Cheney Lake Watershed: Farming Water Quality in Kansas

Case Study

Published: 
Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summary

The management of agricultural lands in the Cheney Lake Watershed is unique in that landowners have incorporated measures to improve water quality into their management practices. What began with informal discussions among area farmers about water quality is now a well-organized watershed-wide program aimed at improving water quality, protecting Wichita’s primary water source, maintaining fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing sediment runoff without sacrificing agricultural production. Among the roughly 1,000 farmers, more than 2,000 conservation practices have been implemented on a voluntary basis. The farmers of Cheney Lake Watershed have illustrated that responsible land management begins with the landowner and that a bottom-up approach to watershed management works.

This case study is the first in a series by PERC done in partnership with the Sand County Foundation with support from the Bradley Fund for the Environment.

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Brandon Scarborough is a research fellow at PERC currently focused on the use of water markets in the West to restore stream flows for wildlife, fish and other environmental amenities. He is just completing another project on carbon sequestration and the efficacy of using forest management to address climate change. His other interests include...
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Reed Watson is the executive director at PERC. He is also the Director of PERC's Enviropreneur Institute, an educational program and launchpad for environmental entrepreneurs. Watson’s research focuses on the implementation of market-based solutions to natural resource conflicts. With Terry Anderson and Brandon Scarborough, he coauthored Tapping...
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