Restoring Senior Water Rights to Quivira National Wildlife Refuge

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge. Photo by Ryan Klataske

Restoring the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s senior water rights and making flows available to the Refuge is a legal and ecologically essential responsibility of the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources (DWR)—and an advocacy priority for Audubon of Kansas. The Refuge’s water supply has been regularly and substantially impacted by junior groundwater pumping. According to a DWR report, over the 34 years reviewed, shortages of greater than 3,000 acre-feet occurred in 18 years. Likewise, in 2013, Audubon of Kansas articulated important improvements needed in the “Draft Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment” for the refuge, and strongly supported the goal to “Actively conserve and, as appropriate, improve environmental conditions within refuge boundaries to promote sustainable native ecological communities and support species of concern associated with this region of the Great Plains.”

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