Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Impairment Complaint

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) owns and operates the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (Quivira), a wetland of international significance and part of the central U.S. flyway. Water is a critical component of its operations.

The Service’s water right for Quivira has a priority that dates back to 1957 and is located at the lower end of the Rattlesnake Creek basin, within GMD No. 5. The Service’s water right at Quivira allows it to divert up to 14,632 acre-feet per year at a maximum rate of 300 cubic feet per second (cfs).

After decades of voluntary efforts to resolve its concerns were unsatisfactory, the Service filed an impairment complaint with KDA-DWR in April of 2013. KDA-DWR then began its investigation of the alleged impairment.

KDA-DWR published an initial impairment investigation report on December 2, 2015. The initial report analyzed historical records and evaluated the effects that junior groundwater pumping have had on Quivira’s water supply using the GMD No. 5 groundwater model. The analysis indicates that junior groundwater pumping has impaired the Service from exercising its senior water right for Quivira. After two rounds of input, the final impairment investigation report was published on July 15, 2015 (below). 

No water administration occurred in 2016 and no water administration will occur in 2017 while basin stakeholders, led by GMD No. 5, continue work with the Service and KDA-DWR to develop a solution to the impairment. Documents related to the remedy development are below.

The impairment investigation progress and tentative plan is outlined at the bottom of this page.

Additional information on the proposed GMD No. 5 LEMA

Development of Impairment Remedy

 Description

 Document File

File Size  

Date Posted

Provided by

Letter from four Kansas members of Congress to the US Fish and Wildlife Service Letter from Congressmen to USFWS 110 KB 8/30/2018  Congressmen 
KDA response to KS Audubon Response to Audubon 252 KB 8/27/2018 KDA
Letter from KS Audubon society regarding impairment
KS Audubon Letter
159 KB
8/22/2018   KS Audubon
U.S. Fish and Wildlife request to secure water (1/7/2017)
Request to secure water 
368 KB
8/22/2018
Service
Comments on the proposed Big Bend GMD LEMA Plan (3/1/2018) Comments on Proposed LEMA
143 KB 3/5/2018 Traster
Crane Farms comments (2/25/2018) Crane Farms comments
9 MB 3/5/2018 Crane
Presentations on Proposed LEMA at GMD No. 5 Annual Meeting (2/15/2018) Video of the presentations (YouTube)   3/1/2018 DWR
DWR presentation on Impairment Remedy Requirements (2/15/2018) Quivira Impairment Remedy Requirements

Video of this presentation (YouTube)
2 MB 2/16/2018 DWR
Draft LEMA proposal
(February 2018)
Draft LEMA Proposal
7 MB 2/14/2018 GMD
Rattlesnake Creek Streamflow Response Regions, version 5 with cities and highways (2/14/2018) Rattlesnake Creek Response Map with landmarks 4 MB 2/15/2018 DWR
Improved irrigation/pumping relationship (1/9/2018) Improved irrigation/pumping relationship (Attachments)
Multiple  1/9/2018 DWR
KDA letter to GMD No. 5 regarding 2018 water administration, expectations for a remedy and calling for a public meeting (12/13/2017) KDA letter to GMD
184 KB 1/9/2018 DWR
Rattlesnake Creek Streamflow Response Regions, version 5 (11/16/2017)
Rattlesnake Creek Response Map
2 MB
2/6/2018
DWR 
Follow-up on questions from 11/10/2017 meeting (11/16/2017) Follow-up on 11/10/2017 meeting
86 KB 1/9/2018  DWR
 Modeling work to refine Zone A (version 4)(11/9/2017) Modeling work to refine Zone A (version 4)
1 MB 1/9/2018  DWR
Correspondence regarding draft "backstop" control provision options (10/20/2017) Correspondence regarding draft control provision options. (Attachments)
Multiple 1/9/2018 DWR
DWR request of data from GMD No. 5 related to end guns and modeling work (10/18/2017) end gun and modeling work data request
126 KB 1/9/2018 DWR
Second letter of comment from Alan and Rachel Crane (9/29/2017) Crane comments  3 MB  10/2/2017 Crane
DWR response to letter from Audubon of Kansas (9/29/2017) DWR Response to Audubon of Kansas
 196 KB  10/2/2017 DWR
Outline of LEMA plan elements needed to address impairment (9/8/2017)
LEMA plan elements outline
132 KB
1/9/2018
DWR
Letter of comment from the Audubon of Kansas regarding the impairment negotiations (9/6/2017) Audubon of Kansas
comments

 375 KB  9/14/2017  Audubon  of Kansas
Letter of comment from Alan and Rachel Crane regarding the impairment remedy and Mystery River Basin (8/30/2017) Crane comments  4 MB  9/27/2017 Crane
GMD No. 5 LEMA Proposal outline (8/11/2017) GMD5 LEMA Proposal outline 19 KB
8/17/2017
GMD
 No. 5
Email explaining work to develop revised response regions map (8/7/2017) Response map revision notes 
1.0 MB
 8/17/2017 DWR
Rattlesnake Creek Streamflow Response Regions
(revised 8/4/2017)
Rattlesnake Creek Response Map 
(Superseded 11/16/2017)
 2.7 MB   8/17/2017 DWR
DWR to GMD No. 5, additional explanation on Quivira slides (7/13/2017) Additional explanation on Quivira slides
186 KB 1/9/2018 DWR
KDA DWR presentation on remedy requirements beyond augmentation (draft analysis) (7/6/2017) DWR Presentation
(July 2017)
 2.0 MB  8/17/2017 DWR
DWR modeling work related to effect of varying level of pumping restrictions in two zones (6/19/2017) Model work (June 2017)
135 KB 1/9/2018  DWR
Fish and Wildlife Service response to GMD No. 5 second proposal (3/22/2017) Service response to second proposal   660 KB  4/19/2017 Service
GMD No. 5 Second Proposal (2/15/2017) GMD No. 5 second proposal  5.4 MB  2/17/2017 GMD  
 No. 5
Service conditions on potentially acceptable solutions (12/13/2016) Conditions for solution  156 KB  12/19/2016 Service
DWR letter to GMD No. 5 regarding Service response to GMD proposal (12/8/2016) DWR to
GMD No. 5  
 154 KB   12/8/2016 DWR
Fish and Wildlife Service response to GMD No. 5 proposal (12/1/2016) Service response to proposal  130 KB  12/2/2016 Service
GMD No. 5 proposal (9/8/2016) GMD No. 5 proposal  2.0 MB  12/2/2016 GMD  
 No. 5



Development of Impairment Investigation Report

 

 Description

 Document File

File Size  

Date Posted

Provided by

Final impairment investigation report Final Impairment Report  18.9 MB  07/15/2016  DWR
Comments from the second draft of the initial impairment investigation report Second draft comments  53 KB  07/07/2016  Service
Supplemental responses to comments received following the first draft of the initial impairment investigation report. Response to comments on Initial Report  458 KB  06/10/2016  DWR
Second draft of the initial impairment investigation report Second Draft Initial Report
Second Draft Initial Report with markup showing changes
 11.87 MB (w/o markup)
 12.91 MB(w/markup)
 05/29/2016  DWR
Comments from the first draft of the initial impairment investigation report First draft comments  8.3 MB  05/17/2016  Multiple
DWR reply to extending comment period on initial impairment investigation report Comment period extension letter  178 KB  04/08/2016  DWR
Supplementary Information on Quivira Water Management Quivira Water Management  3 MB  03/08/2016  Service
Service's Responses to Impairment Solution Questions Raised at 01/27/2016 Meeting Service's Impairment Solution Responses   579 KB  03/07/2016   Service
DWR Quivira File DWR Quivira Water Right 7571 File  99 MB  01/15/2016  DWR
Initial Impairment PowerPoint Quivira Wildlife Refuge Initial Impairment PowerPoint Presentation 2 MB  12/14/2015  DWR

Initial Impairment Report

Quivira Wildlife Refuge Initial Impairment Investigation Report 
(Corrected Figure 4 and Attachment 3)

 17 MB 

 12/02/2015 

 DWR

Modeling Presentation

Quivira Impairment Investigation Modeling Presentation

 3 MB

12/02/2015 DWR

PD Map

Points of Diversion in the Rattlesnake Creek Basin

632 KB

6/25/2014

DWR

Statutory Provision and Impairment Procedures

K.S.A. 82a-706b of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act states: “It shall be unlawful for any person to prevent, by diversion or otherwise, any waters of this state from moving to a person having a prior right to use the same…”  The Act charges the chief engineer with the duty to regulate use to prevent such “impairment” of senior water rights by junior water rights.

Regulations adopted pursuant to the Act provide for a 5-step process for impairment investigations and actions: 1) a complaint must be submitted in writing, 2) DWR Investigation, 3) DWR Report of Findings, 4) where impairment is found and action desired, the complainant must file a request to secure water, and 5) action by the chief engineer as long as required to aid the senior file in securing a larger portion of its water right.

Impairment investigations and actions in surface water systems are fairly straightforward. Impairment investigations involving groundwater are more complex and time-consuming. In 2012, regulations were amended to provide for more specificity in procedures for groundwater impairment investigations including increased opportunities for groundwater management districts to comment and help with impairment investigations, requirements for complainants to provide information showing that their pump system and well are adequate, and increased transparency by DWR by making data available and providing the effected water users with opportunity to comment.

Impairment Investigation Progress and Plan

Since receiving the Service’s letter, KDA-DWR has done the following:
  • Met with the GMD No. 5 Board and reported to GMD No. 5’s 2013 annual meeting on the request of the Service and how the investigation would proceed.
  • Met with the Service to confirm their intent for KDA-DWR to conduct an impairment investigation and to outline requirements for information KDA-DWR would need from the Service to begin its investigation.
  • Received additional information requested of the Service to define their specific needs.   
  • Used the GMD No. 5 groundwater model to determine the magnitude and timing of the effect of junior groundwater pumping on the Rattlesnake Creek at Quivira.
  • November 4, 2014, KDA-DWR presented groundwater modeling results for nine alternative historical scenarios at a public meeting in St. John.  A summary PowerPoint is available in the table above.
  • December 2, 2015, KDA-DWR published its initial impairment investigation report for review and comment.
  • December 10, 2015, KDA-DWR  held a public meeting in St. John to present a summary of the initial report’s findings, answer questions and seek input.
  • January 15, 2016, KDA-DWR published entire DWR Quivira file in the table above.
  • May 13, 2016, end of review period for Initial Report.
  • May 30, 2016, KDA-DWR to publish second draft of Initial Report in the table above.
  • July 1, 2016, end of review period for second draft of Initial Report.
  • July 15, 2016, KDA-DWR to publish Final Report in the table above.
  • August 15, 2016, basin plan to implement remedy is submitted to chief engineer.
  • September 9, 2016, GMD No. 5 submitted a remedy proposal to the Service
  • December 1, 2016, the Service responded to the GMD No. 5 proposal
  • December 8, 2016, KDA-DWR requested that GMD No. 5 develop a revised proposal and advise the basin that DWR will not administer water rights during the 2017 irrigation season but if an agreement is not reached DWR may administer in 2018.
  • February 15, 2017, GMD No. 5 submitted a revised proposal to the Service
  • March 22, 2017, the Service responded to the revised proposal
  • May 2, 2017, discussion between KDA-DWR and GMD No. 5 on developing a remedy
  • June 19, 2017, KDA-DWR provided backup of modeling work related to the effect of varying level of pumping restrictions in two zones
  • July 6, 2017, KDA-DWR presented remedy requirements beyond augmentation
  • July 13, 2017, KDA-DWR provided "additional explanation on Quivira slides"
  • August 7, 2017, KDA_DWR provided refined Zone A map (version 3, version 2 was an intermediate version but not presented)
  • August 11, 2017, KDA-DWR met with GMD No. 5, GMD presented an outline of a proposed LEMA to remedy impairment
  • August 30, 2017, KDA-DWR received letter from Alan and Rachel Crane
  • September 6, 2017, KDA-DWR received letter from Audubon of Kansas
  • September 8, 2017, KDA-DWR met with GMD No. 5 and provided an outline of LEMA plan elements needed to address impairment
  • September 29, 2017, KDA-DWR responded to Audubon of Kansas letter
  • October 18, 2017, KDA-DWR requested data from GMD No. 5 on end guns and model runs related to augmentation
  • October 20, 2017, KDA-DWR provided draft options for "backstop" control provisions
  • October 30, 2017, KDA met with GMD No. 5 manager and attorney to discuss LEMA development
  • November 9, 2017, KDA-DWR provided refined modeling to define Zone A (version 4)
  • November 10, 2017, KDA-DWR participated in GMD No. 5 board meeting
  • November 16, 2017, KDA-DWR followed up on questions from 11/10/2017 meeting
  • November 17, 2017, KDA-DWR met with GMD No. 5 LEMA committee
  • December 13, 2017, KDA-DWR wrote to GMD No. 5 regarding 2018 water administration and expectations for developing a remedy for impairment and calling for a public meeting in early 2018