The Advocate's Strategy
As an advocate you pay attention to your audience. You consider the language of your message and you place selected information in a specific context. You are making decisions based on how you want people to feel and act. Websites serve many purposes: advertising, informing, and entertaining. Websites and content may be also created to make you feel or act a certain way. Information may be incorrect, biased, or dated. It's a good idea to evaluate websites before getting too involved.
The following guidelines can help you decide if a website is a good choice for a source for your research.
- Currency: A useful site is updated regularly and lets visitors know when content was published on the site. Can you tell when the site was last updated? Can you see when the content you need was added? Does the site show signs of not being maintained (broken links, out-of-date information, etc.)?
- Relevance: Think about the target audience for the site. Is it appropriate for you or your paper's audience?
- Authority: Look for an About Us link or something similar to learn about the site's creator. The more you know about the credentials and mission of a site's creators, as well as their sources of information, the better idea you will have about the site's quality.
- Accuracy: Does the site present references or links to the sources of information it presents? Can you locate these sources so that you can read and interpret the information yourself?
- Purpose: Consider the reason why the site was created. Can you detect any bias? Does the site use emotional language? Is the site trying to persuade you about something?
Advocacy and Education
Kansas State Research and Extension (KSRE)
Part of KSRE's vision is to deliver educational programs and technical information. You can find their publications in the KSRE Bookstore. Check out the selected publications below (and on the homepage of this guide) or click the image below to visit the bookstore.
Local and National Advocacy and Education Materials
List of Identified Gaps in Water Education in Kansas (pdf)
If your advocacy includes working with K12 students, here are some places you could start with names of educators who could be partners or consultants in your work.
This web toolkit was designed to help citizens, conservation practitioners, municipal decision-makers, researchers, educators, and students advance knowledge and stewardship of fresh water. See more for a list of apps and sites included in this portal.
The USGS Water Science School
Information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.
This toolkit, developed as a result of extensive collaboration between members of the Source Water Collaborative and the NRCS, offers a step-by-step approach. The resources inside are useful for anyone working in source water protection: from those who already know their State Conservationist, but may be looking for new ideas, to those aiming to build a successful relationship. Each insightful tip is based on advice we received from NRCS and from state and regional source water coordinators who recently fostered effective partnerships.
EPA's Watershed Academy
The Watershed Academy provides self-paced training modules and webcasts from national experts about a range of watershed management topics. You can document your learning by meeting the requirements for Watershed Academy Web's Watershed Management Training Certificate. This certificate program recognizes trainees who complete 15 modules and pass their self-tests.
Water Conservation Areas (WCAs)
This page of the Kansas Department of Agriculture site lists WCA Plans and Agreements, Frequently Asked Questions, and the WCA Development Process. Check out the WCA Plans for the kinds of information you can find to advocate and the WCA Development Process for a specific advocacy project.
Universities Council on Water Resources
UCOWR is a group of universities working on current water resource challenges by sharing expertise, fostering leadership, and developing interdisciplinary collaborations. This site is for academics but there are some webinars, seminars, and workshops on the Campus Outreach page.
National Association of Conservation Districts
NACD and conservation districts make sure landowners have the proper tools they need to protect water from sediment runoff, nutrients, and other contaminants.
Policy and Law
Kansas Department of Agriculture
Division of Water Resources
The Division of Water Resources administers 30 laws and responsibilities including the Kansas Water Appropriation Act which governs how water is allocated and used; statutes regulating the construction of dams, levees and other changes to streams; the state's four interstate river compacts; as well as coordinating the national flood insurance program in Kansas.
Water Law Basics
Plain English explanation of the Kansas Water Appropriation Act with Step by Step Guide to Obtaining a Water Right. Sample of the text on this site:
Research and Data
State of Kansas GIS and Data Access and Support Center (on Data.gov site)
GIS data for the state of Kansas. Click Catalog on the left menu and expand Water Resources to see a list of data available. (includes aquifers, Public Water Supply System, Kansas Water Features, and Kansas Water Wells)
U.S. Army Engineer Institute for Water Resources (IWR)
IWR provides (a) analysis of emerging water resources trends and issues, (b) state-of-the-art planning and hydrologic engineering methods, models and training, and (c) national data management of results-oriented program and project information across Civil Works business lines.
DATA.GOV - Kansas
Data.gov is a repository of government datasets. This link will take you to the data in the state of Kansas. Select a filter from the list on the left (location, topic, format, etc.)
Kansas Department of Agriculture
Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Water Topics
This topic page covers water regulations and topics including Infrastructure Finance, Water Resilience, and Water Research.
EPA Office of Water
Lists and describes the divisions within the Office of Water.
United States Geological Survey
These links are all to the USGS website so you will find the same information on different pages.
Kansas Water Science Center
Information on Kansas rivers, streams, and lakes. Maps and data for stream flow, water quality, and groundwater. Bibliographies (lists of articles, reports, and fact sheets) about water in Kansas.
National Water Information System - Kansas
Click the predefined displays drop-down menu for maps of groundwater, streams, and water quality and data for specific sites.
Current water conditions.
ScienceBase provides access to aggregated information derived from many data and information domains, including feeds from existing data systems, metadata catalogs, and scientists contributing new and original content.
United States Department of Agriculture