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EPA Recommends K-State Watershed Plan

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The Lower Big Blue and Lower Little Blue Rivers are part of a watershed draining into Tuttle Creek Lake. The EPA recently commended a watershed plan by staff from the K-State Office of Local Government.

A watershed plan for two Kansas rivers has been recognized as one of the nation’s best, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Staff from the Office of Local Government in K-State’s Department of Agricultural Economics helped develop a watershed plan for the Lower Big Blue and Lower Little Blue Rivers, a transboundary watershed in northern Kansas and southern Nebraska. The watershed drains into Tuttle Creek Lake, a flood control reservoir near Manhattan, Kan. The lake is impaired by phosphorus, total suspended solids and atrazine.

The EPA review states, “While the plan only addresses Kansas’ portion of the watershed, it is overall an excellent watershed-based plan. Every required component was fully addressed, and the information for components B-I were presented in an especially effective manner. The tables and maps made the information easy to read and digest and all of the information was tied back to meeting the goals of the plan; there was little extraneous information. It was also one of the few plans that included a brief explanation of the model used in the analysis, including why the model was selected, major assumptions, and data sources used.”

The review goes on to state, “Overall, the Lower Big Blue/Lower Little Blue River plan was one of the best reviewed, and it provides an excellent example of how to develop and write a watershed based plan.”

Staff members cooperating on the plan development include Josh Roe and Robert Wilson of the Office of Local Government in K-State Agricultural Economics, Sue Brown of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment (KCARE) and Aleksey Sheshukov of Biological and Agricultural Engineering.