For Immediate Release
December 3, 2007

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

Kansas Receives $900,000 to Protect Marais des Cygnes River Basin

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) has received $900,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect and restore water quality and supplies in the Marais des Cygnes river basin. EPA presented KDHE with a check for that amount at a ceremony on Monday at Hillsdale Lake near Paola.

“Kansas is grateful for these funds, which will be used to safeguard and promote water quality and supplies in the Marais des Cygnes River Basin,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE. “We are looking forward to building our partnerships here in Kansas and across state lines with colleagues in Missouri to work towards this common goal.”

Under the EPA grant, KDHE will distribute funds to participating agencies and landowners in both Kansas and Missouri.

In Kansas, these agencies include: the Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development Council, the Hillsdale Water Quality Project, the Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment at Kansas State University and county conservation districts. The Missouri agencies include the Osage Valley Resource Conservation and Development Council, the University of Missouri Extension Office and county conservation districts.

Local groups on both sides of the state line have participated in water quality protection activities in the Marais des Cygnes Basin since 1983.

“This EPA grant will fund projects to reduce nonpoint source pollution from both rural and urban areas. These sources of contamination can more quickly degrade the quality and availability of water resources and lead to increased water treatment costs,” said Sheryl Ervin, an environmental scientist and project manager with the KDHE Bureau of Water.

Some examples of activities that will be funded by the grant include upgrading failing septic systems; planting vegetation along shorelines; establishing alternate watering facilities for livestock, installing porous concrete surfaces in parking lots and creating patches of vegetation known as ‘bioretention cells’ along city streets.

The Marais des Cygnes Basin includes the Marais des Cygnes, Marmaton, and Little Osage rivers, as well as Pomona Lake, Melvern Lake, and Hillsdale Lake, which are vital to more than 125,000 residents in 13 counties throughout east-central Kansas (Allen, Anderson, Bourbon, Coffey, Crawford, Douglas, Franklin, Johnson, Linn, Lyon, Miami, Osage, and Wabaunsee), as well as four west-central Missouri counties (Barton, Bates, Cass, and Vernon). The basin encompasses 3,230 square miles in Kansas and 453 square miles in Missouri.

Click here to view the check presentation ceremony at Hillsdale Lake (.wmv)