Watershed Specialist Program

(Dan) I’m Dan Devlin of Kansas State University and I serve as the Director of the Kansas Center for Agricultural Resources and the Environment. And I want to talk to you today a little bit about the K-State Extension Watershed Specialist Program. It really started about 10 or 12 years ago in response to Kansas setting the total maximum daily loads. And there was concern about…we really need to focus resources and help our, particularly our rural farm citizens, help them implement best management practices to help conserve soil and reduce their impact on water quality. And so it started then and we had some… and so someone in the media made the suggestion what we really need is education and some technical assistance. And you know K-State Extension would be a good place to house that program. And so from there we had a number of ag groups as well as the state and then EPA 319 put some funds together at K-State to hire a series of specialists that would be trained on water quality and help farmers implement practices to reduce the impacts of water quality. And so it’s went from there. And the first few years we spent a lot of time on education, on really understanding the water quality issues We did that for about the first three years and now about the last 10 years we really spent our time on helping watersheds develop their watershed restoration strategies and then implement that. So, since that time they’ve put in… we’ve helped virtually hundreds of farmers implement really their water quality plans. Almost, I think, every one of the practices we worked with with our farmers have really all been voluntary. None of…some of them had some concerns with livestock. Some of it was cropland, but in general we work with individuals that want to voluntarily improve water quality and it’s been a really great success.

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