U.S. Water News Online
MANHATTAN, Kan. -- Trees once guarded the streams and
rivers that made living in Kansas possible.
Having such trees back in place is Debbie Goard's No. 1 goal as
the Kansas Forest Service's new statewide riparian forester.
Goard believes every Kansan can play a part in improving and
maintaining the state's water supplies. As part of that, she hopes to
help residents become more aware of Kansas' water problems, learn to
reduce pollution, and understand that "forests do have a place by
Kansas rivers. They were here before, and getting them back is one of
the best things we can do to improve water quality."
Trees help filter out the pollutants washing from urban concrete,
roofs, fertilized lawns, farms and feedlots, she explained.
"They'll do their job if we just let it happen," Goard said.
During floods, trees also protect the land itself, she said.
Following the widespread flooding in 1993, Kansas State University
Research and Extension scientists examined aerial photographs of the
Kansas River to compare streambanks before and after the flood. Many
acres of land had been lost.
"The only real exceptions had riparian areas with trees. The trees
had protected the land, as well as the waterway. And, the riparian
areas themselves had actually gained ground, due to the depositing of
sediment," the forester said.
Goard has first-hand knowledge of many of those areas. Before
moving into the position of watershed forester, she spent a year and
one-half working with the Kansas Forest Service on the state Forest
Inventory and Analysis.
Before that, she earned bachelor's degrees in both forestry and
biology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a master's
degree in forest hydrology from Oregon State University.
"Now I'll be working with towns, rural residents, government
agencies -- anyone interested in managing or establishing riparian
trees," Goard said. "I can discuss ideas with them, do any needed
technical analyses and provide a written plan. I can help them find
cost-share programs, connect with conservation agencies and even
locate equipment to use."
Goard will be working from Throckmorton Hall on the K-State campus
in Manhattan. She's available by telephone (785-532-3061) or e-mail
(firstname.lastname@example.org) to set up riparian-area discussions.
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