Funded Projects2021 Funded Project: Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams
Protecting Wetlands, Streams and Habitats
The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) has a mission to ensure the future of wetlands, streams and adjacent riparian habitats as an integral part of our Kansas heritage and landscape. The organization recognizes that if people can have positive and safe experiences on rivers, they are more likely to value and protect those resources. Therefore, as part of a new KAWS effort, the Safe and Accessible Rivers Initiative involves adding street crossing and river mile information to the upstream sides of bridges along the Arkansas River National Water Trail (ARNWT). Such information is critical for paddlers to know the distance they have traveled and for first responders in emergency situations.
Ensuring Enjoyable and Safe River Usage
In honor of Chris’ love for the outdoors and people, the Chris Mikesell Foundation assists organizations like the KAWS that preserve and protect the environment, as well as create opportunities for people to experience nature safely. Therefore, the Chris Mikesell Foundation provided a $1,000 grant to the KAWS in 2021 that was to be used for the 18-month bridge signage project along the ARNWT.
Benefiting Paddlers, First Responders and Water Initiatives
The funds from the Chris Mikesell Foundation assisted the Safe and Accessible Rivers Initiative with project management, supplies, installation and post-project marketing of the new safety features. The grant was paired with a grant from the Evergy Green Team. Long-term benefits of the bridge signage project along the ARNWT include the following:
- Paddlers along the ARNWT, such as residents of Barton, Rice, Reno, Sedgwick, Sumner and Cowley County, can more easily track their location and distance. If an emergency is to occur, paddlers can more quickly obtain assistance based on their location.
- First responders, such as local Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, can more quickly respond to paddlers, fishermen and hunters who are having emergencies, including life-threatening situations.
- The improved river safety fosters greater river recreation participation and, ultimately, greater support of the ARNWT and the Arkansas River. Increased river recreation will provide a much-needed direct link between communities and support for important water issues such as water quality and quantity.
To see a comprehensive history of organizations and causes the Chris Mikesell Foundation has supported, view all Funded Projects.