Similar teams have been appointed to the 13 other watersheds in Kansas. The Neosho region includes almost all of Marion County at its northern end, then fellows the Neosho River to the southeast corner of the state.
The planning teams are included in Gov. Sam Brown?back?s, ?50-Year Vision for the Future of Water in Kansas.? They will meet a minimum of three to four times from January to August.
The role of the team is to participate in the public scoping process in their region, develop draft goals for the region based on public input and available resource condition information, and present the draft goals to the KWA.
Paine said beyond a desire for geographic representation, he isn?t sure why he was chosen for the team?but he was quick to accept the invitation.
?I think the other part may have come from the fact that Hillsboro is working in a couple of areas that are drawing conservation issues to the forefront,? Paine said, citing the city?s selection in November for an Environ?mental Protec?tion Agency water project.
Paine said he hopes Hillsboro and Marion County will benefit from his involvement.
?From reading the plan and hearing things about what?s going on, the chief value I hope to see out of this is that we can make sure that water resources that we need for the things that we do in this area are maintained?that we?re not eroding any of that in any way,? he said.
Paine said securing a reliable source for water is critical for rural communities.
?If that goes away, you turn into a dust town,? he said. ?So it?s important that rural economies have access to the water they need to sustain themselves as a community, and sustain themselves as a place where they can offer industrial and commercial activity and still have some rural ambience with what?s going on with their communities.?
The other members of the Neosho region planning team are: Bethany Shiffer?decker, Girard; Brett Skill?man, Coffey County; Dan Haines, Burlington; Shawn Tiffany, Herington; Gary Kilgore, Chanute; Jay Byers, Pittsburg; Jim Degeer, Neosho County; and Phillip Cooper, Emporia.