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The Kansas Riverkeeper

Friends of the Kaw is the only environmental organization in the state
of Kansas that has a full-time, paid, non-governmental advocate - the Kansas Riverkeeper - dedicated to monitoring the health of the Kansas (Kaw) River. It's a big job as the Kaw is 171 miles long and the watershed is the size of Ohio. The Kansas Riverkeeper was the first member of the Waterkeeper Alliance in the Missouri River Basin - we joined in 2001. Today the Waterkeeper Alliance membership has tripled to just under 200 members internationally, but there are still only a small handful of Keepers in the upper Missouri and Mississippi River Basins.   

The Kansas Riverkeeper's first priority is to respond to information that poses a threat to the health of the Kaw - whether it is
     - investigating sites via airplane or boat,
     - reporting problems to appropriate agencies,
     - making comments on proposed legislation or water quality                         regulations,
     - or educating and involving the community to take specific action. 

The Kansas Riverkeeper communicates and cooperates with the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the United States Army Corps
of Engineers (USACE), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment
(KDHE), city and county governments and the community in general on
pollution problems concerning the Kansas River. However, it is the Kansas Riverkeeper's job is to hold government's and community's "feet to the fire" and find solutions to pollution problems.  

Dumping of any type of waste in our streams is illegal and often goes unreported or unchecked by our federal and state health and environment agencies. If you witness any suspected violations please call the Pollution Hotline: 1-866-RIV KEEP (758-5337) or contact us online to report activities that you would like the Riverkeeper to be aware of for possible investigation.

If you make a report to the Kansas Riverkeeper you will be consulted on appropriate actions, apprised of results and when needed assisted with appropriate contact information to directly make reports to the proper authority.

The current Kansas Riverkeeper is Laura Calwell. In her role as Riverkeeper she works as a teacher, scientist, investigator and media spokesperson and coordinates all activities of Friends of the Kaw with the supervision and assistance of the Board of Directors. Laura has served as the Kansas Riverkeeper since August of 2003. She also assists Friends of the Kaw's very capable staff in the writing and administration of grants, development and expansion of our website, and many other day to day activities.

Laura holds a BS in Education from Kansas State University and has been a life-long advocate for clean water. Laura is a founding board member for Friend of the Kaw and served for 3 years as the first secretary for the organization, as President for 4 years, and wrote the application to the Waterkeeper Alliance to create the position of Kansas Riverkeeper.