A watershed is an area of land that drains to a common point such as a lake or stream. There are 88 organized watershed districts in Kansas, 10 have all or part of their boundaries in Butler County and 5 of those 10 are managed through the Butler County Conservation District Office.
The Kansas legislature established the Watershed District Act in 1953. The purpose of a watershed district is to construct, operate and maintain works of improvement needed to provide for water management within a watershed boundary. Watershed structures assist with flood control, sediment reduction and provide recreational and wildlife benefits.
Organized watershed districts have taxing authority (within limitations) and the power of eminent domain, in addition to other powers granted by K.S.A. 24-1209. Each watershed district incorporated under the provisions of this act is a political subdivision of state government.
A locally elected board of directors of three to fifteen members is responsible for administration of the watershed district. At least one director represents each subwatershed located within the district. The directors serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties. A watershed district board is required to have regular meetings (at least 1 per quarter) during the year. An annual meeting is also held for the election of directors whose terms expire, as well as to report on the financial condition and activities of the district including proposed projects.
Watershed districts may employ personnel to assist in the performance of their statutory powers and duties. Most watershed districts do not employ full-time staff. A contracting officer is hired to operate and maintain the watershed structures and provide administrative assistance during construction of flood detention dams.
Watershed Districts in Butler County
Butler County Conservation District