Kickapoo Surface-Water and Land Use Impacts
On behalf of the Native American Rights Fund, SSP&A investigated impacts of watershed land use and conservation practices on the surface water supply for the Kickapoo Tribe of Indians in Northeast Kansas. Land use changes, including construction of ponds, sediment and flood-water control structures and application of Best Management Practices to agricultural and range land, were evaluated with respect to their impact on runoff that would otherwise be available to the Tribe in the Delaware River. SSP&A conducted hydrologic and climate analyses to characterize variations in runoff over the past several decades, GIS analyses to characterize land use changes, and crop analyses to assess changes in watershed water demand. These analyses indicated that agricultural conservation measures, while advantageous for crop production, had resulted in the retention and consumptive use of water on croplands, with a consequent reduction of runoff to surface water and reduction of water available at the Tribal point of diversion. The analyses provided motivation for negotiations over water uses within the watershed and discussions over identification and funding of alternate water supplies to ensure adequate water availabilty for the Kickapoo Tribe.