H.B. 2925 would designate certain reaches of the Kansas River as recreational reaches and certain parts as multi-use reaches. The reaches would be designated by river mile marker, with 0 being where the Kansas River empties into the Missouri River and 170.4 being where the Kansas River begins near Junction City. The bill would designate river mile 0 (Kansas City) to river mile 51.8 (Lawrence) and river mile 72 (near Perry) to river mile 125 (near Wamego) as multi-use reaches. River mile 51.8 (Lawrence) to river mile 72 (near Perry) and river mile 125 (near Wamego) to river mile 170.4 (Junction City) would be designated as recreational use reaches.
The bill would define multi-use reach to mean a reach of the Kansas River where any use authorized or not prohibited by law is allowed. The bill would define "recreational use reach" to mean a reach of the Kansas River where commercial and industrial activities that require a permit pursuant to K.S.A. 82a-301 et seq. (these statutes require a stream obstruction permit from the Division of Water Resources of the Kansas Department of Agriculture) are prohibited except for public water supplies, wastewater and stormwater outfalls, electric utilities, flood control and drainage works, bridges, or buried transmission lines and pipelines.
The bill would reaffirm that persons who commit any of the following along the Kansas River would be subject to prosecution under the appropriate statutes: criminal trespass; littering; injury to a domestic animal; criminal hunting; obstructing, injuring, damaging, or destroying property; or any other violation of law.
Lastly, the bill would require that before any public access, boating facilities, ramps, or docks are built on the Kansas River, within or adjacent to an existing drainage district, that written approval be obtained. The written approval would have to be obtained by the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks from the drainage district or from the owner of the property affected by the location of the public access, boating facilities, ramps, or docks.
Several conferees appeared before the House Environment Committee expressing support for the legislation. Those included representatives of the following entities: Kansas Aggregate Producers' Association; Kansas Canoe Association; Kansas Chapter of the Sierra Club and the Kansas Natural Resource Council; the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks; and the Friends of the Kaw. Also appearing in support of the bill was Representative McClure.
Several individuals, including some representing drainage districts, appeared before the Committee in opposition to the bill because of their concern over the issue of recreational access to the Kansas River and how that access impacts landowners. Several of these individuals were constituents of Representative Packer, who also made comments to the members of the House Environment Committee regarding recreational access issues.
The House Environment Committee amended the bill to redefine the term "recreational use reach" and to restate that a person who commits certain crimes such as criminal trespass and littering along the Kansas River would be subject to prosecution.
The House Committee of the Whole amended the bill to require written approval for the building of any public access, boating facilities, ramps, or docks on the Kansas River.
The fiscal note on the original bill indicates that there would be no fiscal impact.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supplemental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.