OSAGE CITY—The annual meeting of the Osage County Conservation District highlighted awards for the youth poster contest, essay and limerick awards, as well at the activities of the organization.
Keith Badger, chairman of the district, gave a brief synopsis of the district, its current activities and its future.
“It seems that the big focus is water,” Badger said.
Badger made reference to the dust bowl, and the goal of conservation districts around the state to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
“Things have not changed much,” Badger said. “The issue is siltation and usable water.”
Badger said this came into particular focus in Osage County.
“There’s several municipal water supply basins,” he said. “The rain that falls, most of it’s caught and goes through a reservoir somewhere.
“All man-made reservoirs are subject to siltation,” Badger said. “The rate of siltation and water quality, these are issues we have to address. The lake that is of most concern is Pomona Reservoir.
He said the lake was important due to the number of customers that rely on the lake to provide consistent water supply.
“The thing significant about Pomona reservoir is the size of the drainage basin,” Badger said. “Downstream, there are stakeholders and municipal water systems that count on outflow from the lake.”
Badger said it was up to farmers to help curtail sediment loss and preserve water quality. He displayed a graph showing the state’s current demand reaching its supply as soon as 2022 with current water rights contracts, and no later than 2075 is the state exhaust all possible water sources.
“If everything’s the same, in approximately 50 years, usable water supply will be gone,” he said.
The graph showed reduction in the lakes due to siltation, a major factor for the state’s reservoirs, including Pomona Lake.
“Some of the children and grandchildren could see that end it’s useful life,” Badger said. “That’s not what we want to see happen.”
He touted use cover crops to keeping the soil anchored all year long, and encouraged farmers and landowners in the room to act before the legislature requires it.
“What we don’t want to have happen, is regulation by an agency, but we are concerned about quality,” Badger said. “We’ve got to have a story to tell, that we’re taking care of our business. We’re going to make sure these water supplies are stable for years to come.”
Nearly half the evening consisted of presentation of various awards, the first being presented to Osage County Conservation District Manager Lori Kuykendall.
“She goes to schools, coordinates rentals, as well as this annual meeting,” said Badger. “We think she does such a good job, we nominated her for outstanding district manager, and she received that award this year at the annual convention.”
The annual conservation awards were presented to the family of Silver Farms, which received the Kansas Bankers Award, and the Kline Family, winner of the Young Farmer Award.
Other awards were presented to David Thompson for 20 years of service to the conservation district, as well as Wayne Litch, who was posthumously honored for 35 years of service to the district.
Poster, limerick and essay contest winners were honored, and special recognition was given to Nate Pitman, a 2014 contest winner who received an honorable mention at the state conservation meeting last November.
A pair of $25 awards were drawn and presented to two teachers whose students participated in the contest – Chelsi Gardner, Burlingame, and Jessica Kirkpatrick, Osage City.
The district approved 2014 meeting minutes and treasurer’s report, and elected elected Dave Combes and Sue Thompson as conservation district supervisors.
A meal was provided by Osage County banks, and prepared by the USD 420 kitchen staff, and additional door prizes were presented to adults and children.