Assessments Result in Better Targeting of Streambank Stabilization Projects
The protection of riparian and wetland areas, when systematically implemented and targeted above water supply reservoirs, may significantly reduce future sediment loads, extending storage capacity. An approach that targets entire reaches in the highest priority areas for stabilization, instead of individual scattered sites, is more effective at reducing sediment loads. In an effort to identify the highest priority stream reaches, the Kansas Water Office is conducting assessments using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and stream water quality monitoring data in the watersheds above water supply reservoirs. As assessments are completed, results are shared with Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) Stakeholder Leadership Teams (SLTs) and other agencies to guide prioritization of streambank restoration to reaches where erosion is most severe.
The assessments quantify annual tons of sedimentation from streambanks within a reservoir’s watershed and identify the specific reaches of stream from which the majority of sediment is contributed. Estimated costs for streambank stabilization are included with the assessment aiding in the planning for future restoration projects.
Another form of erosion contributing to sedimentation in many watersheds in Kansas is the development of gullies alongside streams. Assessment of gully erosion, where appropriate, is included in the assessments.
As described by Marlene Bosworth, Coordinator for the Delaware WRAPS team, “One of the most difficult tasks our watershed Stakeholder Leadership Team (SLT) faces is accurately targeting areas of the watershed where BMP implementation can do the most good. The Kansas Water Office assessments are a valuable tool we have used to help identify those areas where sediment loading is the highest so that we can focus our sediment control efforts there. When BMP implementation dollars are limited, this type of targeting is essential,"
Continued development and use of these GIS-based assessments will ensure that funding is targeted towards addressing the areas with the highest potential for reducing sedimentation and extending the life of our reservoirs.
Below are the completed assessments in DRAFT form: