Kansas Wildlife Federation

Wednesday, June 29 2005

Electricity official: “Wind energy is too expensive”

Filed under: — Dan @ 05:16pm

The fight over wind energy in the Flint Hills is hardly unique: it’s one of many. Controversies over appropriate wind energy installations are taking place in West Virginia, New England, Idaho, and overseas in places such as Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom.

One of the places where developers are looking to put in wind energy turbines is England’s Lake District, which has been a resort for travellers looking for scenic beauty for hundreds of years.

This article from England’s “News & Star” tells how one electricity expert has declared that wind power is too expensive. It’s commonly assumed that because wind itself is free that wind energy will be “too cheap to meter.” But wind energy usually increases electric bills, because now two power plants are required - the wind turbines themselves, and then a back-up generator for when the wind dies down, or blows too hard, or is blowing a little bit but not very much, or…. You get the idea.

Tuesday, June 28 2005

Pheasant and quail seasons changed

Filed under: — Dan @ 12:01pm

Despite objections from Kansas landowners, the Kansas Wildlife & Parks Commission voted last week to substantially change pheasant and quail seasons in the state.

The landowner objections stem from a fear that there will still be a lot of crops in the field in the first week of November. That puts the farmers in the position of either refusing permission to hunt (and possibly losing income, if they charge for that) or losing crops to human trampling.

What’s disturbing to us about this change is two things. One is that the Department is making these changes especially to be “competitive in the marketplace.” But it’s not seasons that make us competitive, it’s quality. Also, it’s not the Department’s job to be a tourism agency, it’s their job to manage and steward the resource. Of course you can make the argument that without good funding, they can’t do that, but managing explicitly for the out of state hunter is a very troubling development for the Kansas agency in charge of our outdoor resources.

The other troubling idea is this quote:

“What we’ve learned over the years is that we get almost all negative responses (to a change).” said (John) Dykes, commission chairman. “We try to weigh all the factors and do the right thing.”

While anyone can appreciate that only hearing negative commentary is tiresome, there is an implication here that changes can be made at any point despite public input, since the public input will always be negative.

Pond management brochure

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:39am

As so often happens on the Internet, I was looking for something completely different when I stumbled upon this brochure from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

The brochure, entitled “Producing Fish & Wildlife in Kansas Ponds” is a terrific resource for landowners who want to have a great quality fishery on their properties. The publication has tips on good selection, how to plant, and how to avoid some common mistakes made in pond maintenance.

Thursday, June 23 2005

The alphabet soup of conservation

Filed under: — Dan @ 03:36pm

One of the most daunting things about the various government conservation programs is the bewildering variety of acronyms and initials. After the fourth or fifth different abbreviation, it becomes hard to keep things straight.

A terrific example comes out of the Hillsboro Free Press, which carries this article about conservation programs. By the time you’re done reading the short article, you’ve encountered 10 acronyms and abbreviations, as well as four different government agencies.

It’s a lot to get through, but the results can be terrific, and it’s not necessarily a lot of paperwork. The story here details that some of the programs have a one page application form, which certainly beats any mortgage application.

Although the article is written for Marion County, the same kinds of program and advice to call your local conservation service apply. If you’d like help navigating this maze, call the Kansas Wildlife Federation at 785-232-3238. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll know who will.

Tuesday, June 21 2005

Federal Government: red now green, day now night

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:43am

The Kansas City Star carries this remarkable story on the federal government’s new grazing standards for public lands.

Here’s the killer quote:

The original draft of the environmental analysis warned that the new rules would have a “significant adverse impact” on wildlife. That phrase was removed. The agency now concludes that the grazing regulations are “beneficial to animals.”

That’s quite an edit.

Playing politics with conservation standards is nothing new, of course, and is hardly limited to the federal government. It’s exactly this kind of nonsense that requires sportsmen to watchdog the government and make sure it’s taking care of the resource.

Wichita Eagle Fishing Clinic now set for August 6

Filed under: — Dan @ 11:38am

In case you wondered, the Eagle’s annual Fishing Clinic, rained out on its initial June 11 date, has been rescheduled for August 6. This program is put on by the Eagle, the KDWP, and the Great Plains Nature Center, and entry into Chisholm Creek Park. People who had registered previously are not guaranteed re-registration, so you’ll need to call in and reserve your spot again.

Wednesday, June 15 2005

Wildlife & Parks Commission Meeting in Hays on June 23

Filed under: — Dan @ 12:50pm

If you’re an upland bird hunter, you may want to make sure to attend the upcoming meeting of the Kansas Wildlife & Parks Commission in Hays on June 23. Directions, time, and a pdf file of the agenda are available at the Department of Wildlife & Parks website.

On the agenda will be significant changes to upland bird hunting regulations and traditions; proposals that have been tossed around include shortening quail season, making a statewide quail opener, shortening prairie chicken season, and moving the pheasant season opening a week earlier.

The discussions around these changes have mostly been from the perspective of the management level - how Kansas fares in comparison to Nebraska and South Dakota, what the impact will be on bird populations, etc. What hasn’t been well represented, and what needs to be included in the discussion, is a lot more “war stories” from hunters in the field. What impact would it have on you to move pheasant season up a week? What impact would you see from curtailing quail season by a week or more? These are the kinds of questions where your input is needed.

If you can’t make the Commission meeting, KWF will be happy to communicate your views to the Commissioners. Email us at info@kswildlife.org, and we’ll send along your viewpoints.

Tuesday, June 14 2005

Water, water everywhere….

Filed under: — Dan @ 12:22pm

… at least in parts of Kansas, where we’re at triple the normal rainfall for the month.

In south-east Kansas, Fall River State Park is shut down due to flooding. Cross Timbers State Park is also mostly under water, with the lake being 27 feet above normal. That’s more than a gallon or two.

Continuing with the theme of water, those no-good tree-huggers over at Forbes Magazine carry this article on the effects of fertilizers and manures, which may have effects on freshwater lakes for hundreds of years to come. Predictably, the Farm Bureau’s reaction is “this is not our fault.”

For some good news, there are lots more Kansas lakes open to the average angler, with the state’s new community lake leasing program.

One concern that we have about this program is that it may harm some of the state’s fisheries by exposing them to much more fishing pressure. That bears watching. But on the whole, the benefit to anglers across the state is clear - especially with high gas prices, as many of these smaller community lakes can be worked on foot.

Tuesday, June 7 2005

Streamside fishing in Kansas!

Filed under: — Dan @ 02:14pm

With gas back at $2 a gallon and with no relief in sight, boat fishing may have to take a back seat for some folks. If you’re like me and never learned to fish with a boat, it wouldn’t matter, except that Kansas is not really known for its streamside fishing.

But perhaps that’s changing, as the past week brought a mini-Renaissance of streamside fishing stories for the Sunflower State:

The Kansas City Star carries this story about Emporia fishing guide Bill Hartman who has started a fly-fishing guiding service called, appropriately enough, Fly Fish Kansas. Bill offers full day trips at $200 and half-day trips at $115, all-inclusive. Take a look at the story; you just may want to give him a call. If you get asked for email and password to view the story, use “register@kswildlife.org” and “Topeka1″ for the password.

Michael Pearce in the Wichita Eagle has two great stories on the same topic in his Sunday Outdoors page. The first one tells of his experiences landing 70 fish in one day’s worth of fly-fishing in Thurman Creek.

The other entry details 30 miles of public access to streambank fishing in Kansas. The list only includes clear water streams; if you’re willing to put on the stink bait and get into the murky water, there’s miles more of river available to you.

Lastly, the Lawrence Journal-World carries this story on a new fly-fishing business in town. So why drive to Cabela’s, which doesn’t have the passion for fly fishing, when you can go this store?

If you’re looking for fly-fishing stores, don’t forget the good folks at Chapman Creek Fly & Tackle, just off I-70 west of Junction City. If you’re planning to fish anywhere in the Milford area, those folks will hook you up with the equipment and the latest knowledge about what’s happening. They’re also good supporters of conservation and youth education.

Wednesday, June 1 2005

Outdoor Adventure Camp!

Filed under: — Dan @ 01:56pm

Outdoor Adventure Camp is sooner than usual this year, with this year’s camp scheduled for June 12-17.

If you have a child or grandchild who is between the ages of 10 and 12 this summer and who enjoys the outdoors, you want to act now to get your registration taken care of. This is a great opportunity for kids to get set on a course of a lifetime of outdoor adventures.

As always, the camp will be held at the Camp WaShunGa area of Rock Springs 4-H Center (just south of Junction City).

Mornings will be spent hiking the grounds at Rock Springs with instructors, getting a hands-on feel for how the various animals and plants live together in the place we call Kansas. Afternoons are spent learning about several general interest areas of the Kansas outdoors, including mammals, insects, birds, fish, and amphibians and reptiles. Instructors come from the ranks of Wildlife and Parks, Kansas State University, NRCS, County Conservation Districts, and other organizations.

Since the prairie doesn’t go to sleep at sundown, neither do the kids. Depending on the evening, they may be out and about prowling for owls, star-gazing, or watching bats gobble bugs. Daily dips in the pool are always on the agenda (sometimes twice) and there’s always a chance to sit around a campfire, eat s’mores, and tell stories. Always one evening, we go up to the pond and have a friendly bit of competition with a FISHING CONTEST!

Other activities planned are scavenger hunts; water sports to include swimming and canoeing; fishing; shooting sports to include rifle, shotgun, muzzleloader, archery, and pellet gun; arts and crafts; and even horseback riding. Kids will get to pick your choices for some of these activities and be able to participate in all if desired. OAC alsy includes a day-trip to the Milford Nature Center and Fish Hatchery too.

Campers need to bring a swimsuit, suncreen, sleeping gear, and clothes for a week . Food, instruction, and lodging are all included in the price of the camp. Things like insect repellent, a cap, and a water bottle will also come in handy. The price for the entire week is $215. Space is limited.

If you need more information or an application, phone 785-526-7466 evenings or 785-658-2465 during the day, or you can e-mail questions to bergkwf@wtciweb.com.

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