Cost-share program funds local landowners’ forestry practices along streams in the Marais des Cygnes River Basin
The Marais des Cygnes Forestry Initiative is a combined effort of the Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development (RC&D), the Hillsdale Water Quality Project (HWQP), and the Kansas Forest Service (KFS) designed to promote environment-enhancing and wildlife-friendly forestry practices along streams in the Marais des Cygnes River Basin. The basin covers all or portions of Johnson, Linn, Douglas, Franklin, Crawford, Miami, Lyon, Anderson, Allen, Bourbon, Wabaunsee, Osage, and Coffey counties.

The initiative focuses on forestry management practices that restore and protect water quality. Installing forest buffers along riparian areas decreases stream bank erosion, filters sediments and pollutants entering waterways, and decreases water temperatures by providing shade, which increases the amount of dissolved oxygen in the water, benefiting fish and other aquatic life.

“Trees stabilize banks with extensive root systems that decrease water velocity, allowing sediments to deposit in forested areas,” says Ryan Neises, RC&D watershed forester. “This reduces downstream flooding and improves water quality by increasing soil-holding capacity. In existing forested areas, maintenance of riparian buffers is necessary to ensure that trees remain healthy. Forest improvements increase desirable tree growth that not only absorbs more pollutants but provides profit when the trees mature and are ready to harvest.”

The Marais des Cygnes Forestry Initiative provides a cost-share program to eligible landowners interested in completing the following best management practices: reforestation, forest stand improvement, tree planting, and nut planting. Eligible landowners receive 60 percent reimbursement of expenditures.

To qualify, landowners must own 10 contiguous acres of woodland or lands suitable for growing trees and maintain an approved management practice for 10 years. Forestry projects in the Marais des Cygnes River Basin are ranked by priority practices set by the Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development Grant Management Committee. Priority will be given to practices that are located within Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) areas, improve water quality, adjoin streams, and occur on productive soils.

This Initiative is administered by the Lake Region RC&D and funded through an EPA 319 Grant issued by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. To submit an application or to obtain more information, phone Neises at 785-242-2073 or e-mail him at