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Water: Nonpoint Source Success Stories



Banner Creek Water Quality Protection Project -
Kansas-Lower Republican River Basin

In 1993, construction of a lake began near the City of Holton in Jackson County, Kansas. Sponsored by the Jackson County Rural Water District #3, Delaware River Watershed Joint District #10, and Jackson County, this multipurpose lake was designed primarily for public water supply, flood retention, and recreation. Its watershed (in northeastern Kansas) encompasses 12,610 acres and includes multiple land uses, including woodlands, agricultural crop and grazing lands, residential developments, and county roads and highways. Dam construction was designed for 520 surface acres and completed in 1996.

Protecting the lake for long-term uses

The project has instaloled two diversions totalilng 695 cubic yards, four ponds, 4,453 linear feet of tile terraces, and two streamblank stabilizatino projects, and upgraded 10 septic systems.

Kansas law (K.S.A.82a-1608) provides that any multiple purpose small lake dam receiving state funding must have a nonpoint source management plan. The plan must include an evaluation of projected water quality conditions in the watershed and in the proposed waterbody (based on current conditions) and an identification of the protection measures that will be needed to achieve lake water quality given these conditions. Accordingly, in 1993, Kansas State University and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, using a lake model called Eutromod, began evaluating the flow of nutrients to the lake. The resulting data and their involvement in the approved nonpoint source management plan helped the Jackson County Conservation District secure EPA section 319 funding to supplement and enhance earlier planning and implementation activities. The Conservation District's objective and three-year project is to develop and implement a comprehensive and holistic watershed and lake protection plan for the Banner Creek Lake. Information and education both in print and through demonstration projects financial incentives, and water quality sampling are major elements in the Conservation District's strategy for success.


Two water quality monitoring stations have been established. Samples from 11 runoff events and three base flows at each of the two sites identify some pollutants and their relative impact on the lake. The Conservation District is successfully using these data to determine which best management practices it should focus on in this watershed. These relationships are shown in Table 1.

Table 1. Common pollutants in runoff to Banner Lake, keyed to management strategies.
pesticides infrequent maintain practices
bacteria high waste/disposal/management
suspended solids moderate erosion control
phosphorus high erosion/nutrient/organic waste
nitrate low maintain practices
ammonia low maintain practices
BOD moderate nutrient/organic waste management

The project has encouraged residents and agricultural producers to maintain the following practices:

  • conservation tillage -- by purchasing a no-till drill to rent to producers;
  • biological monitoring -- by involving local students in sampling insect larvae, snails, crayfish, and other macroinvertebrates;
  • zoning -- by establishing a buffer area around the lake to protect it from residential development and the effects of construction-generated pollution;
  • nutrient and pesticide management -- by implementing plans on brome grass and croplands.

Nutrient and pesticide management plans are now in effect on 37 acres of cropland and 132 acres of brome grassland, and 147 acres are under crop residue management practices (i.e., no-till or 30 percent residue). An additional 34 acres have been planted with native seedings, and 10 acres of brome pasture have been renovated.

Finally, the project has installed two diversions totaling 695 cubic yards, four ponds, 4,453 linear feet of tile terraces, and two streambank stabilization projects, and upgraded 10 septic systems. Riparian management projects, stream stabilization projects, and tree and shrub plantings are likewise included in the project's goals. In 1996, 3,780 trees and 12,878 shrubs were installed in mitigation areas of Banner Creek; the Holton Central Schools' third grade classes planted 86 trees.

CONTACTS: Scott Satterthwaite
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
(913) 296-8038

Don Jones
Jackson County Conservation District
(913) 364-4638

Clean Water Neighbor Projects -
Local Initiatives Drive Public Awareness

Clean Water Neighbor, funded by the 319 program, is designed specifically to involve local groups and individuals in voluntary nonpoint source pollution programs. Thus, it also seeks to enhance the public's awareness of water quality problems, their causes, and the best management practices and individual behaviors that can lead to their control and elimination.

Cooperation is key

Clean Water neighbor projects are local initiatives. They involve a range of participants, various degrees of difficulty, and diverse goals.

Clean Water Neighbor projects are local initiatives. They involve a range of participants, various degrees of difficulty, and diverse goals. Indeed, the idea of neighbor helping neighbor may be the only common element among many projects. The following projects, exchanges, or alliances, are Clean Water Neighbors:

  • Wichita State University's "Teaching Teachers." Two members of the Biology Department hold workshops to teach high school teachers stream monitoring techniques. Teachers then teach their students these same methods. The University has also added a full course to its curriculum so that secondary teachers can request academic credit.
  • High school monitoring projects. In separate projects, four high schools established stream monitoring projects. Each school developed its own program and follow-up activity. One high school began to compile a computer database for stream quality in Topeka; another completed a stormdrain stenciling program in Wichita. The third planted 1,100 tree seedlings along streambanks; the fourth hauled a large quantity of debris from a number of county streams.
  • Faculty and graduate students of the School of Architecture and Urban Design, University of Kansas designed a watershed identification project to teach middle school students to delineate the watershed and to understand the way human activities affect watershed health.
  • Riparian vegetation surrounding Cheney Lake, the primary source of Wichita's drinking water, sustained significant storm damage. Clean Water Neighbor funds contributed to the debris cleanup that followed the storm and to the cost of replanting riparian vegetation that had sustained storm damage.
  • Fort Scott, Kansas, completed two good neighbor projects: monitoring to determine pollutant sources affecting a local lake, and a citywide composting effort.

Other Clean Water Neighbor projects-in-progress include establishing wetlands and sand filters, wetlands monitoring, distributing nonpoint source pollution literature for middle schools, and household hazardous waste disposal efforts.

CONTACT: Judy Scherff
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
(913) 296-8038

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