kansas river and missouri river wetland and Stream umbrella mitigation Bank Site 1 -
little Stranger Creek
Leavenworth County, Kansas
Located in the top priority watershed for restoration in Kansas, the 68-acre Little Stranger Creek mitigation site is the initial project site of the Kansas River and Missouri River Wetland and Stream Umbrella Mitigation Bank. This umbrella mitigation bank, the first in Kansas, will compensate for authorized impacts to wetlands and streams as a regional mitigation program across most of northeastern Kansas.
The immediate floodplain of Little Stranger Creek has been returned from row crop agriculture to its historical state of riparian buffer and a mixture of forested, scrub-shrub, marsh, and wet prairie wetlands. Most of the site’s 21 acres of wetlands are located in the flat fields adjacent to Little Stranger Creek which have been row crop fields for decades. However, several small wetlands were also constructed across the site in minor drainages to establish a variety of wetland habitats across the parcel. More than 19 acres of prairie were established next to the site’s wetlands, buffering the wetlands from the adjacent agriculture and low density residential land uses.
An eroding portion of Little Stranger Creek was stabilized using a longitudinal peaked stone toe. Also, past agricultural alterations to the site’s smaller streams were reversed. Specifically, the original path of a channelized intermittent stream was restored to its original path. Two ephemeral streams that were partially or entirely removed by agriculture were also re-established. Wide riparian buffers were planted with diverse native trees, shrubs, grasses, and forbs to replace the existing degraded riparian corridors.
This site’s combination of wetlands, forested areas, streams, and prairies will provide a valuable mixture of ecosystems for numerous species that use both wet and dry habitats for different parts of their life cycles, particularly amphibians and water birds. In addition, this mitigation site surrounds an adjacent 24-acre approved mitigation site that itself includes riparian buffer widening and channel improvements along more than 2,000 linear feet of Little Stranger Creek and the restoration of 1,400 linear feet of a floodplain ephemeral stream that had been eradicated by decades of agricultural disturbance. Together, these mitigation sites will function as a single unit to improve the water quality and wildlife habitat along Little Stranger Creek.