The three major conservation goals in Kansas are soil conservation, flood control, and protection of the state’s native plant and animal life. Federal agencies active in conservation include the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Forestry Service, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the United States Army Corps of Engineers. State agencies involved in conservation include a forestry, fish and game commission, a water resources board, a conservation commission, and a park and resources authority.
Soil erosion has damaged extensive areas of farmland in Kansas. The most severe damage has occurred in the central and western parts of the state, where in some places as much as 75 percent of the topsoil has been stripped off by erosion.
Much of the damage occurred during the prolonged drought of the 1930s, the notorious Dust Bowl years on the Great Plains. During those years, wheatlands left fallow and over-grazed grasslands with little grass cover were exposed to the forces of erosion. High winds picked up the loose topsoil and carried it away in great swirling dust storms. Since the 1930s the widespread adoption of improved farming techniques has helped prevent further serious soil losses. Wind and water erosion have been reduced by terracing and the planting of wind barriers. Farm ponds help to control water runoff.
The statewide soil conservation programs have also helped to reduce springtime flooding caused by runoff. However, the principal flood-control programs are those regulating the flow of water in the rivers of the state.
The programs are integrated with those of adjoining states and are often part of multiple-purpose projects that include provisions for flood control, irrigation, hydroelectric power generation, and recreation. The largest of these federally organized projects is the Missouri River Basin Project, which includes flood-control dams and storage reservoirs on the Republican and Smoky Hill rivers as well as on some of their tributaries. A major environmental problem is runoff from agricultural land, which is carrying agricultural chemicals into drinking water. In 2008 the state had 11 hazardous waste sites on a national priority list for cleanup due to their severity or proximity to people. Between 1995 and 2000, the amount of toxic chemicals discharged into the environment remained stable, changing by less than half a percent. "Kansas" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia
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