STAFFORD — Rattlesnake Creek and Middle Creek stakeholders in central Kansas have won funding from the government to work together to prevent erosion, floodwater and sediment damage in watersheds in areas that include Quivira National Wildlife Refuge near Great Bend.


On Nov. 24, U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., and Karen A. Woodrich, State Conservationist, Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service announced funding for the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program for the Rattlesnake Creek Watershed and Middle Creek Watershed. The programs will receive $725,000 for Rattlesnake Creek and $121,800 for Middle Creek to address water conservation efforts in Kansas.


"The agreement reached earlier this year between the Big Bend Groundwater Management District 5 and the Fish and Wildlife Service will help satisfy the water needs of both Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and local producers," Moran said in a release. "I appreciate Acting Chief Norton’s work to provide assistance from the Natural Resource Conservation Service to prepare a watershed plan, an important step forward to begin fulfilling the terms of the agreement at Quivira."


This project helps conservation efforts, which include water management, improving fish and wildlife habitat, and enhancing the surrounding agricultural community."


Middle Creek funding will support the planning and design of Floodwater Retention Dam Number 11. This dam will improve flood protection for property and agricultural lands downstream.


Rattlesnake Creek funding will be used for the development of a watershed plan for the Rattlesnake Creek Basin. NRCS will work with stakeholders to assess the existing resources, evaluate conservation alternatives and develop a plan to conserve and protect the area’s resources. The primary resource concern in Rattlesnake Creek Watershed is the inadequate water quantity including low surface water flows to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge.


Rattlesnake Creek Watershed consists of 151,509 acres located in a prime agricultural region with 4,587 farms producing $1.89 billion in crop and livestock sales annually. It provides surface flows to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge, which consists of 7,000 acres of wetlands, providing critical habitat for more than 300 species of birds on the central flyway, including threatened and endangered species.