E-News for Sept. 14, 2020
09/14/2020 - Weekly KRWA E-News
USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19
USDA Rural Development continues to take steps to help rural residents, businesses, and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, including opportunities for relief for Water and Waste Disposal Programs. Additional measures to help communities were announced last week. Please bookmark the USDA web page and check back regularly as circumstances are changing daily and the width and depth of their responses to your questions and concerns will certainly increase.
Hays Helps Pay for Developer's Stormwater Retention Project
The developer of the new Hilton Garden Inn and Convention Center north of I-70 at Hays is getting $130,000 from the city's Stormwater Reserve Fund towards construction of the project. The stormwater retention project will also benefit downstream areas in the city and incorporates a water quality component. "The bottom of the drainage area is designed with a certain soil mixture and plants that allow water to be filtered before it goes downstream," Jesse Rohr, Public Works director told city commissioners, last week, "which is very important when we're talking about our MS4 permit from KDHE. It's a requirement to provide such things and we consider it a best management practice." [source]
Drone Survey Reveals Wichita 'Council Circle' Monument on a Ranch in Kansas
The lost city of Etzanoa or the 'Great Settlement' is thought to have been home to up to 20,000 Native Americans at one point, with the city occupied between 1450 and 1700 CE. Its location wasn't pinpointed until 2017 after the discovery of a cannonball placed the site of a battle in the area, close to Arkansas City. It's not clear exactly what happened to Etzanoa in the 18th century and beyond – European disease, warfare, and enslavement may all have played a part – but it was eventually abandoned and almost lost to time. Utilizing modern technologies, including drones with thermal, near-infrared (NIR) and visible light sensors, archeologists now think they've found what's known as a 'council circle' monument in Etzanoa, and while no one is quite sure exactly what these circles were used for, they would have been significant sites for the community of the time. The circular ditch measures some 50 164 feet in diameter and is 6.6 feet deep. It matches other uncovered earthworks in the area of a similar shape, and has been picked out of a survey site of about 44.5 acres. Today, the site is used as a cattle ranch. [source]
Missouri Warns Public Against Dumping Aquariums
After a bass angler caught a tropical, 10-inch oscar fish while fishing at Blue Springs Lake near Kansas City, the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) reminded citizens that it is illegal to dump aquariums into lakes, ponds, and rivers. Non-native fish and aquatic plants can become invasive and harbor diseases that upset the ecological balance for native species. They often out compete natives for food and habitat because they don’t have native predators or foragers. Undesirable non-native fish can crowd out sport fish or baitfish they feed on. Invasive aquatic plants can completely choke a pond, river, or lake, harming native fish and making those waters difficult for use by anglers, boaters, and swimmers. Kansas has similar laws making it illegal to release any exotic species into Kansas waters. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism asks all anglers that might catch an exotic fish to not release it back into the water. [source]
Solving a Mystery From the Dust Bowl
Why, during an infamous drought and heatwave, would grasses more abundant in cooler and wetter climates suddenly invade some 135,000 square miles of the south-central U.S. as an historic heatwave and drought swept the middle of the United States? Known as the “Dust Bowl paradox,” researcher Alan Knapp and his colleagues detail a four-year artificial drought experiment carried out in the Kansas and Wyoming grasslands that offers a solution to the mystery of the Dust Bowl paradox. They discovered that it had less to do with the amount of precipitation and much more to do with when that precipitation falls. [source]
Kansas Sees Historically Low Number of Tornadoes During 2020
The National Weather Service office in Dodge City has recorded only six tornadoes across its 27-county forecast area during 2020 — well below the annual average of 28. Last year saw 29 tornadoes touch down across those counties. “Going back to 1991, the lowest tornado count for our warning area was seven,” said Mike Umscheid, storm chaser and meteorologist for the Dodge City office. “If we don’t have any more tornadoes this year, we will break that 30-year record for lowest number of tornadoes.” Scientist don't have a conclusive answer for why this year has seen such a low number. But they also remind us that tornado season isn't completely over. According to Chance Hayes, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist for NWS Wichita, there have been 108 tornadoes reported in Kansas since 1950 over the months of September through December. “We do have kind of a secondary season for severe weather,” Hayes said. “It’s part of that transition from summer to fall.” [source]
Kansas 4-H'ers Launch Program to Teach Water Quality
Nearly two dozen Kansas 4-H members have taken it upon themselves to educate residents in their local communities about their role in protecting nearby waterways. Their message: Many things we do in our yards and businesses affect the quality of water in our community. "It's been eye-opening for these kids to see how industry and homeowners in cities can implement practices to help with runoff coming off our parking lots and streets or coming out of a factory," said Cheri Nelsen, a Kansas 4-H youth development agent in the Wildcat Extension District in southeast Kansas. [source]
Greensburg Featured by APOA
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association featured Greensburg in a recent online article. Naturally, the association featured the Greensburg Municipal Airport, which opened in Phase I with a 3,200-foot turf runway and an aircraft parking area with tiedowns. The city is working on funding the next phase: paving the runway and expanding it to 4,000 feet with turnarounds, a taxiway, and a terminal building. But the post also highlights the Big Well Museum and Visitor Information Center, which covers three main topics: the preserved well and the story behind it, the tornado, and the rebuilding of Greensburg. The well was dug from 1887 to 1888 by men using hand tools like picks, shovels, and a pulley and rope with half a barrel to haul up dirt. It was the town’s main water source until 1932; it became a tourist attraction in 1939 and museum officials say more than 3 million visitors have visited. As many Kansans already know, the well survived the tornado but the modest visitor area around it did not. The new multilevel museum opened in 2012 with a more elaborate visitor experience. You can descend a spiral staircase about 60 feet into the 109-foot-deep-by-32-foot-wide well and climb up to a second level with an overlook of the town. Labels on the glass point out the few buildings that survived the twister and information on new buildings. [source]
Widespread frost and freezes occurred last week on the plains in South Dakota, Wyoming, and western Nebraska. Record breaking cold weather also arrived in Kansas last week, but hot and dry weather prevailed through most of the period before it arrived. As a result, no areas in Kansas experienced notable improvement on the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. Moderate drought expanded south from Nebraska into north-central Kansas and abnormally dry conditions also expanded in central and eastern Kansas. Meanwhile, conditions west of the state line continue to deteriorate. A La Niña Advisory was issued last week by the NOAA/NWS/CPC. La Niña conditions developed during August, and there’s a 75% chance they’ll hang around through the winter. Every La Niña is different, and there are no guarantees, but La Niña boosts the chances for a warm, dry winter in Kansas. The likelihood of La Niña was factored into NOAA’s 3-month outlook for precipitation, which indicates the likelihood of below normal precipitation this fall and winter.
Current U.S. Drought Monitor maps for:
Arkansas River Basin, High Plains Region, North-Central Region, Southern Plains Region and State of Kansas
E-News is compiled and edited by Ken Kopp, KRWA. Subscribe to this weekly newsletter by e-mail to email@example.com with subject "subscribe krwa e-news."