The forth statewide “Governor’s Conference on the Future of Water in Kansas Conference” was held on November 18-19, 2014 in Manhattan, Kansas. The conference was highly successful with 570 attendees on Day 1 and 555 attendees on Day 2. Attending the conference and giving the welcome was the Governor of Kansas, Sam Brownback. Several state and national senators and representatives were present. Invited speakers addressed topics such as Influencing Change Conversations, Watershed Implementation and Art, and Regionalization of Water Supplies in Minnesota. Thirty-eight volunteer scientific and 5 invited presentations were presented in plenary and concurrent sessions. A showing of the film “When the Wells Run Dry” was presented at the Flint Hills Discovery Center. Thirty-one scientific posters were presented in the poster session. An undergraduate/graduate student poster award program was conducted to encourage student participation with twenty-one students competing. The next conference will be scheduled for fall of 2016 and anyone is involved in water issues or has an interest in water issues in the state is highly encouraged to attend. Please watch the KCARE website for information.
A new innovative approach to stabilizing streambanks is being put into practice in the Upper Lower Smoky River Watershed. Tree revetments are being used for stream bank restoration. These revetments are structures that are created from interlocking trees in the stream in order to slow down the flow of the water and reduce stress on the streambank. They are located along the outside bend of the meandering stream and are intended to mimic a natural system.
In order to make the revetment, a tree that is to be used is harvested and a vertical cut is made into the streambank. The tree is laid in the cut with the root ball in the bank of the stream and the top limbs extending into the middle of the stream at a distance that is no further than 1/3 of the stream bankfull width. The desired length of the tree including the root wad is 30 feet. The branches should be kept intact as much as possible. After the tree is anchored in the bank, the water flow will naturally be directed away from the eroding bank. The calmer water around the tree will create a habitat for aquatic species.
Scientists at K-State Research and Extension are studying limited irrigation, subsurface drip irrigation, irrigation scheduling, mobile drip irrigation, water sensors, remote sensing and the economics of irrigation and policy. Irrigation research is aimed at maximizing the use of water to meet the demand for food and forage and to sustain the rural and state economies.