K-State PRIDE Program, Healthy Ecosystems-Healthy Communities
The Healthy Ecosystems-Healthy Communities program works with communities through a public engagement process to protect their local water supplies and natural resources. The program is based on a participatory natural resource management process that engages stakeholders on multiple levels of decision making. This is achieved in a well-defined systematic process: we facilitate public meetings of local stakeholders, help them organize to conduct self-assessments of their local resources, and work with them to identify water quality projects most appropriate for their community's capacity and natural resource needs.
We provide additional services to communities and citizens to create a "watershed-wide community" to help them understand their watershed, its issues, and their opportunities to participate in the WRAPS process to protect their water resources.
We conduct community natural resource planning and assist with BMP selections and implementation.
We work with WRAPS to create awareness of the watershed community. We organize and conduct workshops to educate the public about water quality , facilitate public meetings with communities and other watershed stakeholders to increase public awareness of watershed water quality issues, WRAPS goals and service provider technical assistance opportunities, conduct watershed stakeholder analysis, and work with focus groups to identify their needs, perceptions of water quality, preferences for technical assistance, and solutions to local water quality problems.
We write news stories and newsletters to educate the public about water quality, promote watershed meetings and successful demonstration projects or BMP programs, and facilitate college/university services or service learning programs' work with communities.
Examples of service learning programs with communities: rain garden designs for parking lot runoff, public relations campaign, economic impact analysis for recreational water resource, sustainable recreational trail construction approaches in riparian areas, and emergency community assistance services.
Urban storm waters are associated with many pollutants and opportunities for BMP adoption. In the Healthy Ecosystems-Healthy Communities (HEHC) program communities have implemented the following BMPS: Household Hazardous Waste Collections, Forest-Trails Landings, Land Clearing, Stream Clean-ups, Brush Management, Recreation Area Improvements, Recreation Trail/Walkways, Trash and Litter Control, Field Border plantings, Forest-Erosion Control, Recreation Land Grading/Shaping, Stream Crossings, and Urban Filtration structures. In addition, the communities complete an assessment of their water resources, native wildlife and plants, local land uses, community infrastructure systems (including stormwater drainage systems) and their cultural/historic resources to develop "in community" knowledge of the status of their natural assets.
In addition to a small ($5000) mini-grant from the 319 program, these communities have completed a community planning and assessment process that strongly supports funding applications to non-EPA/KDHE funding agencies to expand their storm water/natural resource protection efforts using other funding sources to reduce their reliance on 319 funds for their water quality projects.