Kansas Wildlife Federation

Saturday, March 27 2004

Federal Case on Illegal Hunting Operation

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:06pm

The Topeka Capital Journal reports on an undercover operation that resulted in the arrest of three Kansans who are accused of running an elaborate illegal hunting operation in the western part of the state.

The three are, of course, innocent until proven guilty, but if they are proven guilty, they are in for a world of hurt. That’s a shame, considering how much the Krebs have put into their operation, but the game laws are there for a reason. Illegal and/or unethical hunting outfits don’t help anyone.

Thursday, March 25 2004

Sunshine is the Best Sterilizer

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:34am

It’s not strictly a wildlife issue, but it’s important to know: the leadership of the State Legislature is trying to relax rules on lobbyist disclosures.

People are often surprised to hear my contention that government is far less corrupt these days than at any time in the past. But if we’re going to keep working towards the ideal of a government that actually reflects what the voters want, as opposed to special interest groups, it’s important to keep tabs on lobbyists - including me!

A really good case in point: this article from the New York Times, showing that somehow, United States Senators pick stocks better than professional mutual fund managers. Huh.

Wind Power Moratorium Comes Close

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:22am

A floor amendment to create a one-year moratorium on commercial wind energy in the Flint Hills came close to passing, as the final Senate vote was 15-20 against.

A little depressing for people who don’t want to see America’s last tallgrass prairie turned into a glorified industrial park, to be sure.

But on the bright side: Back in December, no one expected this much legislative action to happen on wind power. Leadership in both houses have tried to make the issue go away a number of times, and Flint Hills advocates have kept coming back.

The number one need right now is for education. Legislators see this issue as a “private property” or “county zoning” issue. But not one of them would let a landowner build a coal or nuclear power plant without a chance for the neighboring property owners to have some input.

Wind power is a property rights issue - an isse of the adjoning land owners, who absolutely will see the use of eminent domain across their land as access roads and transmission lines are constructed.

Monday, March 22 2004

Wishing Doesn’t Make It So

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:38pm

Chances are that you learned sometime before you got out of high school that just because you would like for something to be true doesn’t mean that it will be.

Unless you’re in the Kansas Legislature.

The House Environment Committee is seriously considering a bill that would deal with the complicated issue of gravel mines and water evaporation by essentially saying “there is no such thing.”

After listening to Wichita-area gravel miners, I don’t doubt there’s a bad process in the state government right now. But HB 2919, the bill they’ve put forward, would rewrite water law to say that there is no consumption of water from gravel pits. In other words, if you close your eyes, the monster will get bored and leave.

This story from the Lawrence Journal-World will tell you more.

The Corps Diagnoses Itself

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:29pm

Melissa Samet of American Rivers sends along this gem of an editorial from the Billings Gazette, in which the Assistant Secretary for the Corps gives the most accurate self-diagnosis I’ve seen in some time.

In case you’ve missed it, the Army Corps was told by the courts and by different scientific and accounting minds that it must A) quit using the Missouri River as a barge highway and B) modify flows for fish and wildlife. The Corps’ current operating plan calls for it to keep using the river for barges and ignore fish and wildlife.

Lawsuits are expensive and eat up time. But this is a perfect example as to why sometimes, you don’t have any other alternative.

Wednesday, March 17 2004

Fear Mongering, Part 5,162

Filed under: — Dan @ 04:27pm

One of the most objectionable tactics of The Old Guard in Kansas is that they never hesitate to pump in a bunch of fear and loathing into the debate over how we should manage our natural resources.

This letter to the editor is a prime example. You can search all through this letter, but you won’t find any mention of the coming water crisis in Kansas, or of how the rural economy of Kansas has been slowly sinking out of sight. What you will find is an attempt to whip people into a frenzy over the prospect of “land grabbing bureaucrats.”

America has enough real enemies. We don’t need to be inventing phony ones.

Tuesday, March 16 2004

Horse Theif Reservoir Gets Momentum

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:16am

The Dodge City Globe reports that a bill that would create the Horse Theif Reservoir in southwestern Kansas has moved out of committee.

Just for the record - you don’t have to have a dam to create fishing opportunities or even to control floods. But given the lack of public fishing and hunting opportunities in this area of the state, a lake with 1,100 acres of publicly accessible land isn’t all bad.

Monday, March 15 2004

What do Enron and Topeka Have in Common?

Filed under: — Dan @ 03:23pm

The federal government isn’t known for having a sense of humor. If, for instance, Kansas gets federal money given for one deparment, and then spends it on another, no one shrugs and says “well, times are tough, so we’ll give you a pass.” In fact, the last time the state did this with KDWP money, it cost us $3.6 million.

But being gluttons for punishment, we’re going to try it again. Governor Sebelius is “sweeping” money, which means she’s taking money that’s been dedicated to specific state agencies and putting it into the general fund.

Here’s the killer quote from the story:

The Wildlife and Parks Department may be in the most precarious situation. Federal and state laws prohibit use of hunting and fishing license revenue for purposes other than the wildlife fund, which pays for fish hatcheries to stock lakes and improvements to wildlife habitat.

In the 1990s, the state had to repay $3.6 million to the federal government for spending money on parks that was collected from hunting and fishing licenses.

As proposed in the budget, Wildlife and Parks would send more than $500,000 to the state general fund but get only $37,000 back in the form of pay raises for agency employees, said Dick Koerth, assistant secretary for administration.

If you think this is a bad idea, call the Governor’s office today, at 1-877-579-6757. Let her know you want KDWP money to stay in the KDWP budget, and that flirting with the danger of federal penalties isn’t okay with you.

Monday, March 8 2004

MSNBC Gets “Isolated Wetlands”

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:17am

Most of the reporting I’ve seen on the “isolated wetlands” issue gets the story wrong. The most common error is an implication that the issue is over and that the conservationists have won.

This story from MSNBC.com gets the issue exactly right. All the pieces that are usually missing are in the story, including how duck hunters helped bring pressure on the President, how the Corps is still enforcing the White House’s rulemaking that endangers isolated wetlands, and how a normally rock-solid Republican vote is being eroded. Excellent reading, if you want to catch up on the latest developments in the issue.

Thursday, March 4 2004

Crane Cam!

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:13pm

KWF President Steve Sorensen sends along this link to a live webcam of the Rowe Sanctuary along the Platte River.

To view the cam, click on the link above, then click on Launch Crane Cam. It runs at limited hours, which are posted on the web site. As of this writing, those are 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. and 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. this week and then longer hours as daylight lengthens and crane numbers increase. Happy Viewing!

Wind and Prairie Task Force

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:09pm

From the outside looking in, we at the Kansas Wildlife Federation are getting more and more concerned about the Governor’s Wind and Prairie Task Force. The basic mission seems like one of the government “happy talk” showcases - get people together and lock them in a room until there’s consensus. The problem is that where the last of the Tallgrass Prairie is concerned, there isn’t a lot of room. Either you think industrial development’s appropriate or you don’t. Looking at the agenda for the previous two meetings, it looks like the lion’s share of the meeting time is being given to wind power developers.

Want to bet the final product calls for a “balance” between prairie preservation and wind power?

Even in New York, They Know It

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:03pm

The Grey Lady of American news, the New York Times, has weighed in with a pretty pointed editorial on just what’s at stake in the Missouri River management plan. If you haven’t kept up on this issue, this editorial gives you some of the facts, and neatly summarizes our opinions as well.

Tuesday, March 2 2004

No Respect, I Tell Ya

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:26pm

Is there any group that gets less respect from the Legislature than hunters and anglers? Well, actually there is one - the professionals who manage and protect our resources. Representatives Clay Aurand and John Ballou showed the contempt they have for wildlife management and for good habitat practices at a recent legislative hearing. Remember - if the current crop of legislators had its way, there wouldn’t be any deer hunting in Kansas. If you want to let Representatives Aurand or Ballou know how you feel about what they said, why not dash off an email? (But please, keep it polite.) Representative Aurand’s email is aurand@house.state.ks.us, and Representative Ballou’s is john@johnballou.org.

Pass It On Fundraising Event

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:21pm

Pheasants Forever has teamed up with Kansas Big Brothers/Big Sisters to create Pass It On. The Big Brothers take their charges out hunting and help pass on the tradition. You can find out more about it (and support it) by going to their next benefit, the 2004 Bust-a-Clay for Kids’ Sake.

The Wind Power Hype Is Dying Down

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:20pm

The folks at Protect the Flint Hills sent along the following article from the Baltimore Sun, detailing how wind power generation presents a tremendous risk to the Chesapeake Bay. Registration is required, but you can use our user id: kwfkwf, and our password, “topeka.” (You’re welcome.)

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