On October 25, The Kansas Department of Agriculture Division of Water Resources received notification of the official position of the Fish and Wildlife Service related to the impairment of the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge operated by the Service.
According to the notification, “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will not make a request for water to the State of Kansas for Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Fiscal Year 2020. Throughout the year, the Service will continue to work to find local, voluntary, collaborative and non-regulatory solutions, including augmentation, to address the water needs of the community and the wildlife conservation purposes of the refuge before determining if more formal measures are necessary to ensure the refuge’s water rights are secured. We look forward to working with the Kansas Department of Agriculture, the Kansas congressional delegation, and all water users to develop concrete milestones and lasting solutions.”
Based on this position, KDA-DWR confirms it will not issue any administrative orders regarding water use in Groundwater Management District 5 for the 2020 growing season.
Public meetings regarding this issue were held in St. John, Kansas, on October 21. At that time, the official position and timetable of the Service was uncertain, so KDA-DWR was unable to provide assurance there would be no water administration in 2020. This notification provides that certainty for farmers and ranchers in the Rattlesnake Creek Basin.
For extensive information on the Quivira impairment and all actions and public information surrounding the issue, visit www.agriculture.ks.gov/Quivira.
Source: Kansas Department of Agriculture