Governor’s Column: Project a cooperative effort
Nearly a decade of planning and cooperation will culminate June 29 with a ground-breaking ceremony for the Milford Lake Habitat Restoration Project. Also known as the Milford Wetlands, this project will add more than 2,000 acres of multi-use wetlands to the north end of Milford Reservoir.
Employees of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks proposed the project in 1991. The effort took root when the Kansas Wildscape Foundation, a non-profit conservation group, agreed to take on the challenge of raising more than $1 million in donations. That money will match federal dollars available through a corps program. The 1998 Kansas Legislature also played a key role by adding $350,00 in memory of the late Rep. Steve Lloyd, a strong supporter of the project.
The efforts of Wildscape paid off last August, when an agreement was signed between the wildlife and parks department and the corps, paving the way for construction to begin. The corps will construct the wetlands, and the wildlife and parks department will manage the facility upon its completion.
The Kansas National Guard and U.S. Army are also partners in the project. Army companies from Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma will join the 891 Engineering Battalion of the Kansas National Guard in providing equipment and manpower for construction of the wetlands.
Western Re-sources is offering assistance by providing a cast donation and the services of their Green Team, a group of employees volunteering their time and skills for environmental projects across the state. The Green Team will partner with Martin Tractor of Topeka, to complete the earth moving work at one of the wetland cells.
With construction slated for completion in 2003, the Milford Wetlands will be the largest wetlands in the northern-half of the state. This $5 million facility will provide excellent habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds as they migrate through the Central Flyway. This area will offer diverse habitat for other wildlife and recreational opportunities.
It is a testimonial to public and private entities working for benefit of the environment and the people of Kansas. I commend Wildscape and all donors for making the project a reality.
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