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The Watershed
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Our Rural/Urban Partnership

The most significant achievement of the Cheney Lake Watershed is the partnership of rural/urban stakeholders. Because the City of Wichita recognized the value of correcting pollution problems prior to water entering the reservoir, the City agreed to provide partial reimbursement to farmers for implementing structural practices and incentives for improved management. These water quality improvements are not often income generating assets for the farm. Also, for the farmers, implementation carries the obligation of maintaining the practices for the long term.

Voluntary implementation of water protection practices has been initiated successfully through one-on-one contacts with neighbors of the CLW board members administering the project. Small informal meetings are held throughout the winter months in machine sheds, kitchens, community buildings and coffee shops. Board members personally invite and encourage other farmers to attend. An ideal meeting size is less than fifteen people.

Funding From Wichita

The watershed staff works with each farmer to develop solutions to water quality concerns on their farm and to seek cost share funding to implement the practices. The majority of practices are eligible for existing state and federal cost share programs at a cost share rate of 50-70% of the county average cost of implementing that practice.

The City of Wichita has agreed to reimburse the farmers for an additional 30% of the county average cost. Wichita has also agreed to reimburse farmers for 50% of the cost of up to two miles of permanent perimeter fence for grasslands that were established under the Conservation Reserve Program. When a CRP contract expires, the fencing program provides an incentive to keep the grass for grazing instead of returning the acres to crop production.

Within this partnership between watershed farmers and the City of Wichita, the farmers win when they install practices that improve their sustainability and sometimes their economic returns. The City wins because the amount of pollution entering the reservoir is reduced and the life of the reservoir is extended.

Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc.
18 East 7th Street - South Hutchinson, Kansas 67505
Phone: 620-669-8161 ext. 4
Fax: 620-669-5496

Cheney Lake Watershed, Inc. does not accept unsolicited advertisements at this fax number.