KSMG Working Group
Effort continues to address Corps/EPA guidelines and changes to the KSMG that reflects more reasonable mitigation debit scoring. An on-going effort to work with KDWP&T to recognize watershed project benefits as mitigation credits has yielded very little. SAKW continues the efforts. The US Army Corps of engineers has promised the issuance of a public notice to open the KSMG for potential revisions.
Conservation Easements: Perpetuity versus Life of the Project
Many watershed districts are finding very difficult to secure conservation easements that protects mitigation areas. At the present time the US Army Corps of Engineers require conservation easements into perpetuity. SAKW was able to negotiate a watershed exception that addresses termination of the easement when a dam has been decommissioned and no longer poses an impact to the environment. It is generally felt, that the "life of the project" time limit for conservation easements makes more sense and is much more acceptable by landowners. SAKW has worked with our legislative representatives in Washingtoon as well as the Kansas legislature to secure their support for a regulation change that would allow a "life of a project" time limit. As of August 14,2017 SAKW has the blessing of Repr. Sloan and Senator Kerschen that resulted in the Kansas Revisor of Statutes office to produce the first draft of Kansas "Life of Project Legislation". A hearing for the legislation is scheduled before the Kansas House Water and Environment Committee on January 18 in room 582-N of the State capitol.
NO action was taken on legislation. SAKW plans to take action that may lead to future legislation.
Legislative efforts have allowed KDA/DOC to be a third party agent in the Section 404 permitting process. Memorandum of understandings are available for districts to pursue this option for their mitigation plans.
Public Law 566 Appropriation:
Along with several states, Kansas watershed disticts are working on proposals for projects to compete for $150 million dollars of operation funding to the PL-566 program administered by NRCS. These funds would fund already planned dams and any new planning initiative projects. SAKW has provided technical assistance to several of the districts working on the proposals.