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In early 2006 there was a small group of natural resource professionals that had an avid interest in Kansas riparian areas. They started meeting as a group in June of 2006. At that time the Kansas Forest Service had a watershed forester who chaired the group.  The goals and objectives were written at the first meeting.

In Kansas the central hardwood forests of the United States transition into the grasslands of the Great Plains. For this reason there is often question and disagreement between the natural resource professionals regarding where trees and shrubs belong in the Kansas landscape and where they do not. Woody encroachment, declining populations of upland birds, invasive non-indigenous species, and water quantity demonstrate the need for natural resource professionals to reach some consensus on this issue.

Bob Atchison has proposed the appointment of a working group of natural resource professionals representing KBS, NRCS, KFS, KDWP and Extension to develop shared guidelines and policy to determine appropriate vegetative types and their placement in the Kansas landscape.

Kansas WRAPS Work Group
now considers KRWG to be a “sub-committee” of their group all underneath the KS Natural Resources Sub Cabinet to the Governor.

Desired Outcomes

  1. Agency personnel will work together to address riparian vegetation management issues, formulating a policy for assessing riparian vegetation and recommending management options.
  2. This working group will form the nucleus of an inter-agency natural resources review board to address other natural resource management issues in the future.
  3. The possible uses for land will be determined by soil, elevation, hydrology, and climatic factors so that management recommendations are appropriate for the site.
  4. For each land use possibility, a list of vegetative species will be developed that will meet land use and riparian health goals.
  5. The development of site classification and vegetation recommendations will result in consistency in recommendations between agencies.
  6. By jointly developing riparian management recommendations, riparian areas in Kansas will benefit from improved management.

Three specific projects the group wants to accomplish are:
A.    Update Steam Corridor Management Guide.  (Phil Balch, Watershed Inst & SCC)
B.    A white paper on the role of trees and grass in Kansas Riparian Areas
C.    A paper on the historical condition of riparian Areas in Kansas. (Fort Hays State, Mark Eberly) May be published in the Fall of 2008

Other desirable outcomes or questions/answers are:
1.    What are proper functioning riparian area characteristics in grazing lands in Kansas?
2.    Management guidelines for livestock in riparian areas.
3.    The role of fire in riparian area management in Kansas.
4.    How do you restore riparian areas that are not functioning properly?
5.    How do you control, manage, or remove undesirable woody vegetation in riparian areas.

The group agreed that the following working definition will be used for this group.
•    RIPARIAN AREAS are ecosystems that occur adjacent to watercourses or water bodies.
•    They are distinctly different from the surrounding landscape because of unique soil and vegetation characteristics that are strongly influenced by free or unbound water in the soil.
(This definition came from NRCS and was accepted widely in the 1990s)

The group viewed riparian slides that Paul had bought and discussed what proper functioning condition might be, and what might be included in the rewrite.

Paul will contact Rob Reschke with SCC about rewriting the Stream Guide.
Request a query of supplies of the old guide in Conservation Districts around the State.
Phil Balch will be contacted to discuss how to coordinate efforts with the rewrite.
Mike will work on T&E species in Riparian Areas.
Dwayne will work on the role of fire.

All Group members are to bring draft works and photos that they would like to see included in the revision.