Governor’s Column: Program important to state
This summer we will expand the Kansas Water Quality Buffer Initiative to include current northeast Kansas counties and additional river basins in southern Kansas.
The program provides financial incentives for local agriculture producers to plant trees and grasses in "buffer strips" between streams and fields.
The planted vegetation acts as a natural filter for farm chemicals and livestock waste.
With the expansion, landowners in about half of the Kansas counties can receive compensation to install buffers and reduce the runoff of non-point source pollution.
This year's expansion will add more than 700 stream miles to the program. We already have about 320 stream miles enrolled in the Kansas initiative.
The State Conservation Commission administers the Kansas Water Quality Buffer Initiative.
When used in combination with other conservation practices, the result is far less pollution finding its way into our streams and rivers in Kansas. Money spent on the program goes directly into proven management practices that reduce water pollution.
The Buffer Initiative provides an excellent opportunity for landowners to address water quality concerns using a voluntary, incentive-based approach. Kansas agriculture producers depend on the land and environment to make a successful living.
They, better than anyone, understand the importance of sound conservation practices and smart farm management.
As environmental awareness increases and water quality monitoring technology improves, voluntary programs like this become more important in our efforts to maintain clean water.
This environmental program is becoming a national model, and I am pleased that we have been able to expand it so quickly.
For more information concerning the Kansas Water Quality Buffer Initiative, interested individuals should contact the State Conservation Commission, their county conservation district or USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service office.