Burns & McDonnell

Water supply planning & environmental studies


Courtesy of Burns & McDonnell

Client: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Completion Date: 1998

Services Provided

  • Surface water modeling
  • Groundwater modeling
  • Storage reservoir siting and assessment
  • Facility modifications
  • Water supply alternative evaluations
  • Water quality analysis
  • Hydrology and hydraulics
  • Cost estimating
  • Water supply engineering
  • Preliminary and design engineering
  • Baseline biological surveys
  • Threatened or endangered species
  • Wetland mapping and surveys
  • Fisheries and aquatic habitat studies
  • Cultural resources
  • Resource mapping using aerial photography and geographic information systems (GIS)

Project Summary 

Burns & McDonnell was selected by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to conduct a water supply planning study for the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in central Kansas. This comprehensive water supply investigation required a thorough evaluation of existing water supply sources, NWR facilities and upland and aquatic habitats, basin and NWR water rights, potential water supply alternatives, basin-wide water users, water use restraints, environmental issues and concerns, preliminary engineering design, and economic assessments.

The water supply study was divided into five tasks:

  1. Reservoir siting
  2. Aquifer management strategies
  3. Refuge storage/operations alternatives
  4. Analysis of groundwater supply to refuge
  5. Alternative comparison

Concurrent engineering and environmental evaluations were performed to screen potential reservoir sites. Sites that passed the screening underwent a more detailed evaluation, which included yield analysis, conceptual design, operations modeling and environmental analysis. The environmental analysis included: soils, land use, vegetation, wetlands, aquatic habitats, wildlife, threatened or endangered species, cultural resources and socioeconomics. Geographic information system (GIS) methodology was used as a tool to map and analyze the impacts of and the interactions among the numerous environmental variables.

Aquifer management studies evaluated areas in the watershed where water could be diverted from streams during periods of high flow for groundwater recharge, storage and recovery for later use during dry periods.

To gain more dependable water supply, possible modifications to on-site storage and operations were evaluated to improve conservation of water for use during key periods such as spring and fall bird migrations.

Analysis of groundwater supply to the refuge included a detailed groundwater model of the Big Salt Marsh. Groundwater flowing into this marsh provides an important and timely source of water into the refuge.

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