Kansas Wildlife Federation

Tuesday, June 29 2004

Quail and Prairie-Chicken Seasons Will Stay Put

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:04am

The Kansas City Star carried this short story covering last week’s Wildlife and Parks Commission meeting. The KC Star site requires registration, use “register@kswildlife.org” for the email and “topeka” as the password.

There are some important details that the story doesn’t mention. One is that there were also proposed changes for prairie-chicken hunting, including a 138-day season for Greater Prairie Chickens, which certainly are not flourishing.

Also not reported is that this was an effort on the part of a lot of groups: Quail Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Audubon of Kansas, and KWF all showed up and asked the Commission to refrain from the proposed changes. Dr. Robert Robel, of Kansas State University, deserves particular mention, as his authoritative testimony grounded the discussion in facts and may have turned the tide.

Circle K Ranch Appraisal In

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:54am

The news is in, and it’s surprising: the Circle K Ranch is worth about $3.2 million.

During the Legislature, there were two objections from House legislators about the proposed Circle K purchase: one was that the Farm Bureau didn’t like it, and the other was that there was no appraisal, so the KDWP wasn’t being clear about how much money was actually on the line.

The upshot is that for about $800,000, we can retire about 8,000 acre-feet of water rights and open up 12 square miles of quail, pheasant, and mule deer habitat. That’s because state government land purchases for wildlife and hunting areas are eligible for a 75% reimbursement from excise taxes, which you pay every time you buy ammunition or guns. Kansans are paying this tax, we might as well get some of that money back here in the state.

So one objection down. What happens with the other one depends on whether or not the hunting community shows up in the next legislative session.

Tips for Big Channel Cat

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:41am

I thought this was a useful article from Great Plains Game & Fish: How to Get Your Cat Out of a Tree.

Catfish, of course, and submerged trees. That is a certainly a resource our state has in abundance, especially along the Kansas River.

Thursday, June 24 2004

Migratory Bird Management Shift Proposed

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:53am

Steve Sorensen, KWF President, sends along this email:

There is bad news in Washington regarding migratory bird management. The Fisheries Subcommittee of the House Resources Committee is conducting a hearing Thursday, June 24, on H.R. 3320, introduced last fall by Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.). The bill would place all activities under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act under the auspices of USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, instead of the Fish and Wildlife Service. It would also exempt the agency from the National Environmental Policy Act.

Please take a moment and contact your U. S. Representative (go to http://www.house.gov/) and ask him what kind of politics they are playing in Washington. Putting the Agriculture Department in charge of migratory birds is like putting a weasel in charge of the rabbit hutch. It will be interesting to see how they respond to your inquiry. Excluding non-native birds from the migratory treaty act is a good move, since it would allow control of such invasive species as mute swans, which have wrecked havoc on the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

Steve sends along the following article, which is quoted in its entirety, as it’s behind a paid subscription wall. Click on “more” to see it.

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More Pork for the Corps

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:46am

Yet more pork for the Army Corps of Engineers: the Kansas City Star reports that a $3.1 billion measure to expand the locks on the Upper Mississippi River has moved out of committee. (If you get a registration screen for the article, enter “register@kswildlife.org” as the user name and “topeka” as the password.)

This is one of those Army Corps projects that might have made sense forty years ago, but today is a waste of dollars no matter how you slice it. Two different investigations by the National Academy of Sciences and a White House audit have found that the assumptions behind the lock expansion are deeply flawed. The Corps says that the expansion is needed because more traffic is coming on the river - but no one else foresees that expansion in traffic.

The answer, as always, is to call the Kansas representatives and ask them what’s going on. Senator Brownback’s office is (202) 224-6521, and Senator Roberts’ office is (202) 224-4774.

Tuesday, June 22 2004

Judge Tells Corps to Keep Going

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:44am

Bad news from the court system: a federal judge has told the Army Corps of Engineers to keep using the Missouri River as a highway.

The link above is from the Bismarck Tribune, and contains one of the better write-ups I’ve seen of the history of this issue. For more on this, see previous posts here and here.

The bottom line on this is that the Corps sees itself as an agency that builds Big Projects. But times change, and now sometimes those Big Projects hurt more than they help. America’s rivers and wetlands need a 21st-century Army Corps of Engineers.

Thursday, June 17 2004

A Moment of Decision for the Flint Hills

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:57am

The Wind and Prairie Task Force’s Final Report is now online. Note that the link goes directly to a 57-page pdf file - use caution if your version of Reader is slow or has some problems.

The report has some helpful suggestions, but in a way, we’re all right back where we started, with the basic question - “Are we going to industrialize the Flint Hills?” - still up for grabs.

The Task Force has put two options before the Governor. Option A encourages a moratorium and puts forward tax code changes that would direct commercial wind energy projects to ecologically low impact areas. Option B says we need to study the issue and ask wind power developers to exercise restraint.

We put up Option A on this site sometime back. This is the path we’d like to the Governor to take.

If you want to contact the Governor and encourage her to pick Option A, you need to call her and tell her so. Give a shout to the Governor’s office at 1-877-579-6757, and let her know you want her to take action to keep America’s last tallgrass prairie from becoming an industrial development.

If you’d like to read our letter we sent to the Governor today to ask her to select Option A, click on “more.”
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Wednesday, June 16 2004

What’s Going on with the Flint Hills?

Filed under: — Dan @ 08:54am

Awhile back, we got word from Audubon of Kansas about a “Kansas Field Tour” of the Flint Hills. One full day was given to the topic of commercial wind energy development, with two speakers from wind power companies, and one rancher who’s been a wind power booster.

Conspicuous by their absence was any presenter with doubts about commercial wind energy and the industrialization of the Flint Hills. Ron Klataske got in touch with one of the organizers and asked about this lack of balance, and he was told the conference wasn’t intended to be balanced.

That’s a problem. KWF wrote the following letter to the Governor, just to ask what was happening and what the intent was. To date, we haven’t heard back, but in fairness, I was told the staffer who was assigned to respond to us had been ill lately. To read the letter, click on “more.”

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Thursday, June 10 2004

Natural Resource Leadership Camp for Youth

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:18pm

John Bond of the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams sends along this announcement of the Natural Resources Leadership Camp.

This looks really neat. The camp is from July 5 to July 10, at the Rock Springs 4-H Camp near Junction City and Manhattan. Here’s some more of the description:

The Natural Resource Leadership Camp is a week long camping experience for Kansas youths ages 12-15, with lots to do, plenty to learn, and many new friendships to make, all in a unique and positive setting. The emphasis is on learning, fun, and leadership.

Learn about Kansas natural resources and how to protect them
Get hands-on instruction from resource professionals.
Develop leadership skills in games and community involvement
Expand on leadership skills in second and third years with camp leader roles and resource based business visits

For more information, call Laura Downey, Executive Director of the Kansas Association of Conservation and Environmental Education, at 785-532-3322.

Tuesday, June 8 2004

Kansas Bowhunting: Best in the Nation?

Filed under: — Dan @ 12:28pm

The headline of this article from Buckmasters.com caught my eye, simply because of the title: “It Just Doesn’t Get Any Better Than Kansas.”

I know a lot of resident bowhunters aren’t terribly glad to see out-of-state hunters coming in, taking big prize bucks and paying high fees for land leases. I’ve talked to many people who have been shut out of places where they hunted for years because of the boom in this new industry. Even so, there are a couple of things in the article worth noting, especially this quote:

I found out later that he was in a bidding war - on e-Bay of all places - for Kansas tags while we were on the phone. It’s a somewhat complicated arrangement to explain, especially with new regulations for 2004, but the short version would be that Kansas landowners receive a portion of the allocated non-resident archery tags, which they can issue/use in the manner they see fit. I guess you could call it a government subsidy for the farmers (to help make up for some of their deer-related crop damage), but the Kansas Wildlife and Parks folks wouldn’t be happy about it being described that way.

Well, if the shoe fits…. Transferable deer tags are in essence meant to be a secondary income for landowners. I don’t necessarily see a problem with that, nor do I see a problem with out of state hunters coming into Kansas. Where I see the giant, economy-sized problem is with the number of tags that get issued - especially when those tags are issued regardless of the condition of the habitat.

Kansas may be unbeatable now, but as we continue to take more deer than we’re growing, we not only lose a trophy deer population and a second income for landowners, but we also lose the great past-time and tradition for residents as well.

Friday, June 4 2004

Fishing Without a Boat

Filed under: — Dan @ 03:33pm

Not being a boat-owner myself, I almost never do anything else but bank fish. But with gas staying close to $2 a gallon for now, I may be seeing a lot more of you alongside me on the shoreline.

Along those lines, Dry Creek, the outdoor columnist for the Pratt Tribune, has this entry on catching fish for less than $15 of gas.

And while a lot of us are pretty far away from Pratt, it’s a good read and it may give you some ideas on similar places close to you that you haven’t been to for awhile. The KDWP Fishing Page doesn’t have a good directory of the Kansas State Fishing Lakes, but if you go region by region, you’ll be able to find some good fishing opportunities that don’t require a boat or a day trip.

Who’s Releasing Diamondbacks into Kansas?

Filed under: — Dan @ 03:16pm

I’m one of those people who don’t like snakes in general. So this story from ESPN is particularly disturbing to me.

Some knucklehead has been releasing diamondback rattlers into Kanopolis State Park. These snakes are both bigger and deadlier than native prairie rattlesnakes. In addition besides the problem of non-native species, you also have the more immediate problem of ending up very sick or dead.

There’s been at least 10 sightings of the snakes in Kanopolis. If you have any hints or ideas as to who might be releasing the snakes, call James Cherry, the local wildlife officer, at 785-658-2339.

Tuesday, June 1 2004

The Wind Prairie Task Force Report: An Option to Protect the Flint Hills

Filed under: — Dan @ 02:37pm

The Wind Prairie Task Force is taking its final report to the Governor on June 7th. As of this point, there are two options being presented, which basically boil down to “Protect the Flint Hills” or “Don’t protect the Flint Hills.”

Not surprisingly, KWF is in favor of what’s known as “Option A”, which is a plan to protect the Flint Hills. You can see the whole thing below, by clicking on the word “more” below.

If, after reading this, you think the Governor should protect the Flint Hills, there’s something you should do - namely, contact her. You can call the Governor’s office at 1-877-579-6757, and let her know you want her to take action to keep America’s last tallgrass prairie from becoming an industrial development.
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