Kansas Wildlife Federation

Monday, August 30 2004

Grouse Creek Dam May Be Dead

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:04am

To follow up on an earlier posting, the Grouse Creek Dam project may finally be dead.

After hearing extensive testimony from project opponents, and after receiving a 62-page paper detailing all the reasons why the dam is a bad idea, the Kansas Water Authority voted 11-1 to not fund a feasibility study. That study would have been the first step in involving the state government in the construction of the facility. Without the state’s resources involved, there’s very little chance of the project moving forward.

However, the developers who’ve been pitching this idea swear that this is not the end, and that they’re not giving up. We’ll have to see what the future holds.

Migratory Birds: Season Dates and Recipes

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:47am

The migratory bird seasons change from year to year, so here are this year’s dates and limits for the various federally regulated birds.

Note that the light goose season is effectively six months long. It’s one of your best hunting opportunities, but a lot of people don’t like the taste of the bird. So here are a few recipes for snow goose. Additionally, this man says that the key to great snow goose chili is to make sure and get all the blood out of the meat.

Happy hunting and happy eating!

Wednesday, August 25 2004

Mercury in Fish Almost Everywhere

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:07pm

48 of the 50 states in the union now have a mercury problem in their fish, with the greatest single source being emissions from coal-fired power plants.

While this problem’s been brewing for a long time, it’s just now starting to get the serious national attention it deserves. Take a look at this search on Google News for ‘mercury’ and ‘fish.’

The E.P.A. is putting a brave face on the matter, insisting that mercury levels aren’t rising, it’s just that we have better monitoring. While the technology exists today to reduce mercury emissions by 90%, the current administration proposal is to reduce mercury output by 26% over 6 years.

The problem here is that mercury “bioaccumulates” which means that it increases in concentration as it moves up the food chain. In essence, it perists in the environment for years. Even if emissions are coming down, the mercury emitted this year will be around for a long time.

In Kansas, KWF is watch-dogging a proposal to build a complex of coal-fired powerplants along the Misourri River. Our sister organization, the National Wildlife Federation, is working in Congress to keep the current law in place, which would reduce mercury emmissions sharply.

For more on what mercury does and why it’s a problem, check out this handy reference site.

Monday, August 23 2004

Grouse Creek Dam Won’t Die

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:01am

After a brief infatuation, most of the Kansas state government has backed away from the idea of a dam in Cowley County. The idea, if you haven’t heard about it, is to dam up one of the last free-flowing year-round streams in Kansas and turn it into a resort lake - 8,000 acres of water and 150 miles of lakeside houses. Underneath the water would be the remains of tallgrass prairie and a few hundred oil wells.

During the past Legislature, KWF supported a bill to preclude the use of eminent domain for the dam’s construction - one of the few times that KWF, the Sierra Club, the Kansas Farm Bureau, and the Kansas Livestock Association were all on the same side of an issue.

In today’s Wichita Eagle, we see the idea is not dead yet, as the Wichita Chamber of Commerce is after the state to produce retirement destinations. Others see an “economic benefit.”

It’s unclear why voters and taxpayers in Topeka, Garden City, Atchison, etc., should be expected to pick up the tab for a lake that they’ll never be able to use. If all of the surrounding lakeside property would be forcibly removed from the present owners and then sold for private homes, then it’s hard to see how there’s a great benefit for the rest of us.

KWF supports the acquisition of land for wildlife habitat from willing sellers at fair market price. Eminent domain to create a private resort is exactly opposed to our values, as is damming up one of the last free-running streams in our state.

If you would like to have some input on this, why not call the Governor’s office, at 1-877-579-6757. Ask her to take a clear and public stand against this project, so we can move on to other water issues in the state.

Tuesday, August 17 2004

One Week Left to Register for Becoming an Outdoors Woman

Filed under: — Dan @ 10:02am

You have to look around the registration form’s fine print to find it out, but you only have one week left to register for this year’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman Kansas workshop. Registration closes on August 24, and the camp runs from September 24-26 at Rock Springs Camp, near Junction City.

The BOW program looks terrific this year, with sessions on archery, shotgunning, beginning and advanced hunting techniques, mountain biking, botany, canoeing, and a lot more. The full brochure and registration form is online at the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website. Note that the brochure is a six-page Adobe Acrobat form, so it might take some time to download.

Get the registration form and program by clicking here, or you can call our state’s coordinator, Jami Vonderschmidt, at (785) 368-5449.

New State Smallmouth Record

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:38am

Congratulations are in order for Jason Heis, a Salina man who set the new state record for smallmouth bass, bringing in a 6-pound, 11-ounce fish.

Jason caught his fish off the dam face at Milford, which has to be one of the best fishing lakes in the Great Plains.

Tuesday, August 10 2004

Douglas Fishing Lake Has Mercury

Filed under: — Dan @ 09:07am

A recent sampling of fish taken out of Douglas State Fishing Lake reveals mercury levels that are unsafe for children and pregnant women.

Turns out that Kansas is one of the top 20 mercury-emitting states in the US, even though we have one of the smaller populations. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says that it “may” develop a posting system for lakes where there are contaminated fish.

Clinton and Perry lakes still have fish with mercury levels below concern, though for how much longer is certainly an open question.

The issue has particular significance right now, as EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt will be deciding whether mercury emissions will be more strictly regulated for every coal-fired power plant. Our sister organization, the National Wildlife Federation, is taking that issue on. Find out more and give Mr. Leavitt your input by clicking here.

Friday, August 6 2004

Reminder: Two Weeks Left for Platte River Input

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:09am

A reminder that commentary to the US Fish and Wildlife Service on the proposed Platte River recovery plan is due by August 20th. If you don’t know about the issue, or don’t know how to send commentary, the National Wildlife Federation has made it easy for you: just click on this link and you’ll be taken to NWF’s letter page, where you can send your comments off in a few seconds.

This issue is important to Kansas not just because of the Platte’s enormous role in the Central Flyway, but also because it gets to the heart of most of our water issues here in the state: overallocation. Governments across the West have awarded more water rights than there is water. Getting out of that jam is going to take quite a bit of time and effort.

Information Needed on Styrofoam and Turtles

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:05am

The quoted email below is from Joseph Collins at the Center for North American Herpetology sent over this email, looking for assistance. The short version: we need to find out whether styrofoam is a threat to turtle survival in the outdoors. If you have any information, please scroll down to the bottom and follow up on the email address provided.

Common Snapping Turtles and Styrofoam

We received this call for information regarding Common Snapping Turtles. If you have any information regarding this request, please use the contact information below.

I recently received a message about a turtle die-off in northeastern Wisconsin and then had a follow-up call that one of the not-so-fresh dead turtles was cut open to examine stomach content. The turtle, a Common snapping Turtle, had a bunch of white Styrofoam in its stomach that was one of those small night crawler boxes prior to consumption. The caller wondered if the smell of the worms had caused the turtle to be attracted to the box or if it simply went after the white Styrofoam. This is one of several reports I have received in recent weeks about turtle die-offs, usually involving a small number of turtles. Die-offs at this time of year are usually uncommon to non-existent here as most usually appear to be associated with over wintering mortality or post-emergence die-offs of weakened animals.

I am writing to see if anyone has documented or found anecdotal information regarding the threat of Styrofoam to turtles and whether the discarded night crawler box issue is cause for concern related to turtle survival. I tend to see these discarded boxes almost everywhere I see fishing activity, so this problem could be a potentially serious one for turtles if consumption causes mortality.

Respond to:

Robert Hay
Cold-blooded Species Manager
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Endangered Resources Program
P. O. Box 7921
Madison, WI 53707
email: robert.hay@dnr.state.wi.us

Thursday, August 5 2004

Walleye Championship at Wilson Lake

Filed under: — Dan @ 02:27pm

The rest of America keeps on discovering what we have to offer in Kansas, as Lake Wilson will be host for the Great Plains Championship of Walleye Fishing.

This will be a two-day tournament, August 14 and 15. Top prize is $2,000, and you just might get on TV, as the tournament will be filmed by the syndicated fishing show, Walleye Wisdom.

If you want to look at registration, head on over the tournament website, WalleyeCup.com.

Monday, August 2 2004

Zebra Mussels Now in Oklahoma

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:20pm

The news on zebra mussels continues to be bad, as everyone’s least favorite invasive species has moved 60 miles downstream from Kansas into Oklahoma’s Kaw Reservoir. As you probably know, zebra mussels displace native wildlife, disrupt the food chain, and can play havoc with mechanical systems.

Here are two quotes from the article that I found staggering:

This one, in reference to El Dorado:

Larval mussels, called veligers, were recently found in every water sample taken at the 17,000-acre lake.

This one refers to the speed with which an infestation can take place:

Tests done six weeks ago showed no signs of zebra mussels [in the Kaw Reservoir]. Tests done within the last two weeks showed them lakewide.

So what can be done? Boater education is one important part of the job. If you have speakers on your computer, we highly recommend the KDWP streaming video about zebra mussels.

This video shouldn’t require special software to view, and has some great information about how to treat your boat to prevent from spreading the invaders. It also has some great pictures of just how small these things are - you can see how they get into small pipes and foul up the works.

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