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.