As the New Year approaches it is only appropriate that we at Friends of the Kaw reflect upon our accomplishments in 2010 and give thanks to all FOK supporters that have dedicated their time and money to Protecting and Preserving the Kaw. We thank you for your continued support and hope the New Year finds both you and your family well. As you may or may not be aware, Friends of the Kaw (FOK) was extremely busy this year in the areas of advocacy, education and enforcement. Please take a moment to look over our 2010 accomplishments and goals for 2011 (below.)
After years of watching our water quality deteriorate due to high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous, Friends of the Kaw determined in 2010 that we could no longer wait for the State of Kansas to impose numeric water quality standards to protect our streams, rivers and reservoirs. Based on these concerns, Friends of the Kaw sent a letter of intent to sue the Environmental Protection Agency for its failure to perform the nondiscretionary duty of imposing numeric water quality criteria for nutrients in the waters of the state of Kansas. Friends of the Kaw believed such action was necessary to protect the health and welfare of the residents of Kansas. It is well documented that excess nutrients, such as phosphorus and nitrogen, in our streams, rivers and reservoirs are the primary cause of toxic algal blooms. These algal blooms have been known to kill a variety of water users such fish, cattle, dogs and even humans. As an indicator of how prevalent this problem is in Kansas, Lovewell Reservoir in north central Kansas was closed for several weeks this summer and there were many complaints of foul tasting water in Topeka, Lawrence and Kansas City. Given the severity of the problem, Friends of the Kaw dedicated significant time and resources in 2010 to working with EPA, Kansas Department of Health and Environment and other interested parties in working on a negotiated settlement.
While we are very proud of our accomplishments in 2010, we realize that there is still additional work to be done in 2011 and for that we need your help. Without member donations it is very difficult for us to continue our fight to protect and preserve the Kansas River. As you can imagine, there are powerful lobbies that have lined up against us in our battle to see numeric limits set for nitrogen and phosphorus in Kansas. We need your help if we are going to have a chance at success. In that regard, we ask that you consider making a tax-deductable year end donation
to Friends of the Kaw so that we can continue with all our activities. As always we appreciate your continued support and recognize that Friends of the Kaw is only as strong as the passion of our members.
Wishing you a wonderful New Year!
Chad Lamer, President of Friends of the Kaw
P.S. Check out our Holiday Gift Offer
for a complimentary canoe rental for one of FOK's 2011 Educational Float Trips!
Friends of the Kaw's Major Accomplishments for 2010:
- Complete redevelopment of FOK’s website featuring Google maps by county with GPS referenced photos – see Where You Live and Work and take a virtual tour down the Kaw!
- Conducted over 16 organized educational floats allowing nearly 350 individuals to experience the Kansas River and surrounding lakes
- Creation of “Don’t Go with the Flow – Reduce Stormwater Pollution educational material, outreach programs and web pages.
- Conducted four workshops for De Soto High School Students, two teacher workshops for Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education and a geocaching/water quality day camp for Johnson County 4-H
- Creation of informational signage including a Kansas River Access map at both Lawrence and De Soto access ramps
- Creation of a demonstration rain garden near the De Soto access ramp at RiverFest Park.
- Educational booths at Earth Day celebrations in Prairie Village, Lawrence, Topeka and Manhattan, plus 27 other exhibits or presentations in the Kaw River Valley including the Kansas City, MO RiverFest over the 4th of July weekend.
- Organized two cleanups (Linwood and Lawrence)
- Benefited from River City Cook-Off, Jack Johnson Concert & Foundation, the Wild & Scenic Film Festival and FOK Annual Dinner and Silent Auction.
- Received a 2010 Kansas Association for Conservation and Environmental Education Excellence Award.
- Upgraded our email announcements with Vertical Response
Link to my website
FOK's 2011 Goals
- Complete River Ambassadors outreach program for middle and high school youth.
- Continue stormwater outreach advocacy
- Prepare FOK's campaign to deny in-river dredging operations for the 2012 permit renewal process by the Corps of Engineers
- Complete the Kansas River recreation trail with an access at the Maple Hill Bridge and add informational signage at access ramps
- Continue educational float trips and outreach with programs and informational booths
- Make progress on adding numeric nutrient water quality standards that make sense for Kansas
- Continue to monitor activities on the river and respond to public concerns
As always, the Kansas Riverkeeper and the Board of Directors for Friends of the Kaw have been hard at work discussing our goals for protecting the Kansas River and developing a strategy to implement these goals. One of the priority issues that came out of our most recent meeting was the need to engage and grow the membership. We realize that Friends of the Kaw has a vast network of highly educated and passionate members that truly care about the quality of the Kansas River and its environs. We believe that our membership base has historically been an underutilized resource in our efforts to protect the Kansas River and for that oversight we apologize.
To put it quite simply, we need your help if we are going to be successful in our mission to protect and preserve the Kaw for future generations. As you are well aware, an organization is only as strong as its members. Our goal this year is to increase our strength by doubling our membership and utilizing the resources that you as a member bring to our organization. One of the most effective ways to attract new members is for us to tell the story of the Kaw and the threats it faces.
You can help us reach our membership goal by suggesting organizations that may be interested in hearing a presentation on the Kansas River and putting us in contact with the leaders of those organizations. In the past we have presented to church groups, civic groups, youth groups and other nonprofits. We would like to share our new community mapping program with as many groups as possible - this information will be integrated into Friends of the Kaw's River Inventory. If you have any suggestions for potential speaking engagements please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email Laura Calwell at email@example.com.
One additional way you can help us this year is to make a tax-deductible, charitable donation to Friends of the Kaw. As you are probably aware, Friends of the Kaw is the only environmental organization in the state of Kansas that has a full-time paid employee dedicated to monitoring those issues that impact the Kansas River. While Friends of the Kaw has been very successful in writing grants, those funds are committed to specific projects and cannot be used pay to the Riverkeeper for the time she spends conducting her enforcement activities. We are asking you to give what you can and help us keep the Riverkeeper investigating polluters, patrolling the Kansas River and most importantly educating people about the wonderful opportunities a clean Kansas River brings to the citizens of Kansas. Making a tax-deductable charitable donation to Friends of the Kaw is easy. You can visit our website at http://www.kansasriver.org/content/donate and make your donation online or you can always mail us a check at: Friends of the Kaw, P.O. Box 1612, Lawrence, Kansas 66044.
On another note, our staff has been knocking themselves out this past month to design an updated and improved website that will go live next week. We hope that you will be impressed with the many new Google maps, improvements to the Kansas River Access map and information on counties and communities bordering the Kaw. Please send us your comments on the new website as we are always looking for ways to improve our message and provide information about the Kansas River.
As always, we thank you for being members of Friends of the Kaw and look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have any questions about Friends of the Kaw’s planned activities for this year or any other matter, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Riverkeeper.
Very truly yours,
Chad Lamer, President
Friends of the Kaw
P.O. Box 1612
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
785 312 7200