings, the
stakeholders discussed methods for devising a leadership team that would
encompass the broad constituent base of the watershed, given the rural and
urban components. The function of the team, how it is governed, what its
make-up should be and why it was needed were discussed. The LT will serve
as a board to make decisions and provide guidance to the WRAPS
Coordinator. They will also determine priorities and provide direction to the
project. The LT will be comprised of eleven members, including the following
representatives:

Agriculture
One member for livestock agriculture
One member for cropland agriculture
One member for irrigated cropland

Fish/Wildlife/Forestry
One member

Public Water Supplies


One member

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Local Government (county, city, etc)
One member

Conservation District
One member

Outreach and Education


One member

Tribal
One member

Watershed District
One member

Environmental At Large – (local health, etc.)

LT members will live and/or work in the watershed and will meet annually or
semi-annually. The group agreed the LT should not have state or federal
employees serving on the board representing their agency. However, an
“Advisory Group” of people representing those natural resource agencies
would be very helpful to the Management Team and the WRAPS project.

The group also decided to form focus groups that would facilitate flexibility.
The focus groups will operate autonomously in the sense of meeting location,
frequency, activities, etc. Rather than limiting the natural breakouts to
urban and rural, the need for local, geographically-based watershed priority
areas was recognized. This format will accommodate the growth of new focus
groups. To facilitate communication and coordination between the various
focus groups, the watershed stakeholders suggested when possible, LT
members will lead a focus group. the formation of a Middle Kansas WRAPS
Watershed Council. This group will be comprised of a representative from
each of the various focus groups. This group will meet annually or semi-
annually.

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Description of the Kansas - Lower Republican Basin

The Kansas-Lower Republican Basin, which includes the Middle Kansas


watershed, covers nearly 10,500 square miles of northeastern Kansas. The
basin includes all or part of 24 counties. The basin has the largest population
of all the twelve major river basins, with an estimated 1,025,644 residents in
the year 2000. The population is projected to grow to nearly 1,531,000 in the
year 2040. Major streams are the Kansas, Republican, Big Blue, Little Blue,
Delaware and Wakarusa rivers, and the Vermillion and Stranger creeks. The
major reservoirs in the basin are Lovewell, Milford, Tuttle Creek, Perry and
Clinton.

Most of the bottom land and about 50 percent of the uplands are cultivated to
crops of corn, soybeans, grain sorghum, wheat and oats. Alfalfa, wild hay,
corn and sorghum silage are the major forage crops. The most important
mineral resources in the basin are oil, natural gas, coal, building stone and
ceramic materials.

Sources of water used in the basin is 58 percent surface and 42 percent


ground water. Irrigation is the largest water use in the basin (54%) followed
by municipal at 30 percent. Industrial uses account for 3 percent of water
used.

Wide extremes in temperature and precipitation are characteristic. The


length of the growing season typically extends from mid April to mid October.

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Average annual precipitation over the basin increases from about 28 inches
in the west to about 38 inches in the east. Typically, about 70 percent of this
total falls during the growing season. Flood events, such as in July 1993 and
the drought experienced from 1952-1956, underscore the variability in
precipitation. (Kansas Water Office)

City of Topeka Source Water Protection and Project Scope

The Safe Drinking Water Act, 1996 Amendments - Sec 1453 directs state
drinking water agencies complete a source water assessment for all public
water supplies that produce drinking water from a raw sources, including
rivers, reservoirs and lakes, and wells. Source water assessments are
designed to delineate the source water assessment area, inventory potential
contaminant sources, conduct a susceptibility analysis, and inform the
public.

The Kansas Source Water Assessment delineates Zones A, B, and C for


groundwater and surface water.

Groundwater
Zone A
● 100 feet radius of well
- Kansas Public Water Supply Design Standards recommends
public water supply own or control through easement

Zone B
● 2,000 feet radius of well
- Area eligible for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program

Zone C
● 2 mile radius of well or 10 year time of travel capture zone

Surface Water –River intake


Zone A
● 1,000 feet upstream radius of intake, 16 miles upstream of intake, ½
mile riparian buffer and six hour water travel distance.

Zone B
●16 to 65 miles upstream of intake, ½ mile riparian buffer, and 24 hour
water travel distance

Zone C
● Balance of watershed

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In order to provide source water protection for the City of Topeka, Zones A
and B need to be included in the project scope of the Middle Kansas WRAPS.
The following map Figure 1 provides a graphic illustration of surface water
source protection of Zones A and B for Topeka. (Don Snethen – KDHE –
Watershed Management Section, Source Water Protection Needs for the Mid
Kansas River WRAPS).

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Figure 1: Surface Source Water Protection Zones A & B for Topeka

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Description of the Middle Kansas Watershed

Land Area
The Middle Kansas (HUC 10270102) and the Upper Kansas (HUC 10270101)
watersheds comprise an area of land approximately 2,825 square miles
(1,818,303 acres) in size that drains a portion of northeast Kansas. The
watershed includes parts of ten counties, as shown in Table 1, including
Douglas, Geary, Jackson, Jefferson, Morris, Nemaha, Pottawatomie, Riley,
Shawnee and Wabaunsee Counties. Figures 2 and 3 illustrate the Middle and
Upper Kansas Watersheds. Reference to the term “Middle Kansas
Watershed,” for purposes of this document, includes the Middle
Kansas (HUC 10270102) and the Upper Kansas (HUC 10270101)
watersheds. The only exception is watershed conditions for both
watersheds are provided. Figures 2 and 3 below illustrate the actual
hydrologic units.

Land Cover
Land Cover Acres %
Water 20,983 1.15
Urban/Developed 140,467 7.73
Barren/Transitional 3,291 0.18
Forest/Woodland 172,765 9.50
Shrubland 751 0.04
Grassland/Herbaceous 845,368 46.49
Pasture/Hay 324,361 17.84
Cropland 292,366 16.08
Wetlands 17,951 0.99
Total 1,818,303 100.00
Table 1: Land cover of the Middle Kansas Watershed

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Figure 2: Middle Kansas Watershed Boundary – HUC 10270102

Figure 3: Upper Kansas Watershed Boundary – HUC 10270101

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Figure 4: Land Use of Middle Kansas Watershed

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Agricultural Crops
The most common crops planted in the Middle Kansas watershed include
soybeans, corn, wheat, and grain sorghum. In 2005, 403,200 acres of
soybeans were reported planted in the ten counties in which the watershed is
located. Corn was reported on 296,500 acres, wheat on 141,500 acres and
grain sorghum on 45,266 acres [NASS, Kansas Farm Facts]. In 2005, hayland
use included over 406,200 acres in the ten counties. In 2005, there were
447,000 cattle reported in the ten counties in the watershed [NASS, Kansas
Farm Facts].

Table 2: Acres of Crops, Hayland, and Livestock in Middle Kansas


Watershed

County Soybeans Corn Wheat Grain Sorghum Hayland Cattle Hogs


(All) (all categories) * = 1998
** = 1999
*** = 2000
Douglas 40, 300 25,000 5,300 600 39,100 33,500 4,300***
Geary 13,900 6,700 13,900 5,500 19,200 20,100 24,000*
Jackson 38,400 24,700 9,000 3,500 52,200 53,700 2,400***
Jefferson 46, 600 33,900 5,200 3,800 42,800 43,300 3,400 ***
Morris 38,300 12,500 32,300 13,600 40,400 55,300 1,900**
Nemaha 90,800 78,500 29,500 6,500 37,800 62,000 99,500** *
Pottawatomie 39,500 31,100 8,300 5,100 56,200 73,900 30,500***
Riley 26,900 10,900 25,500 10,600 20,700 33,200 10,700*
Shawnee 38,100 31,700 5,200 2,500 46,600 24,300 1,800*
Wabaunsee 30,400 16,500 7,300 3,100 51,200 48,000 7,500***
Total 403,200 296,500 141,500 45,266 406,200 447,000 186,000
Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service, Kansas Farm Facts, 2005

Agricultural Chemical Use

Agricultural chemical use is widespread in the ten counties in which the Middle Kansas
watershed is located. According to the 2002 Census of Agriculture, 59% of the total land
area in these counties received commercial fertilizer, lime and soil conditioner
applications in 2002. A small percentage of the cropland in the ten counties, 2%, received
manure applications. Insecticides were used on 6%, and herbicides were used on 41% of
the total land area of the five counties.

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Table 3: Fertilizer, Manure and Pesticide Application in the Middle
Kansas Watershed

County Total Commercial Fertilizer Manure Application Insecticide Application Herbicide Application
Use (acres) (acres) (acres) (acres)

Douglas 78,904 2,252 2,574 80,054


Geary 50,236 1,327 4313 34,018
Jackson 107,833 8,041 11,441 59,477
Jefferson 127,864 8,019 4,696 89,526
Morris 103,356 3,226 5,742 84,245
Nemaha 205,438 9,164 18,727 148,814
Pottawatomie 95,368 2,972 39,740 114,176
Riley 78,278 3,164 5,677 59,005
Shawnee 82,004 3,088 9,939 88,407
Wabaunsee 154,345 2,335 2,736 72,911
Total 1,083,626 43,588 105,585 830,633

Source: Kansas Department of Agriculture website, www.ksda.gov


2002 Census of Agriculture - County Data

Demographics

The total population of the ten counties in the Middle Kansas watershed has
grown approximately 1% from 1990 to 2000. Jackson County (6.9%), followed
by Jefferson (3.7%) and Douglas (3.0%) Counties have experienced the most
population growth. Geary County experienced a 12 % decline in the same
period. Shawnee County has the greatest density (309 persons/sq. mile) while
Wabaunsee County has the least (8.6 persons/sq. mile).

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Table 4: Population Statistics for Counties in Middle Kansas
Watershed

County Population Population Population 2005 Growth 1990- Population density


1990 2000 (estimated) 2005 (persons/square mile)

Douglas 81,798 99,962 102,914 +3.0% 219


Geary 30,453 27,947 24,585 - 12.0% 73
Jackson 11,525 12,657 13,535 + 6.9% 19
Jefferson 15,905 18,426 19,106 + 3.7% 34
Morris 6,198 6,104 6,049 -0.9% 15
Nemaha 10,446 10,717 10,443 -2.6% 15
Pottawatomie 16,128 18,209 19,129 +5.1% 22
Riley 67,139 62,843 62,826 0.0% 103
Shawnee 160,976 169,871 172,365 +1.5% 309
Wabaunsee 6,603 6,885 6,919 +0.5% 8.6
TOTAL 407,171 433,621 437,871

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Population Estimates


U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 and 1990 Census Figures

Table 5: Land in farms, number of farms and average size of farms in


the Middle Kansas watershed

COUNTY LAND IN NUMBER AVERAGE SIZE


FARMS OF FARMS OF FARMS
(ACRES) (ACRES)
Douglas 202,000 880 230
Geary 180,000 250 733
Jackson 340,000 1,100 307
Jefferson 281,000 1,040 269
Morris 385,000 470 828
Nemaha 420,000 1,020 408
Pottawatomie 468,000 840 553
Riley 225,000 500 451
Shawnee 217,000 900 240
Wabaunsee 462,000 630 736

Note: USDA definition of a “farm” - a unit that has expected annual sales of
agricultural products of at least $1,000, or of government farm payments of
at least $1,000 (National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2006)

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The size of farms (in acres) and the number of farms in the watersheds vary
from county to county. According to the National Agricultural Statistics
Service [NASS, 2002 Census of Agriculture], Morris County has the largest
average farm size (averaging 828 acres in size). Douglas County has the
smallest average farm size (averaging 230 acres). The number of farms in
each county is variable as well. Table 4 above illustrates this information.

Kansas River
The most outstanding physical feature of the watershed is the Kansas River.
Beginning at the confluence of the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers, just
east of the aptly-named Junction City (1030 ft), the Kansas flows some 170
miles generally eastward to join the Missouri River at Kaw Point (730 ft) in
Kansas City. The Kansas River valley is 138 miles long; the surplus length of
the river is due to its meandering across the floodplain. This course roughly
follows the maximum extent of the Kansan Glaciation, and the river likely
began as a path of glacial meltwater drain.

Recreation along the Kansas River includes fishing, canoeing and kayaking,
and rowing. There are 18 public access points along the river. The Friends of
the Kaw organizes many float trips down the river each year (as well as
cleanup efforts), and the Lawrence KOA rents canoes for self-guided trips. At
least two rowing teams regularly use the river: The University of Kansas
rowing team uses the pool above the Bowersock dam for their exercises, and
the Kansas City Rowing Club rows in the final stretches of the river, near its
mouth. (Wikipedia).

Threatened and Endangered Species


A number of federally listed Threatened and Endangered Species can be
found in the Middle Kansas watershed. Some of these include the Bald Eagle,
Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Topeka Shiner. The area provides federally –
listed critical habitat for only the Topeka Shiner. Topeka Shiner critical
habitat has been designated in the following: Clear Creek (Pottawatomie
County), Diamond and Mulberry creeks (Morris County), Walnut, Wildcat,
Little Arkansas, Seven-mile, and Deep creeks (Riley County), Mission Creek
(Shawnee County), Mill and Mulberry creeks (Wabaunsee County), and
Davis, Thomas, Dry, Lyons and Clark creeks (Geary County).

Kansas has also listed species as threatened or endangered within the Middle
Kansas watershed, including the Blackside Darter, Sturgeon Chub, Silver
Chub, Redbelly Snake, Eastern Spotted Skunk, Eskimo Curlew, and Pallid
Sturgean. The area provides Kansas-listed critical habitat for these species
as well. Blackside darter critical habitat is Mill Creek (Wabaunsee County).
This is the only location in Kansas where this species is found. Sturgeon

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chub and silver chub critical habitat is the entire mainstem length of the
Kansas River. Redbelly snake critical habitat is heavily wooded areas near
rivers and lakes in Jefferson and Douglas counties.

In addition, a large number of species found in the area are listed as “Species
in Need of Conservation” (SINC) by the Kansas Department of Wildlife &
Parks. SINC species are non-game species in need of conservation measures
in order to keep the species from becoming threatened or endangered. A
complete listing of all T&E species and species designated as SINC by
individual county can be found at
http://www.kdwp.state.ks.us/news/other_services/threatened_and_endangere
d_species/threatened_and_endangered_species/county_lists/(offset)/20
Listing species as threatened, endangered, or as in need of conservation
provides protection for native populations of these species. It also brings into
play recovery plans designed to guide research and management aimed at
enhancing the listed species' population. The ultimate goal is to be able to
remove the species from their threatened or endangered status. Watershed
restoration and protection, while not driven by the goal of restoration of
threatened populations, is one way in which the protection of threatened and
endangered species can be significantly enhanced.

Middle Kansas Watershed Conditions

Streams and Rivers


The Middle Kansas (HUC 8 10270102) watershed is ranked fourth in priority
for watershed restoration throughout the state. According to the Unified
Watershed Assessment, approximately 52% percent of the total miles of
water in this watershed do not meet their designated uses. This watershed
contains one large river and many small streams, tributaries and creeks. The
Kansas River, Mill Creek, Spring Creek, and Vermillion Creek are among the
larger rivers and creeks.

Designated Uses
This watershed is mostly a drainage basin for the Kansas River, however
several smaller streams and creeks are also abundant. There are 150 public
water supplies within the watershed, many of which draw water from the
Kansas River. According to the Kansas Surface Water Register, the most
common designated use for streams and rivers in this watershed include:
expected aquatic life uses, food procurement and domestic water supply as
shown in Figure 5.

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Figure 5

S=Special Aquatic Life Use Water


E=Expected Aquatic Life Use Water
FP=Food Procurement
DWS=Designated for domestic water supply
GR=Designated for ground water recharge.
LW=Designated for livestock watering use.
IWS=Designated for industrial water supply
IRR=Designated for irrigation use.
PCR=Primary contact recreation.

TMDL/Contaminate Concerns
Streams and rivers throughout Kansas have been sub-divided into segments.
By dividing the streams and rivers into segments they can be better analyzed
and understood. A reach of river or stream may have segments which vary
greatly in water quality, based on surrounding land uses. The figures below
display the impairments of the streams and rivers based on the number of
segments sampled. Surface waters not meeting their designated uses will
require total maximum daily loads. As shown in Figure 6, 41% of the
stream/river segments sampled are impaired and require TMDLs. The
primary pollutant concerns of this watersheds streams and rivers is fecal
coliform bacteria (FCB). Fecal coliform bacteria is a bacteria present in
human and animal waste. It serves as an indicator of potential disease
causing organisms. Figure 7 shows that approximately 76% of these impaired
stream/river segments are impaired by FCB, 9% by excess nutrients, 3% by
ammonia (NH3), and 1% by sediment. Ammonia is a chemical which is toxic
to fish and aquatic organisms. Sediment loading is a result of erosion as the
bare soil enters the lake and settles to the bottom. Sediment increases the
cloudiness of the lake, creates a displeasing color, and fills the lake bottom.
An excess of nutrients such as phosphorous and nitrogen can cause an
abundance of plants, which use oxygen in the water as they decay,
suffocating fish and aquatic organisms.

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Figure 6 Figure 7

Potential Pollution Sources

Potential sources of FCB contamination include feedlots, wastewater


treatment facilities, septic systems, and wildlife. Potential sources of
sediments include construction sites, stream bank erosion, and row crop
agriculture. Potential sources of nutrients include row crop agriculture,
urban/suburban runoff, registered feedlots, unregistered feedlots, wastewater
treatment facilities, septic systems, and wildlife. Sources of ammonia include
livestock, septic tanks, fertilizer, municipal and industrial waste.

Feedlots: In the State of Kansas, confined animal feeding operations


(CAFOs) with greater than 300 animal units must register with KDHE.
There are approximately 170 registered CAFOs located within HUC8
10270102 (this number, which is based on best available information, may be
dated and subject to change). Waste disposal practices and waste water
effluent quality are closely monitored by KDHE for these registered CAFOs.
Because of this monitoring, registered CAFOs are not considered a significant
threat to water resources within the watershed. A portion of the State’s
livestock population exists on small unregistered farms. These small
unregistered livestock operations may contribute a significant source of fecal
coliform bacteria and nutrients, depending on the presence and condition of
waste management systems and proximity to water resources.

Wastewater Treatment Facilities: There are approximately 54 wastewater


treatment facilities within the watershed (this number may be dated and
subject to change). These facilities are currently regulated by KDHE under
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. These
permits specify the maximum amount of pollutants allowed to be discharged
to the “waters of the State”. Due to the chlorination processes involved in
municipal waste treatment, these facilities are not considered to be a
significant source of fecal coliform bacteria; however they may be a
significant source of nutrients.

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Septic Systems: There are currently thousands of septic systems within the
watershed and this number is increasing. When properly designed, installed,
and maintained, septic systems can act as an effective means of wastewater
treatment. However, poorly maintained or “failing” septic systems can leach
pollutants into nearby surface waters and groundwater. The exact number of
failing septic systems within the watershed is unknown; however the number
may be increasing due to the current trends in suburban development. Local
Environmental Protection Programs and County health departments may
provide excellent sources of information regarding the proper design,
installation, and maintenance for septic systems.

Wildlife: Wildlife located throughout the watershed are not usually


considered a significant source of nonpoint source pollutants. However,
during seasonal migrations, concentrations of waterfowl can add
significant amounts of fecal coliform bacteria and nutrients into surface
water resources.

Row Crop Agriculture: Row crop agriculture can be a significant source of


nonpoint source pollution. Common pollutants from row crop agriculture
include sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and fecal coliform bacteria.
Many producers within the watershed regularly implement and maintain
BMPs to limit the amount of nonpoint source pollutants leaving their farm.
Some common BMPs include: the use of contour plowing; use of cover crops;
maintaining buffer strips along field edges; and proper timing of fertilizer
application.

Urban/Suburban Runoff: Many urban landscapes are covered by paved


surfaces including roads, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks. These
surfaces are impermeable and tend to divert water into storm drains at high
velocities. This increased flow velocity from urban areas can cause severe
stream bank erosion in receiving water bodies. Additionally, urban and
suburban runoff may carry other pollutants like petroleum hydrocarbons and
heavy metals. Currently, the watershed is only about 6% urban. Limiting
paved surfaces is the key to slowing urban nonpoint source pollution. The use
of grass swales, open spaces, and storm water retention ponds are
recommended to slow runoff in urban areas. The watershed has an increasing
population living in suburban areas. Residential landscapes are often
designed with large turf areas which require high amounts of water and
chemicals to maintain. The use of excessive amounts of fertilizers and lawn
care chemicals in residential areas can contribute a significant amount of
pollution to nearby water resources. Suburban nonpoint source pollution can
be limited by: using less lawn fertilizers and chemicals; control of
construction sites; proper disposal of pet waste; establishing large areas of
native vegetation; and conserving the amount of water use for maintenance.

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Lakes and Wetlands

The Middle Kansas watershed is home to Warren Park Lake, Lake Shawnee,
Wabaunsee County Lake, and several smaller city and county lakes. Many of
these lakes are used for recreational activities such as camping, water skiing,
fishing, and sight seeing.

Designated Uses
According to the Surface Water Register, the majority of the lakes in this
watershed are designated for expected aquatic life use, food procurement,
contact recreation and domestic water supply, as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8

E=Expected Aquatic Life Use


CR=Designated for contact recreational use.
DW=Designated for domestic water supply use.
FP=Food Procurement
LW=Designated for livestock watering use.
IWS=Industrial Water Supply

TMDL/Contaminate Concerns
Surface waters not meeting their designated uses will require total maximum
daily loads. Figure 9 shows that approximately 32% of the lakes in this
watershed require TMDLs. The primary pollutants for this watersheds’ lakes
and wetlands are eutrophication (E), excessive biomass (AP), and insufficient
flow(hydro). As shown if Figure 10, 66% of the impaired lakes/wetland
segments are impaired due to eutrophication. The remaining pollutants,
biomass (Ap) and hydro are present in over 16% of the lakes. Eutrophication
is caused by excess nutrients from a variety of nitrogen and phosphorous
sources including row crop agriculture, feedlots, septic systems, and

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urban/suburban runoff. Excessive biomass is an abundance of vascular plants
that tend to be a nuisance and interfere with designated water uses. Hydro is
a term used for lack of water flowing into a lake. This can cause the lake to
have a low temperature, low dissolved oxygen, and stagnation.

Figure 9 Figure 10
Potential Pollution Sources
Based on the watershed’s land use percentages, the primary pollutant
sources for nutrients causing eutrophication may be row crop agriculture.
Additionally, feedlots, septic systems, and urban/suburban
runoff may contribute significant amounts of nutrients into the watershed.

Groundwater

Major groundwater aquifers underlying this watershed include portions of


the Glacial Drift and Alluvial aquifers of the Kansas River and it’s
tributaries.

Designated Uses
There are approximately 2,450 groundwater wells located within the
watershed. Water from these wells isused for domestic use, groundwater
monitoring, irrigation, lawn & garden, and several other uses as shown
in Figure 11.

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Figure 11

Aquifer Characteristics

Glacial Drift Aquifer: Portions of the Glacial Drift aquifer exist in the
northwest portion of the watershed. Water from this aquifer is often used for
rural domestic water supply. Historically, water from this aquifer is very
hard with nitrates being one of the primary pollutant concerns.

Alluvial Aquifer: Alluvial aquifers of the Kansas River and its tributaries
exist throughout the watershed. Alluvial aquifers provide the primary water
source for many public water supplies located within the watershed. Water
quality in alluvial aquifers is generally good; however nitrates, minerals,
pesticides, and bacteria can be pollutant concerns.

Potential Pollution Types and Sources


Common groundwater pollutants include: nitrates, chloride, sulfates,
ammonia, iron, manganese and voc’s. Nitrate impaired groundwater is
perhaps the most prevalent groundwater contamination problem in the
State.

Nitrate: Nitrate is a naturally compound mineral and is an essential


component of all living matter. However, high concentrations of nitrate in
drinking water can cause adverse health effects including “blue
baby” syndrome. Sources of nitrate include municipal waste water treatment
plant discharges, runoff from livestock operations, leaching of fertilizer from
urban and agricultural areas, and failing septic systems.

24
Chloride : Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral found in Kansas lakes,
streams, and groundwater. In high concentrations, chloride can cause
deterioration of domestic plumbing, water heaters, and municipal
water works. The primary source of chloride impacted groundwater is
intrusion of salt water from deeper formations, often due to improperly
constructed water wells which allow confined aquifers to come into
contact with each other.\

Ammonia: Ammonia is a chemical which is toxic to fish and aquatic


organisms. Sources of ammonia are livestock, septic tanks, fertilizer,
municipal and industrial waste.

VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds, also called purgeable organics, are


components of fuels and solvents. They are ingredients in many household
and industrial products. Sources of VOCs are leaking fuel storage
tanks, trash dumps, and some agricultural pesticides.

Iron: Iron is a naturally occurring element found in the soil throughout


Kansas. It is an annoyance as it has an objectionable taste, causes a red stain
to porcelain fixtures and laundry, and causes plumbing
irritations.

Manganese: Manganese is a naturally occurring element and causes an


unpleasant taste in drinking water, stains porcelain and laundry, and collects
deposits in plumbing. It is naturally occurring throughout the soils in the
state.
(A Watershed Conditions Report for the State of Kansas HUC 10270102 –
Middle Kansas Watershed, KDHE – Bureau of Water, 2000).

Upper Kansas Watershed Conditions

Streams and Rivers

The Upper Kansas (HUC 8 10270101) watershed is ranked twenty-second in


priority for watershed restoration throughout the state. According to the
Unified Watershed Assessment, approximately 80% percent of the total miles
of water in this watershed do not meet their designated uses. This watershed
contains one large river and many small streams, tributaries and creeks. The
Kansas River, Wildcat Creek, Clarks Creek, and Three Mile Creek are among
the larger rivers and creeks.

Designated Uses
This watershed is mostly a drainage basin for the Kansas River, however
several smaller streams and creeks are present. There are 41 public water

25
supplies within the watershed, many of which draw water from the Kansas
River. According to the Kansas Surface Water Register, the most common
designated use for streams and rivers in this watershed include: expected
aquatic life uses, food procurement, and contact recreation as shown in
Figure 12.

Figure 12

S=Special Aquatic Life Use Water


E=Expected Aquatic Life Use Water
FP=Food Procurement
DWS=Designated for domestic water supply
GR=Designated for ground water recharge.
LW=Designated for livestock watering use.
IWS=Designated for industrial water supply
IRR=Designated for irrigation use.
PCR=Primary contact recreation.

TMDL/Contaminate Concerns
Streams and rivers throughout Kansas have been sub-divided into segments.
By dividing the streams and rivers into segments they can be better analyzed
and understood. A reach of river or stream may have segments which vary
greatly in water quality, based on surrounding land uses. The figures below
display the impairments of the streams and rivers based on the number of
segments sampled. Surface waters not meeting their designated uses will
require total maximum daily loads. As shown in Figure 13, 86% stream/river
segments sampled are impaired and require TMDLs. The primary pollutant
concern of this watersheds’ streams and rivers is fecal coliform bacteria
(FCB). Fecal coliform bacteria is a bacteria present in human and animal
waste. It serves as an indicator of potential disease causing organisms.
Figure 14 shows that approximately 57% of these impaired stream/river
segments are impaired by FCB, 14% by chloride (Cl), 14% by dissolved
oxygen (Do), and 14% by sulfate (SO4). Chloride is a naturally occurring

26
mineral found in Kansas lakes, streams, and groundwater. In high
concentrations, chloride can cause deterioration of domestic plumbing, water
heaters, and municipal water works. Low DO levels typically coincide with an
abundance of algae, which may be caused by excess nutrients. An abundance
of algae causes the population of decomposers to increase, which in turn uses
up the oxygen in the stream or river.

Figure 13 Figure 14

Potential Pollution Sources


Potential sources of FCB contamination include feedlots, wastewater
treatment facilities, septic systems, and wildlife. The primary of source of
chloride is intrusion from deep parent material underlying the surface
waters. Potential sources of excess nutrients include registered feedlots,
unregistered feedlots, wastewater treatment facilities, septic systems,
wildlife, and grazingland. Analyzing the land uses within this watershed
helps to understand which land uses might have greater influences on the
source of the impairments. Below are a list of the land uses in this watershed
which can effect a stream or river segment. Grassland is considered
grazingland for livestock.

Urban Area.... 2.6% Wooded area....8%


Row Crop....12% Water area.... .3%
Grassland....77% p Other.... .1%

Feedlots: In the State of Kansas, confined animal feeding operations


(CAFOs) with greater than 300 animal units must register with KDHE.
There are approximately 40 registered CAFOs located within HUC8
10270101 (this number, which is based on best available information, may be
dated and subject to change). Waste disposal practices and waste water
effluent quality are closely monitored by KDHE for these registered CAFOs.
Because of this monitoring, registered CAFOs are not considered a significant
threat to water resources within the watershed. A portion of the State’s
livestock population exists on small unregistered farms. These small
unregistered livestock operations may contribute a significant source of fecal

27
coliform bacteria and nutrients, depending on the presence and condition of
waste management systems and proximity to water resources.

Grazing land: Concentrations of livestock in and around creeks can be a


significant source of FCB.

Wastewater Treatment Facilities: There are approximately 9 wastewater


treatment facilities within the watershed (this number may be dated and
subject to change). These facilities are currently regulated by KDHE under
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. These
permits specify the maximum amount of pollutants allowed to be discharged
to the “waters of the State”. Due to the chlorination processes involved in
municipal waste treatment, these facilities are not considered to be a
significant source of fecal coliform bacteria; however they may be a
significant source of nutrients.

Septic Systems: There are currently thousands of septic systems within the
watershed and this number is increasing. When properly designed, installed,
and maintained, septic systems can act as an effective means of wastewater
treatment. However, poorly maintained or “failing” septic systems can leach
pollutants into nearby surface waters and groundwater. The exact number of
failing septic systems within the watershed is unknown; however the number
may be increasing due to the current trends in suburban development. Local
Environmental Protection Programs and County health departments may
provide excellent sources of information regarding the proper design,
installation, and maintenance for septic systems.

Wildlife: Wildlife located throughout the watershed are not usually


considered a significant source of nonpoint source pollutants. However,
during seasonal migrations, concentrations of waterfowl can add
significant amounts of fecal coliform bacteria and nutrients into surface
water resources.

Row Crop Agriculture: As stated above, approximately 12% of the


watershed’s land is used for row crop agriculture. Row crop agriculture can be
a significant source of nonpoint source pollution. Common pollutants from
row crop agriculture include sediment, nutrients, pesticides, and fecal
coliform bacteria. Many producers within the watershed regularly implement
and maintain BMPs to limit the amount of nonpoint source pollutants
leaving their farm. Some common BMPs include: the use of contour plowing;
use of cover crops; maintaining buffer strips along field edges; and proper
timing of fertilizer application.

28
Urban/Suburban Runoff: Many urban landscapes are covered by paved
surfaces including roads, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks. These
surfaces are impermeable and tend to divert water into storm drains at high
velocities. This increased flow velocity from urban areas can cause severe
streambank erosion in receiving water bodies. Additionally, urban and
suburban runoff may carry other pollutants like petroleum hydrocarbons and
heavy metals. Currently, the watershed is only about 2.6%
urban. Limiting paved surfaces is the key to slowing urban nonpoint source
pollution. The use of grass swales, open spaces, and storm water retention
ponds are recommended to slow runoff in urban areas. The watershed has an
increasing population living in suburban areas. Residential landscapes are
often designed with large turf areas which require high amounts of water and
chemicals to maintain. The use of excessive amounts of fertilizers and lawn
care chemicals in residential areas can contribute a significant
amount of pollution to nearby water resources. Suburban nonpoint source
pollution can be limited by: using less lawn fertilizers and chemicals; control
of construction sites; proper disposal of pet waste; establishing large areas of
native vegetation; and conserving the amount of water use for plant
maintenance.

Lakes and Wetlands


Huc 8 10270101 is the home to Ogden City Lake and several other smaller
city and county lakes.

Designated Uses
According to the Surface Water Register, the Ogden City Lake is designated
for expected aquatic life use and food procurement.

TMDL/Contaminate Concerns
Surface waters not meeting their designated uses will require total maximum
daily loads. Currently, only one lake, the Ogden City Lake requires a TMDL.
This lake’s primary pollutant concern is eutrophication, which is a natural
process which creates conditions favorable for algae blooms and excess plant
growth. This process is often accelerated by excess nutrient loading from the
watershed.

Potential Pollution Sources


Based on the watershed’s land use percentages, the primary pollutant
sources for nutrients causing eutrophication and FCB may be grazingland.
Additionally, feedlots, septic systems, row crop agriculture and
urban/suburban runoff may contribute significant amounts of nutrients into
the watershed.

29
Groundwater
Major groundwater aquifers underlying this watershed include portions of
the Glacial Drift and Alluvial aquifers of the Kansas River and it’s
tributaries.

Designated Uses
There are approximately 721 groundwater wells located within the
watershed. Water from these wells is used for domestic use, groundwater
monitoring, irrigation, dewatering, public water supply, lawn and
garden, industrial, feedlots, and oil field supply, as shown in Figure 15.

Figure 15

Aquifer Characteristics

Glacial Drift Aquifer: Portions of the Glacial Drift aquifer exist in the
northeast portion of the watershed. Water from this aquifer is often used for
rural domestic water supply. Historically, water from this aquifer is very
hard with nitrates being one of the primary pollutant concerns.

Alluvial Aquifer: Alluvial aquifers of the Kansas River and its tributaries
exist throughout the watershed. Alluvial aquifers provide the primary water
source for many public water supplies located within the watershed. Water
quality in alluvial aquifers is generally good; however nitrates, minerals,
pesticides, and bacteria can be pollutant concerns.

30
Potential Pollution Types and Sources:
Common groundwater pollutants include: nitrates, chloride, sulfates,
ammonia, iron, manganese and voc’s. Nitrate impaired groundwater is
perhaps the most prevalent groundwater contamination problem in the
State.

Nitrate: Nitrate is a naturally compound mineral and is an essential


component of all living matter. However, high concentrations of nitrate in
drinking water can cause adverse health effects including “blue
baby” syndrome. Sources of nitrate include municipal waste water treatment
plant discharges, runoff from livestock operations, leaching of fertilizer from
urban and agricultural areas, and failing septic systems.

Chloride: Chloride is a naturally occurring mineral found in Kansas lakes,


streams, and groundwater. In high concentrations, chloride can cause
deterioration of domestic plumbing, water heaters, and municipal water
works. The primary source of chloride impacted groundwater is intrusion of
salt water from deeper formations, often due to improperly constructed water
wells which allow confined aquifers to come into contact with each other.

Ammonia: Ammonia is a chemical which is toxic to fish and aquatic


organisms. Sources of ammonia are livestock, septic tanks, fertilizer,
municipal and industrial waste.

VOCs: Volatile Organic Compounds, also called purgeable organics, are


components of fuels and solvents. They are ingredients in many household
and industrial products. Sources of VOCs are leaking fuel storage
tanks, trash dumps, and some agricultural pesticides.

Iron: Iron is a naturally occurring element found in the soil throughout


Kansas. It is an annoyance as it has an objectionable taste, causes a red stain
to porcelain fixtures and laundry, and causes plumbing irritations.

Manganese: Manganese is a naturally occurring element and causes an


unpleasant taste in drinking water, stains porcelain and laundry, and collects
deposits in plumbing. It is naturally occurring throughout the soils in the
state.
(A Watershed Conditions Report for the State of Kansas HUC 10270101 –
Upper Kansas Watershed, KDHE – Bureau of Water, 2001).

Impaired Waters in the Middle Kansas Watershed


Water quality standards for Kansas are established by the Kansas Department of Health
and Environment (KDHE) [K.A.R. 28-16-28b through 28g]. These standards represent

31
the quality of water that is necessary to fully support the designated uses of classified
streams, lakes and wetlands throughout the state. Specific designated uses, such as
domestic water supply, primary contact recreation (swimming), secondary contact
recreation (wading, fishing, etc.), and other uses, are assigned to each major body of
water in the state. When water quality standards are NOT met, a water body and its use(s)
are considered impaired. States are required to develop a list of impaired waters,
commonly referred to as a "303(d) list", so named after Section 303(d) of the federal
Clean Water Act of 1972. The state is required to establish a Total Maximum Daily Load
(TMDL) for such impaired water bodies. More information on TMDL’s can be found on
the Kansas Department of Health & Environment website at the following web address:
http://www.kdheks.gov/tmdl/index.htm.

TMDL’s in the Middle Kansas Watershed


The state is required to establish a Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) for significantly
impaired water bodies. TMDL’s specify the maximum amount of a pollutant causing an
impairment that a water body can receive from all pollutant sources and still be able to
meet water quality standards and support its designated use(s). In establishing a TMDL
for a stream or lake, the state must determine the specific pollutant(s) causing the water
quality impairment, the degree of deviation from the applicable water quality standard
that exists, and the level of pollution reduction needed to achieve compliance with the
water quality standard. The pollutant load determined by the TMDL is allocated between
both point and non-point pollutant sources in the water body’s watershed. TMDL’s must
be approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Existing TMDL’s for streams and lakes in the Middle Kansas watershed were developed
in 1999 and 2005. TMDL’s designated “High Priority for Implementation” include
bacteria for Mill Creek, Vermillion Creek, and Shunganunga Creek; dissolved oxygen for
Shunganunga Creek; and biology/sediment for Soldier Creek. Medium to low priority
TMDL’s include bacteria for the Kansas River at Wamego, above and below Topeka;
biology on the Kansas River below Topeka; and the small city lakes of Wamego, Topeka
(Gage, Central, Warren Park) and Meyer’s Pond.

2006 TMDL listing for the Middle Kansas include: biology on the Kansas River above
Topeka, Lower Vermillion Creek, and Halfday Creek; zinc on the Kansas River at
Wamego above and below Topeka; and eutrophication on Lake Shawnee, Lake
Wabaunsee, and Pottawatomie County Fishing Lake #1. It is important to note that the
indicator for bacteria has changed from fecal coliform to E. coli.

Stream TMDLs listed in 2000 as high priority in the Upper Kansas include Clark’s Creek
for fecal coliform and Wildcat Creek for fecal coliform and dissolved oxygen. The Upper
Kansas was listed as medium priority for fecal coliform and low priority for chloride and
sodium. Lake TMDLs listed in the Upper Kansas include Ogden City Lake as low
priority for eutrophication. (Tom Stiles, KDHE – Watershed Planning Section, TMDLs in
the Kansas Subbasin, September, 2006).

32
Figure 16: High Priority Stream TMDLs in the Middle Kansas Watershed

33
Watershed Issues in the Middle Kansas Watershed

The Middle Kansas WRAPS focuses on four major watershed issues that are
of greatest concern in the basin (identifying high priority areas, education
and outreach, implementation of management practices, and policy
recommendations). Specific objectives were developed to address these four
major issues.

It should be noted that the issues identified and discussed in this document
are dealt with as individual issues, yet they are interrelated. Water issues
are seldom separate and discrete from one another. Sedimentation is a result
of erosion that comes about from both natural and man-made sources. It is an
issue critical to water quality because sediment itself is a pollutant that also
has a negative impact on water quantity issues. In addition, sediment acts in
tangent with other pollutants like pesticides, plant nutrients, and bacterial
contaminants as these materials can be attached to sediment particles to
streams and lakes in the watershed. Runoff that transports sediment also
carries other materials in solution that do not adsorb to sediment, but that
cause significant water quality problems themselves. So when sedimentation
is discussed as a serious water quality and water quantity concern, it must
also be discussed in context with pesticide contamination, algae blooms and
eutrophication, public water supply issues, land management practices and
many other factors. The following is a list of initial watershed issues by the
Middle Kansas WRAPS stakeholders.

1. TMDLs
2. Stream degradation on Kansas River and its tributaries
3. Funding for maintenance of terraces, ponds, lagoons; erosion reduction
4. Remove/limit animal activity next to streams; small livestock operations
5. Need additional data to identify problem areas
6. Look at urban development issues; urban sprawl, erosion practices
7. Onsite wastewater
8. Abandoned wells
9. Lack of technical assistance
10. Sedimentation from county road and bridge properties.
11. Failing or no septic systems
12. Sedimentation from streambank erosion
13. Source water protection
14. Flooding
15. Nutrient management
16. Grazing lands

34
Watershed Goals and Objectives in the Middle Kansas Watershed

From the initial list of identified watershed issues, similar issues were
grouped into four main issues including identifying high priority areas,
education and outreach, implementing management practices and policy
recommendations.

1. Identify high priority areas


A. TMDLs
I. Fecal coliform bacteria is used as an indicator of contamination.
Although FCB themselves may not be harmful, their presence in
water indicates that fecal material is present, and that disease
organisms such as E. Coli, giardia, or others may also be found in
the water. Generally speaking, the higher the level of FCB, the
greater the level of fecal contamination of the water, and the
greater the likelihood of pathogenic organisms being present.

Bacterial contamination of surface water in the Middle Kansas


basin is widespread. 2006 TMDLs designated “High Priority
for Implementation” include Mill Creek, Vermillion Creek,
and Shunganunga Creek. Medium to low priority TMDL’s
include bacteria for the Kansas River at Wamego, and above
and below Topeka. At the May 16, 2007 Natural Resource
Management Workshop, a representative from EPA stated
that in collaboration with KDHE, Vermillion Creek and Mill
Creek have been selected among five watersheds in Kansas
that have the potential for restoration within a period of
approximately five years.

Bacterial contamination of water in the Middle Kansas basin comes


from a variety of sources including livestock wastes, failing on-site
wastewater systems (such as septic tanks and lagoons), and
wildlife. Discharges from public wastewater treatment plants may
contribute to FCB levels as well.

Livestock Wastes: A portion of farm income in the Middle Kansas


watershed comes from the livestock industry. Some of these
animals are contained within confined animal feeding operations
(CAFO’s). Registered CAFO’s are closely monitored by KDHE and
because of this monitoring CAFO’s are not considered a significant
threat to water resources.

More livestock can be found in unregistered, smaller livestock


operations that often over winter in riparian areas. These smaller

35
operations may be a significant source of fecal coliform bacteria and
nutrients to streams and lakes. Whether or not these smaller
operations pose a water quality threat depends on waste
management practices and their proximity to water resources.

Human Wastes: For rural populations, wastewater is usually


disposed of by on-site wastewater systems. Properly designed,
constructed and maintained systems are an effective and safe
means of wastewater treatment. However, many of these systems
are old, may not be properly maintained, and may consist of
nothing more than a pipe from the house to a ditch or stream. Such
systems do not provide sufficient treatment of wastes prior to
release to the environment, and are considered to be failing. They
can be a significant source of fecal coliform bacteria and other
potentially disease-causing organisms, nutrients, and chemicals
that are used in the household.

Human wastes from public sewer systems may at times also be a


source of fecal bacterial contamination. Public wastewater
treatment plants are regulated under the National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and must have pollution
controls in place to avoid contaminating receiving waters with
polluted discharges.

Wildlife Wastes: Wildlife can contribute to fecal coliform bacteria


levels in water when their numbers are large. Migrating waterfowl
congregating in large numbers on area ponds and lakes are an
example of a situation where wildlife may be a significant source of
bacterial contamination in water. However, it is not believed that
wildlife are a consistent source of contamination in the watershed
as a whole.

II. Sediment and Biology

Soldier Creek is designated “High Priority for


Implementation” for sediment and biology. The natural process
of succession (the progression of an aquatic ecosystem to a
terrestrial ecosystem) occurs as sediment is deposited in lakes and
ponds over time. Lakes eventually fill with sediment to the point
that they become marshes and finally dry land. This process
usually takes many years to run its course. However, the rate at
which this occurs is dependent on various characteristics of the
watershed itself and land uses within the watershed. Human
activity in the watershed tends to greatly accelerate this process,

36
causing rapid aging of lakes. Cultivation of cropland, poor grazing
practices, construction activity, and removal of trees or other
vegetation along stream banks all increase the amount of sediment
that is sent downstream into lakes and ponds. Once in the lake,
sediment settles to the bottom, reducing the water capacity of the
lake, causing it to become more shallow. In many cases, sediment
has other materials attached to it such as pesticides and
phosphorus that also pollute the water of lakes and ponds.

Soils in the Middle Kansas Watershed are agriculturally very


productive. Crop production exposes soils to erosion because the
soil surface is not protected by permanent growing vegetation at all
times, and is frequently disturbed for planting, cultivation and
weed control. Overgrazing pastures, home and road construction
and other activities also have the same effect. Runoff transports
sediment and other pollutants to lakes and ponds. As the water
slows it drops its load, filling ponds and lakes with the sediment
that has been transported from fields, pastures and streambanks.

III. Eutrophication

2006 TMDLs designated “Medium to Low Priority for


Implementation” include the small city lakes of Wamego,
Topeka (Gage, Central, Warren Park) and Meyer’s Pond.
Algae are aquatic plants containing the pigment chlorophyll a.
Algae growth increases in response to added nitrogen and
phosphorus, thereby producing more chlorophyll a. Measuring
chlorophyll a concentrations in water is one simple way to gauge
the level of nutrient enrichment in a lake or pond. This
measurement can also be used to determine a lake’s trophic state,
that is its level of aquatic productivity. Eutrophication, is a result
of heavy inputs of nutrients from the watershed.

2. Grazing lands
Approximately 845,368 acres or 46.9% of the Middle Kansas
watershed is classified as “grassland/herbaceous.” Grazing lands in
Kansas are defined as agricultural lands used for the removal or
harvest of perennial and annual vegetation by or for grazing animals.
Grazing lands include rangeland, pastureland, woodland, and
cropland. Trees and shrubs are natural invaders on grazing lands in
Kansas. While woody plants have value along streams and ravines in
portions of the state, excessive amounts of woody growth on grazing
lands will reduce livestock carrying capacity by shading out more
desirable herbaceous vegetation. Proper grazing will slow down woody

37
plant invasion, but prescribed burning, herbicide, and mechanical
treatments are necessary to control woody invasion on grasslands.
Additional management practices can also provide better grazing
distribution, which enhances water quality protection.

3. Water Quantity
Wide extremes in precipitation are characteristic in the Kansas –
Lower Republican basin. Average annual precipitation over the basin
increases from about 28 inches in the west to about 38 inches in the
east. Typically, 70 percent of this total falls during the growing season.
Flood events, such as in July, 1993 and the drought experienced from
1952-1956, underscore the variability in precipitation.

Drought can have adverse impacts on urban and rural residents.


A number of state, federal, and local agencies work together to
insure that a sufficient supply of water is available for the beneficial
uses of the people of the State. Individual water conservation practices
can range from xeriscape for urban residents to herd management for
livestock producers.

4. Degradated streams and rivers


Streams in the Middle Kansas are substantially degradated are often
related to cultural activities in the watershed including stream
channelization, mining, drainage of cropland and other stream
alterations.

Channel degradation includes both the downcutting process through


which the Kansas River has lost its natural bed in some reaches, and
bank sloughing, the loss of the river bank. At present, there appear to
be two primary reasons for this degradation. Since settlement, the
Kansas River has been a primary source of aggregate for building
projects and road construction along the river’s corridor from Topeka
to the Kansas City metropolitan area. Most of this aggregate has been
removed from the river bed through hydraulic dredging at multiple
permitted sites.

Dredging in the Kansas River is regulated at the federal level by the


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and at the state level by the
Department of Agriculture/ Division of Water Resources. The Corps’
twelve existing permits were originally issued for a ten year
period which expired on December 31, 2001, but have been indefinitely
extended. The Kansas City District Office of the Corps of Engineers
has asked for the State’s position on aggregate dredging before the
Corps takes action on renewing these permits. Since the 1950’s,

38
Kansas River flows have been regulated by tributary reservoirs.
Sediment loads are largely deposited in these reservoirs. The result is
the release of relatively clear water from the reservoirs with a large
material carrying capacity and increased downcutting (degradation) of
the streambed. (Kansas Water Plan Concept Paper, Channel
Degradation in the Kansas River, Proposed for Consideration by the
Kansas Water Authority, January 2005)

5. Onsite Wastewater (Discussed under fecal coliform)

6. Abandoned wells
Contamination of wells is often the result of citing wells in close
proximity to pollution sources such as livestock lots, septic drain fields,
or other pollutant sources. Pollutants present in streams, ponds and
rivers can also enter shallow groundwater that is closely connected to
surface water in alluvial aquifers. Groundwater contamination can
also occur when contaminated runoff has direct access to an aquifer.
This happens when runoff enters drill holes around poorly constructed
wells or runs into well pits and abandoned wells. For this reason,
proper well location, construction and plugging of pits and abandoned
wells are important to the protection of groundwater in the region.

7. Additional assessment needed


Identification of data gaps. These gaps can be filled by additional
monitoring and modeling or, in some cases, compilation and analysis of
data that does exist but that is not in a format that could be easily
used for comparison and decision-making purposes.

8. Identify urban area priorities


Urban sources of nonpoint source pollution include improper fertilizer
and pesticide application, pet waste, improper disposal of petroleum
and hazardous waste, lack of construction site runoff controls,
improper disposal of solid waste in streams, degradation of riparian
areas, aquatic and wildlife habitat. Urban sprawl into Shawnee,
Geary, and Riley Counties has the potential to contribute to nonpoint
source pollution.

9. Biological items of concern (T&E and SINC species)


(Discussed under threatened and endangered species)

10. Source water protection (discussed under project scope)

11. Flooding
The primary approach to flood management in the Kansas – Lower
Republican basin focuses on floodplain management through

39
community participation in the National Flood Insurance Program and
reduction of rural flood damages through construction of watershed
dams in organized watershed districts. The basin has 26 communities
(cities and counties) participating in the National Flood Insurance
Program. Four communities have been suspended from the program
and 11communities with identified flood hazard areas do not
participate. The communities shown in Table 3 have been identified by
the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources as
priority communities in the basin for future floodplain mapping.
Priority watersheds for rural flood damage priorities were identified for
the basin in 1986 by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation
Service and are shown in Figure 17. Fourteen watershed districts have
been organized in the basin. (Kansas Water Plan, Kansas – Lower
Republican Basin Section, August, 2006)

Flooding is a major concern in the Middle Kansas watershed, especially


with Cross Creek, which runs north of Rossville, and Shunganunga
Creek, which runs through Topeka. In May, 2007, Shunganunga Creek
flooded in areas of town that had been previously unflooded

Figure 17

40
12. Livestock management
A portion of farm income in the Middle Kansas watershed comes from
the livestock industry. Some of these animals are contained within
confined animal feeding operations (CAFO’s). Registered CAFO’s are
closely monitored by KDHE and because of this monitoring CAFO’s are
not considered a significant threat to water resources.

More livestock can be found in unregistered, smaller livestock


operations that often over winter in riparian areas. These smaller
operations may be a significant source of fecal coliform bacteria and
nutrients to streams and lakes. Whether or not these smaller
operations pose a water quality threat depends on waste management
practices and their proximity to water resources. Low to no-cost
management practices can enhance economic production, while protecting water
quality.

13. Nutrient Management

Nutrients including phosphorus and nitrogen are one of the greatest


impediments to achieving improved quality of surface waters in Kansas.
Additionally, nutrients exported beyond Kansas contribute to water
quality problems elsewhere, such as development of a “dead zone”
within the Gulf of Mexico where many bottom-dwelling organisms have
been killed or forced to move.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has requested that all states
develop plans to establish water quality criteria for nutrients in surface
waters. Kansas has focused on nutrient reduction rather than nutrient
criteria as proposed in the Kansas Surface Water Nutrient Reduction
Plan.

Specific actions necessary to meet the 30 percent reduction target are


expected to be developed through Watershed Restoration and Protection
Strategies and establishment of high priority Total Maximum Daily
Loads. The policy infrastructure for both approaches is in place.
(Kansas Water Plan, Water Quality Policy and Institutional
Framework, Working Draft Released for Public Review by the Kansas
Water Authority, June 2, 2006)

Nutrient sources within the Kansas Lower – Republican basin include


both point and non-point sources. The major point sources in the basin
include large wastewater treatment plants, which are regulated under
the NPDES Program. The primary non-point sources of pollution
include both agricultural and urban areas. Table 6 shows the relative

41
contribution of point and non-point sources in the KLR basin for total
phosphorus and total nitrogen leaving the state.

Table 6

The Kansas Surface Water Nutrient Reduction Plan, developed by KDHE,


outlines a statewide strategy for reducing the export of total nitrogen (TN)
and total phosphorus (TP) in surface waters leaving the state. This involves
additional reductions in nutrients from point source discharges through the
NPDES Program and reductions in non-point sources through development
and implementation of Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies
(WRAPS). The Nutrient Reduction Plan includes Improvement Potential
Index (IPI) maps for Kansas counties for TP and TN reductions In The
KLR basin, Cloud, Brown, Nemaha and Republic counties showed the highest
improvement potential for TP and Cloud, Republic and Wabaunsee counties
showed the highest improvement potential for TN. (Kansas Water Plan,
Kansas – Lower Republican Basin Section, August, 2006)

The remaining watershed goals and objectives listed below will be developed
during the assessment and planning phase of the Middle Kansas WRAPS.

42
II. Education and Outreach
1. Educate at producer level, don’t use technical terms
2. Educate public on proper use practices (BMP’s)
3. Develop demonstration projects
4. Conduct Workshops
5. Develop Educational materials
6. Facilitate a method for self-sampling and monitoring for bacteria.

III. Identify and Implement Management Practices


1. Focus on high priority areas
2. Provide sufficient technical services
3. Promote additional soil testing and proper application (urban and
rural)
4. Develop a list of average costs for practices
5. Promote innovative management ideas
6. Develop focus groups to address local priority issues
7. Develop funding sources to address implementation needs
8. Coordinate with existing watershed districts concerning,
sedimentation, flooding, and pesticides/fertilizers.

IV. Policy Recommendations


1. Advocate the equivalent of a grass filter strip for livestock
producers.
2. Investigate the possibility of a tax credit for maintaining grass
filters and riparian buffers
3. Advocate grazing of grass filters strips.
4. Project needs where no funding assistance is available ; example
streambank stabilization not above a federal lake
5. Develop stream setback ordinances in high priority areas (urban)???

43
Bibliography

A Watershed Conditions Report for the State of Kansas HUC 10270102 –


Middle Kansas Watershed, KDHE – Bureau of Water, 2000.

A Watershed Conditions Report for the State of Kansas HUC 10270101 –


Upper Kansas Watershed, KDHE – Bureau of Water, 2001.

Census of Agriculture - County Data, 2002.

Kansas Department of Agriculture website, www.ksda.gov

Kansas Department of Health & Environment,


http://www.kdheks.gov/tmdl/index.htm

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website., www.kdwp.state.ks.us

Kansas Water Plan Concept Paper, Channel Degradation in the Kansas


River, Proposed for Consideration by the Kansas Water Authority,
January 2005.

Kansas Water Plan, Kansas – Lower Republican Basin Section, August,


2006.

Kansas Water Plan, Water Quality Policy and Institutional


Framework, Working Draft Released for Public Review by the Kansas
Water Authority, June 2, 2006.

National Agricultural Statistics Service, Kansas Farm Facts, 2005.

Snethen, Don – KDHE – Watershed Management Section, Source Water


Protection Needs for the Mid Kansas River WRAPS..

Stiles, Tom - KDHE – Watershed Planning Section, TMDLs in the Kansas Subbasin,
September, 2006.

U.S. Census Bureau, 2000 and 1990 Census Figures.

U.S. Census Bureau, 2005 Population Estimates.

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Appendices

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46
47
48