TOPEKA (KSNT) – The first workday for a two-year project kicked off on Thursday to improve the protection of water quality in the Kansas River.

A 22-acre native plant restoration project along the Kansas River relies heavily on volunteers from the community. The main goal of the project is to slow and filter storm water run-off before it hits the river, which is the water supply for the city of Topeka.

On Thursday, the “Friends of the Kaw” organization, alongside four other partners, began removing non-native and invasive species along the Kansas River.

“We are replacing – replanting the plants that were important to the indigenous peoples of the region for several dozens of thousands of years before we got here,” said Courtney Masterson, owner and operator of Native Lands LLC.

Planting native species along the river is important because they help anchor the soil and manage storm water. There are two more workdays coming up on May 26 and June 4. If you’re interested in volunteering, just use this link.