Kansas River Watershed Study

Photo of Canoeing WatershedPurpose

Improve water quality and maintain water quantity in the four federal reservoirs in the planning area.


The Kansas Regional Planning Area covers nearly 9,115 square miles and encompasses all or part of 23 counties in northeast Kansas. There are four major federal reservoirs in the region: Clinton, Milford, Perry and Tuttle Creek. All four of these reservoirs store water supply, as well as 3 multipurpose lakes with water supply storage; Centralia, Banner Creek and Mill Creek reservoirs. Surface water and ground water are used equally in this region. Initial discussion with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas City District (USACE-KC) began in 2015. The collaboration between federal, state, and local stakeholders has led to numerous initiatives within the region. In 2017, the Kansas River Watershed Study was again enhanced by the addition of the Sustainable Rivers Project. The funding for this project was awarded to the Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to look at the Kansas River. 


Many of the projects listed below are ongoing; however, projects such as the Sustainable Rivers Program (SRP) have initial collaborative events being completed by September 2017. 

  • Streambank erosion assessments completed above Milford, Perry, and Tuttle Creek Reservoirs
  • The Milford Lake Watershed Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) pre-proposal submitted Date, 2017. If approved, projects could be completed within the next five years
  • A Public Assistance to States (PAS) agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Kansas City District for sediment modeling was entered in to on Date, 2017, and is set to continue for two years
  • Actions that will help limit Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in Milford Lake continue to be put into place in 2017: roughfish removal, water level management plan modifications, and upstream BMP’s

Current Updates

In 2017, funding for the SRP was awarded to the Kansas Chapter of The Nature Conservancy to evaluate flows in the Kansas River. Efforts underway include a review of existing data and management documents, the solicitation of input from a wide variety of water users, and a discussion of potential changes to provide better management.

Also within the Kansas River Watershed, streambank erosion assessments were created/updated for watersheds above Milford, Perry, and Tuttle Creek Reservoirs identifying the targeted areas for streambank stabilization projects.

In 2017, a Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) was developed and submitted for the Milford Lake watershed that would potentially put millions of dollars into BMP’s for this area.

Reservoir sediment management is the focus of the 2017 PAS agreement with USACE-Kansas City District. The USACE will use the PAS to develop a sediment transport model, which will further the hydrosuction concept as a potential sediment management tool for existing reservoirs in Kansas. Tuttle Creek Reservoir holds the most promise due to its size, location, and current loss of storage at over 40%.

Hydrologic and Geomorphic Changes on the Kansas River


Depending on the project, funds for this study are a combination of state funding, federal funding, in-kind work, and partnerships. Additional funding sources will be pursued as additional projects are identified and initiated.

Project Manager

Cara Hendricks

KWO Office
900 SW Jackson Street
Suite 404
Topeka, Kansas 66612
Phone: 785-296-3185
Fax: 785-296-0878
Toll Free: 1-888-526-9283
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