AOK Featured in Kansas City Star: Advocacy for Water, Streams & Wetlands

Trump administration’s Waters of the United States rule removes critical protection from streams and wetlands vital for drinking water and wildlife

The Kansas City Star featured guest commentary by AOK’s executive director, Ron Klataske, on EPA’S Proposed Rule that will eliminate protection for millions of acres of wetlands and thousands of miles of streams: 

Don’t wash away protections for Waters of the United States, Ron Klataske, Kansas City Star

Anyone who cherishes streams and wetlands, the wildlife and ecological values provided by these natural features, and the environmental services that streams and wetlands provide to enhancing water quality and reducing flood damage, have ten days to file online comments.

Comments from the public and organizations will be accepted until April 15, 2019.

Click the button or link below to file comments online, or view instructions for submitting comments by mail:

Some of the potential points to include in your comments can be viewed as a PDF documents.

Although this op-ed provided an important opportunity for public outreach and dialogue (and we hope you share it widely), it was limited by word count, and the photos were restricted to the online version. There is much more AOK would like to share with members, conservation partners, and the public, and this eNews helps to share some of that information and continue the conversation. The photos featured below, which were published online with the op-ed, help to illustrate the importance of this issue.

Two families enjoying a stream in the Flint Hills

Two families enjoying a stream in the Flint Hills

Section 404 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) is designed to protect wetlands and the natural courses of streams and rivers from physical destruction including dredging and diversion, drainage, and filling. As explained in the Kansas City Star op-ed, the Proposed Rule would eliminate Section 404 protection for most wetlands and many streams.

To illustrate how important Section 404 of the CWA is for protection of streams—especially streams that do not flow constantly—we are providing two photos of the same stream in the Flint Hills. The photo above illustrates the value of streams for conservation and discovery of our natural world, clean water, recreation, and quality of life. 

The photo below shows the impact of recent destruction to same stream, less than three miles downstream, which is currently unlawful without a 404 permit. If the Proposed Rule is adopted, however, this type of stream and wetland destruction will likely drastically increase throughout the Great Plains and nationally without any review or permit requirement. There will be hundreds of streams in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and thousands in other states that will lose protection.

Downstream from previous photo

Downstream from previous photo

Only one public hearing was held on the Trump Administration’s Proposed Rule, a wholesale rollback of regulatory protection for streams, wetlands, and water resources. It was held in Kansas City on February 27-28, 2019. Audubon of Kansas presented a statement and it is provided for your review. Audubon of Kansas is a leading conservation organization advocating for wetlands (including the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge), streams and other critical wildlife habitat. This 2016 article on streams in our magazine, PRAIRIE WINGS, reflects this ongoing commitment.

Please consider filing online comments to the EPA as soon as possible and supporting AOK’s hard work.

Ron Klataske  Executive Director

Ron Klataske

Executive Director

Ryan Klataske, PhD  Special Outreach Director

Ryan Klataske, PhD

Special Outreach Director


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Audubon of Kansas is an independent grassroots nonprofit organization that promotes appreciation and stewardship of natural ecosystems in Kansas and the central Great Plains, with special emphasis on conservation of prairies, birds, other wildlife, and their habitat. It is neither funded nor administered by the National Audubon Society. All donations are dedicated to our work.

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Note: This article originally appeared as an AOK e-Newsletter. Sign up to stay informed and receive similar articles. To see the original e-News, click here.