The Watershed Act provides funding to project sponsors to plan, design and construct projects to address a wide range of natural resource concerns at the watershed scale, including fish and wildlife habitat improvements. USDA requires project applicants to first develop a Watershed Plan of the proposed improvement.
In coordination with partners, the District is working to provide a long-term sustainable remedy for the Quivira NWR impairment complaint.
On July 13, 2020, the District submitted an application to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) under the Watershed Protection and Flood Control Act (PL 83-566) (Watershed Act) to evaluate a streamflow augmentation project to supplement water supplies to the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge). This project has received letters of support from the Kansas Congressional delegation, U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), Kansas Water Office, The Nature Conservancy, and Kansas Farm Bureau.
On July 25, 2020, the FWS and District entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) wherein the parties expressed support for a streamflow augmentation project. These parties have been working together, and with other local partners, to address water needs of the surrounding communities while also meeting the refuge’s wildlife conservation purposes.
In December 2020, Big Bend Groundwater Management District No. 5 was awarded funding from NRCS to prepare a Watershed Plan-Environmental Assessment for Rattlesnake Creek Watershed Improvement. The District and NRCS have been working to co put together the necessary documents to begin the Plan-EA process. The FWS will be invited to participate as a cooperating agency and full partner in this Watershed Planning process. The first step in the process was the approval of the Statement of Work laying out the path for the Plan-EA. The Statement of Work was approved by NRCS and the District board in May 2021.
The next step in the process is to secure a qualified professional engineering firm to conduct the Plan-EA process. Currently, the District is soliciting statements of qualifications from professional engineering firms from across the nation. The deadline for interested engineering firms to submit their qualifications to the District is July 30, 2021 at 2:00 pm CST.