Friends of the Kaw Receives Awards and Focuses on Dredging Concerns

Friends of the Kaw Receives Two Major Awards Patagonia Environmental Grant: Patagonia has awarded Friends of the Kaw a grant for $8,000 dollars in support of their work to fight five local dredging companies’ current proposal to expand dredging on the Kansas River by one million tons, or close to 50 percent over current dredging levels.

Sand dredging is a major threat to the integrity of the Kansas River. During the next year FOK will use the Patagonia grant to mobilize public opinion against the renewal of dredging permits. This effort will include a petition drive, letter writing campaigns, public gatherings and community float trips to publicize the environmental destruction caused by dredging. FOK will also be developing guidelines to help stakeholders improve the process of appropriately siting off-river pit mines as an alternative source of sand.

“Now is the time for the remaining dredgers on the Kaw to shut down their environmentally destructive operations and move to sand pit mines, like other successful dredgers have done,” says Kansas Riverkeeper, Laura Calwell.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is now accepting public comment on the future of sand and gravel dredging on the Kansas River until December 9, 2011.

The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Conservation Award: The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) presented our Riverkeeper with a 2011 conservation award for outstanding achievement in raising environmental awareness on November 12th. The award comes from the Daughters of the American Revolution Conservation Committee - dedicated to the preservation of the natural resources of our country, its soils, minerals, forests, waters and wildlife. Laura said she is deeply honored and welcomes all support for protecting the Kansas River.

Annual Dinner and Silent Auction Spreads Dredging Awareness Springhill Suites in Lawrence was home to the Friends of the Kaw Annual Dinner and Silent Auction on November 17th. Over $3,000 in donations to the non-profit organization were given at the event. The guest speaker was Mike Hayden, former Kansas governor. Mike recently served as the Secretary of Kansas Department of Parks and Wildlife and is now the Executive Director of the Missouri River Association of State and Tribes (MoRAST). Hayden spoke of water issues and the need for dredging operations to be moved off the Kansas River.

Lance Burr, honorary board member of Friends of the Kaw, was accompanied by his family and honored for his many years of achievements in Kansas River advocacy. Some of his notable achievements include the formation of Friends of the Kaw with a small group of neighbors in 1991 to fight application for a dredge site several miles north of Bowersock Dam, successfully helping mount public support to deny four sand dredging applications between Topeka and Lawrence (Topeka to Lawrence is permanently off limit to commercial dredging operations), arranging with Governor Sebelius’ staff a meeting to discuss forming a task force to study moving in-river dredging operations to pit mine, and serving on the Board of Directors from 1997 to 2009.

By Christina Glauner

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