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Governor Kelly Calls for Collaborative and Innovative Approach to Water in the Rattlesnake Creek Basin

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Letter Follows Request to Federal Government to Expand Access to Conservation Funding for States Facing Severe Drought

By the Kansas Office of the Governor

 

TOPEKA, Kan. — Governor Laura Kelly submitted a letter to the Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) last Friday calling for the agency to partner with local communities to find innovative solutions to secure the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge’s senior water rights without harming the local agriculture industry and regional economy.

“In addition to supplying water to the Refuge, the Rattlesnake Creek Basin is a vital source of water for farmers and rural communities in south central Kansas,” Governor Laura Kelly said. “I’m asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that we do everything we can to reduce harm to our agricultural sector and the vibrant economy it supports throughout the region.” 

The Rattlesnake Creek Basin has long provided water to the region’s agriculture industry while providing sufficient water for migratory and resident wildlife in the Refuge. The Refuge is managed by the USFWS, which earlier this year renewed its call for water. Reductions in groundwater pumping from the Rattlesnake Creek Basin for irrigation, livestock facilities, municipalities, and industry may lead to economic hardships for local businesses and surrounding communities.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Kelly’s support in her letter to the USFWS urging the agency to continue to seek a collaborative solution for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge impairment,” said Kent Moore, Board Member of the Kansas Corn Growers Association and farmer from Iuka. “The impacted communities and stakeholders have been working tirelessly on this issue and significant progress is being made finding innovative solutions that benefit the refuge and that recognize the critical role that agriculture provides to our state’s economy. Our rural communities depend on agriculture to provide the bedrock that supports local services, schools, hospitals, and employment opportunities.”

Governor Kelly’s full letter to Martha Williams, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can be found here. More information about the Governor’s previous letter, requesting the Department of the Interior to open additional funding opportunities for conservation in states like Kansas, is available here.