There is a standing offer to meet with any interested group wishing to discuss the issue and its implications. For additional information, contact Tom Stiles at (785) 296-6170 or by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The Public Participation Process
Kansas intends to use the existing Water Planning Process to create opportunities for coordination with other agencies, interest groups, and the general public. Internally, the Department of Health and Environment will convene appropriate intraagency work groups to address specific issues of TMDL establishment and implementation. Such work groups include staff from the Bureau of Water (dealing in water quality standards, municipal permits, livestock permits, and nonpoint source pollution) and the Bureau of Environmental Field Services (dealing with monitoring, biomonitoring, use attainability analysis, data analysis, geographic information, and planning). The Watershed Planning Section will interact with the other state agencies on TMDLs through the coordination functions of the Kansas Water Office, the Kansas Water Authority, and the Kansas Water Plan.
Agency coordination is assured through monthly agency meetings, the Governor's Water Quality Coordinating Committee, the Kansas Water Authority's Quality Committee, and staff-level interactions. The Quality Committee of the Kansas Water Authority receives briefings on water quality protection activities of the state, particularly those which implement the Kansas Water Plan. The Committee makes policy and budget recommendations influencing implementation activities centered on the improving the water quality conditions of the state. The committee meets coincidently with the quarterly meetings of the Kansas Water Authority in January, April, July, and October and provides public forums.
Basin Advisory Committees (BAC) are present in each of the 12 major river basins, appointed by the Kansas Water Authority. They advise the Authority on basin issues and concerns relative to the programs and policies of the Kansas Water Plan. The 11 members of the BAC reside in the basin and represent some aspect of water use in the basin. The chief responsibility of the BAC is to advise the Kansas Water Office and the Kansas Water Authority on the issues of the basin, the desired direction of applicable state programs, and guidance of such programs through the provisions of its Basin Plan. Such plans reflect the direction and priorities of the basin relative to issues of water supply, water quality, flooding, environmental protection, fish, wildlife, recreation, water conservation, and data and research. These plans represent the basis for setting priorities through the Annual Implementation Process.
The State Water Planning Process is typically framed around the state fiscal year. Beginning in July, issues of policy and basin specific concern are investigated and analyzed, culminating in the possible release of a preliminary draft of a policy or basin subsection of the Kansas Water Plan in January. During the initial six months, background information is collected, preliminary ideas are discussed, and evaluation of the issues is completed at the BAC and Water Authority levels. The preliminary drafts, approved for release by the Authority in January, summarize the issue and its background information and present initial options and recommendations for public consideration. Public meetings are held throughout the state in March. After which, public comments are incorporated, and a working draft of the proposed subsection is prepared for Authority review at its April meeting. The Authority approves the working draft for release to the public for formal comment and testimony at public hearings in June. After those hearings, the comments are considered in redrafting the subsection into a final draft for presentation and approval to the Kansas Water Authority at its July meeting. (The subsection will be approved by the Kansas Water Authority at a conference call in June, prior to submission of the TMDLs to EPA). Should the Authority approve the subsection in July, it becomes part of the Kansas Water Plan, applicable as state policy and authority for implementation, including using funds from the State Water Plan Fund.
Funding issues are handled though the Annual Implementation Plan which is framed around the budget preparation schedule of the state agencies. The process typically starts in January and February with the collection of information from the agencies on the status of achieving the previous and current year implementation objectives, current activities, raised issues, and suggested direction for the next fiscal year. That information is presented to Basin Advisory Committees in the spring. The Authority issues the implementation plan at its July meeting in order for state agencies to incorporate the recommendations in their next fiscal year budget requests submitted on September 15. At the October meetings of the BAC and the Authority, the agency budgets are analyzed relative to the implementation plan and recommendations are made from the Authority to the Governor and Legislature regarding allocations of State Water Plan Funds to the various state agency programs.
With the impending work on TMDLs across the state, the Authority has authorized expenditures from the State Water Plan Fund for developing and implementing TMDLs. Plans also call for the incorporation of specific TMDLs and priorities for implementation within the basins into each of the specific Basin Plans of the Kansas Water Plan. The proposed Basin Plan subsections will include background information, including the impaired water bodies in the basin and the associated pollutants; the linkage of TMDL development to the Water Quality Protection Strategy policy subsection of the Kansas Water Plan; priorities for TMDL implementation in that basin, identification of programs to be used in implementing TMDLs in the basin; and any data, monitoring, and research needs in the basin associated with TMDLs.
By incorporating TMDLs into the Basin Plans, the Kansas TMDL process will use the public participation aspects of the State Water Planning Process. Briefings will be made to the Kansas Water Authority at its quarterly meetings. Monthly meetings, with the BAC in the basin where TMDL work is being conducted, are anticipated. The March public meeting in that basin will center on the question of TMDLs and their implications for basin activities. Likewise, the June public hearings will take testimony not only on the TMDL subsection of the Basin Plan, but on the TMDLs themselves. Additionally, basin specific TMDL public forums will be scheduled for April of each year at a couple of locations within the basin to facilitate a dialogue among the agencies, the general public, impacted dischargers, interest groups, and municipalities on the TMDLs and their implementation.
KDHE is also scheduling regular meetings with the interest groups representing municipalities, agriculture and environmental concerns. Such organizations include the League of Kansas Municipalities, the Kansas Farm Bureau, the Kansas Natural Resources Council, etc. Basin specific interest groups will also be solicited for input and advice as the TMDLs specific to the water resources of their concern are developed. Additionally, specific task forces will be used for unique water resources or pollutants to help establish TMDLs for those situations.
The input received through these forums and the other outlets provided by the State Water Planning Process will be incorporated within the submittal of the TMDLs to EPA by June 30 of each year. Approximately two weeks after those TMDLs are submitted, KDHE will also submit the approved Basin Plan TMDL subsection of the Kansas Water Plan approved by the Kansas Water Authority prior to July 15.