Where did WRAPS come from?

The term "WRAPS" was coined by KDHE in response to the 1998 Clean Water Action Plan issued by the Clinton Administration. The Clean Water Action Plan directed the state environmental agency and the State Conservationist of each state to complete a "unified watershed assessment". Once the assessment was completed, states were then directed to develop "watershed restoration action strategies" (WRAS). Kansas' has long contended that restoration of damages is only part of the need and that action to protect water is also necessary, hence the term WRAPS. As used by KDHE, WRAPS referred to the development of action plans to address nonpoint source pollution sources on a watershed basis. WRAPS projects were initiated by watershed stakeholders and received financial support from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to address Total Maximum Daily Loads and related water quality concerns.

In 2003, a review of the Basin Sections of the Kansas Water Plan showed that watershed restoration and protection was a priority issue in most of the river basins of Kansas, and an interagency work group was appointed to develop a Water Issue Strategic Plan. The work group found that Kansas and the federal government have many different programs and activities that address related water resource management issues. The work group determined that much more could be accomplished through a collaborative watershed planning process that addressed not only water quality/pollution issues but the entire spectrum of watershed water resources needs.

The WRAPS initiative is the result of a long history of Kansas' water resource management programs and activities. Watershed planning and management is not a new concept in Kansas. Since the 1950's, watershed districts have been developing and implementing watershed general plans to address flooding and erosion concerns with federal and state assistance. The Kansas Department of Agriculture, Division of Water Resources has been initiating the development of subbasin (i.e. watershed) management plans since the early 1990's to address ground and surface water quantity issues in selected areas of western Kansas. The current WRAPS initiative is intended to address priority issues identified in the basin sections of the Kansas Water Plan through the development and implementation of WRAPS in priority watersheds.