Big Creek and Middle Smoky Hill Watersheds
Who We are and What We Do
The Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River Watershed Restoration And Protection Strategies (WRAPS) project began in November 2003 as a process where local agriculture producers, rural residents, along with city, county and state government could identify water quality and quantity concerns. The WRAPS group coordinates these efforts within the 2,400 square miles the watersheds encompassing reaching into portions of 10 counties in west-central Kansas which is home to Big Creek, the Smoky Hill River, and Kanopolis Reservoir. Since then much has changed in the process but much remains the same as we are committed to serve and educate the citizens of the watershed on water protection strategies. The program was initiated to protect and/or improve water resources in the area by serving as a liasion between the producer/citizen and federal government programs.
National Fix-a-Leak Week
So, how do you know if you have water leaks in your home? The best place to start is to look at water usage during winter months possibly in January, February, or March before outdoor watering starts. If a family of four is exceeding 12,000 gallons of water/month, leaks may be the culprit. If you have access to your water meter, check and record the reading and after two hours of NO water use, and then check the reading again. If the meter readings change, you must have leaks somewhere inside your home.
So now you know you’ve got leaks. Today is the perfect time to find those leaks and get them fixed.
- Toilet leaks are easily found and quickly fixed.
- Examine faucet gaskets and pipe fittings in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. to see if water if visibly present.
- Maintain outdoor irrigation systems.
- Replace toilets, showerheads, faucets and appliances if you still need to reduce your monthly water usage footprint.
To learn more about water leaks, visit EPA’s WaterSense Fix-a-Leak Week homepage.
Water quality videos
Watershed Specialist Stacie Minson provides specific advice for community members about how to protect water quality in your area.
Watershed Project Information
In 2011, the WRAPS group developed a 9 Elements WRAPS Plan to address the needs to improve water. The 9 Elements WRAPS Plan was approved on November 29, 2011 by the Kansas Department of Health & Environment and forwarded to the Environmental Protection Agency for approval. The WRAPS project involves partnerships to achieve the common goals to protect and keep sustainable a clean and safe water supply.
The 9 Element WRAPS Plan includes six priority subwatersheds (188,072.3 acres) in Ellis, Russell, and Ellsworth counties to focus on implementation of best management practices (BMPs) in order to reduce pollutant loading in local waters. The map above also depicts the priority areas noted as Target HUC 12s. The priority goals of the WRAPS Plan include: Cropland Targets (sediment, nitrogen, and phosphorus); Grassland/Rangeland Targets (sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and E. coli bacteria); and Urban/Residential Targets (sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, and E. coli bacteria). In working to improve the cropland targets, best management practices (BMPs) will be installed that could include: grassed waterways, conversion to minimum tillage or no-till, terraces, and buffer strips. Grassland/Rangeland target improvements could include: rotational grazing, reducing stocking rates, brush management, and alternative water supplies. To meet the Urban/Residential targets, improvement may need to occur at local waste water treatment plants, efforts by residents to pick up after pets and disposing of pet waste properly, proper placement and amount of lawn fertilizer, and conversion to xeriscape landscapes.
View the 9 Element WRAPS Plan.
BCMSHR Watershed Specialist
120 N. Main St
WaKeeney, KS 67672