The Baker Wetlands
span approximately on the south side of Lawrence
, United States
. Joint owners Baker University
, Haskell Indian Nations University
, the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, and the University of Kansas
hold 573, 27, 20, and 20 acres, respectively, of this scenic and ecologically vital habitat. Baker University
received its portion from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
in 1968; in 1969, the National Park Service
declared it a National Natural Landmark
. In 1989, the Kansas Biological Survey declared the Baker wetlands an official Natural and Scientific area. The wetlands support 471 documented species of vascular plant, 254 species of bird, and 61 additional vertebrate species.
A proposal for construction of the South Lawrence Trafficway, an extension of K-10
, has generated fierce opposition. Scientists and environmental researchers contend that the trafficway would do irreparable harm to a unique and sensitive ecosystem. Opponents point out that the trafficway threatens state historic sites and, if completed, would contribute to urban sprawl
. A proposal to mitigate for lost wetlands, loss of pedestrian access, and to reduce noise has been approved by US Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.