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Conversion of existing farm ponds to wetlands in agricultural landscapes for mitigation, land use treatment and conservation with a perspective toward climate change

Date: 
2014 to 2016
Primary Contact: 
Research Location: 
Delaware River watershed, Kansas

Summary

Most of the wetland losses in Kansas were from draining and conversion of small to moderate wetlands located in arable lands. This same landscape is now replete with constructed ponds often categorically called “farm ponds”. These ponds vary in size and landscape position, and capture and retain water draining various land uses and covers. This project will identify, characterize and classify Delaware River Basin ponds and their catchments to systematically assess their individual potential for conversion or modification to provide functions associated with constructed wetlands (CWs). It has already been observed that many aging ponds are evolving into wetlands as they become shallower and wetland biota colonizes these waterbodies. This project will identify those important elements and procedures necessary to establish a potential “pond to wetland” conversion program to address possible mitigation, land use treatment, conservation and biodiversity needs in those watersheds that might best benefit for these activities.  Funding: Kansas Water Office, 2014-2016, $174,693​

The benefit to landowners of this program is that

  1. We will provide free information about the physical dimensions of each of 100 farm ponds studied (using engineer-quality survey equipment).
  2. We will provide free data about the water chemistry of 20 of the farm ponds.
  3. If we receive funding to continue, select farm ponds will converted in a trial demonstration.  These will not be considered wetlands in a legal sense, thus will not be subjected to any state or federal laws.  

2015 Update - 600 farm ponds in the Delaware River watershed have been randomly selected, and we will begin visiting them and obtaining landowner permission to survey 100 ponds.

2016 Update - We completed the initial survey of 98 ponds (during an early heat wave) and are revisiting 20 of the ponds for a vegetation and water chemistry survey.  The Kansas Water Resources Institute has provided additional funding to take cores of 9 of the ponds to determine how much sediment has accumulated since their construction.

500 farm ponds in the Delaware River Basin

Map: 600 farm ponds in the Delaware River Watershed.  Click to enlarge.  We will seek permission to sample the 100 farm ponds in green, and continue through the list until we have (nearly) reached the 100 pond target.

2017 Update - The project has been completed!   Click here for final report (7 MB)

Click here to download data in MSExcel files.  

Click here to save the MSAccess database.   (Save file to your computer, then open it)

 

Funding
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Kansas Water Office, $174,693 ($131,172 real dollars, $43,521 match)


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