A gift from the trust of a late Kansas City outdoorsman may go a long way toward finding a remedy for Kansas’ ailing streams.
David T. Beals III passed away in 1987 after a full life in the outdoors, fishing, hunting and horseback riding. Now his charitable trust will ensure that his legacy lives on.
The trust recently gifted $2 million to the Nature Conservancy of Kansas, earmarked for a David T. Beals II Healthy Streams for Kansas Initiative. The main goals will be:
▪ Establish long-term, large-scale protection of remaining pristine streams, headwaters and springs.
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▪ Restore and protect degraded streams.
▪ Increase awareness of the problems facing Kansas streams and to inspire action for stream conservation.
▪ Improve water quality throughout Kansas.
“It has stuck in my craw that Kansas streams are among the most abused in the nation,” said Rob Manes, state director for the Nature Conservancy in Kansas. “A 2012 study showed that three-quarters of the stream miles in Kansas are impaired for some type of human use. But they have been neglected.
“Now, through this program, we will work toward some solutions.”
The Nature Conservancy, which is dedicated to protecting and restoring critical habitat, hopes the new program will make a long-term difference in the health of Kansas streams.
It will start by hiring a full-time stream conservation manager and by funding graduate-level fellowships. From there, funds will go toward on-the-ground projects that will improve stream health.
The Nature Conservancy plans to set up model projects to showcase what can be done. It also will collaborate with universities, scientific groups, government and private entities to ensure that the programs with the highest return on investments will be used.
“We will absolutely need partners,” said Kris Knight, director of conservation for the Nature Conservancy in Kansas. “We can’t do this without the help of private landowners.
“But we think this program has a real chance to make a long-term difference.”