This Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) case study examines how agricultural landowners in the Cheney Lake Watershed have developed an effective voluntary watershed-wide program to implement measures to improve water quality into their management practices. This case study is part of the Property and Environment Research Center’s “Water as a Crop” series.
What began with informal discussions about water quality among area farmers in the Cheney Lake Watershed is now a well-organized watershed-wide program aimed at improving water quality, protecting Wichita’s primary water source, maintaining fish and wildlife habitat, and reducing sediment runoff without sacrificing agricultural production. Among the roughly 1,000 farmers, more than 2,000 conservation practices have been implemented on a voluntary basis. The farmers of Cheney Lake Watershed have illustrated that responsible land management begins with the landowner and that a bottom-up approach to watershed management works.