Monthly Archives: July 2012

Jim Gerrish Grazing Workshops Set

Jim Gerrish, well-known Idaho rancher, researcher, grazing educator, author and co-founder of the Missouri Grazing School, will deliver two 2-day workshops in Topeka and Hays, Kansas in August. Each workshop will be tailored for the grasses, forages, rainfall, growing conditions and grazing potential in that area of the state.

   The workshops will be held:

  Monday-Tuesday, August 13-14, 2012,

  at the Ramada Inn, 420 SE 6th St. (Lower Level Meeting Rooms) 

  Topeka, Kansas 

  Wednesday-Thursday August 15-16  

      Whiskey Creek Restaurant West Meeting Room,

 3203 Vine St., Hays, Ks.

The workshops will begin at 8:30 a.m. and end at 5:00 p.m. each day. The workshops are made available by a grant award to the Kansas Rural Center from the USDA Risk Management Agency. Kansas Farmers Union, Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, and Kansas SARE are joining KRC as co-sponsors

   Registration fees, which include lunch and beverages, are $80 per individual for each workshop; and $50 per workshop for students (high school or college).  Please register for food count by August 8.

   You are responsible for your own hotel or motel reservations.  The Topeka meeting will be held at the Ramada Inn, 420 SE 6th, and you can opt to stay there by calling 785-234-5400 for room reservations.  Hays has many options; select your favorite.

For more information contact Mary Howell, KRC workshop coordinator, at 785-562-8726 or [email protected]; or contact KRC at 785-873-3431, or [email protected].

You can also register by going to the Kansas Rural Center website and clicking onto the home page button: Jim Gerrish Grazing Workshops in August

Agriculture Committee Passes Farm Bill that Will Lead to Destruction of Prairies and Wetlands

Measure should be amended to better safeguard natural resources


The National Wildlife Federation criticized the Farm Bill passed July 11 by the House Committee on Agriculture for its damaging implications for the nation’s declining prairies and wetlands. A strongly supported bipartisan amendment to limit federal subsidies for farming on native grasslands was withdrawn after committee Chairman Frank Lucas expressed his strong disapproval to allowing it to apply in his home state of Oklahoma

“A national sodsaver measure to protect grasslands and minimum soil and wetland conservation requirements are common sense provisions that are broadly supported by hunters, anglers, budget hawks and farmers who are willing to meet some environmental standards in exchange for federal benefits like crop insurance,” said Julie SibbingDirector of Agriculture and Forestry Programs at the National Wildlife Federation. “These measures must be included in the final bill if taxpayers are to get a modest return on their enormous investment in agriculture.”

In addition to lacking a national sodsaver provision, the House bill also failed to close a new loophole in the longstanding soil and wetlands conservation requirements on eligibility for federal subsidies. Due to a shift in how farmers are subsidized in the new bill, those who receive only crop insurance, the largest subsidy most farmers receive, would not have to abide by these conditions. 

“We believe that providing taxpayer subsidized crop insurance to those who drain wetlands and who farm erosion-prone soil without conservation measures breaks a longstanding covenant with American taxpayers and could result in significant damage to our waterways and wildlife habitat,” said Sibbing.

The lack of  wetlands protection requirements on crop insurance means that the estimated $90 billion to be spent on taxpayer subsidies for crop insurance over the next ten years could be subsidizing the destruction of tens of thousands of acres of valuable wetlands, resulting in increased downstream flooding and loss of wildlife habitat. This provision was included in the Senate bill after an amendment on the floor.
The Kansas Wildlife Federation strongly supports the inclusion of a sodsaver provision in the Farm Bill that will cover native grasslands nationwide. KWF also supports a compliance requirement for landowners who receive assistance in crop insurance. We urge our Representatives to work for inclusion of these vital programs when the bill (H.R. 6083) comes up for a vote in the full House. We hope you will too.

Duck Populations at Record Highs

Trend continues for continent’s breeding ducks


Although breeding habitat conditions have declined from previous years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) 2012 “Trends in Duck Breeding Populations” report estimates breeding waterfowl numbers in North America‘s duck factory is at a record high. This year’s estimate of 48.6 million breeding ducks is significantly higher than the 45.6 million birds estimated last year and 43 percent above the long-term average.

This annual report summarizes information about the status of duck populations and wetland habitats collected by wildlife biologists from the USFWS and the Canadian Wildlife Service for the “Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey.” The survey samples more than 2 million square miles of waterfowl habitat across the United States and Canada.

Highlights from the survey in the northcentral United States, southcentral and northern Canada, and Alaska include the following population abundance estimates:

♦ mallard — 10.6 million, a 15 percent increase over 2011 and a 39 percent increase over the long-term average of 7.6 million;

♦ gadwall — 10 percent above the 2011 estimate and 96 percent above the long-term average;

♦ American wigeon — 3 percent above 2011, but remains 17 percent below the long-term average;

♦ green-winged and blue-winged teal — 3.5 million and 9.2 million, respectively, 20 percent and 3 percent above 2011 numbers. Both species continue to remain well above long-term averages by 74 percent and 94 percent, respectively;

♦ northern shovelers — 5.0 million, 8 percent above 2011 and 111 percent above the long-term average;

♦ northern pintail — 3.5 million, 22 percent below the 2011 estimate and 14 percent below the long-term average;

♦ redhead — unchanged from last year but 89 percent above the long-term average;

♦ canvasback — 0.8 million, 10 percent above last year’s estimate and 33 percent above the long-term average; and

♦ lesser and greater scaup — 5.2 million, 21 percent above the 2011 estimate and 4 percent above the long-term average.

Habitat conditions observed across the survey areas during the 2012 Waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey were characterized by average to below-average moisture, especially in the southern portions, due primarily to a mild winter and an early spring.

The 2012 survey’s estimate of ponds for the northcentral U.S. was 1.7 million, 49 percent below the 2011 estimate of 3.2 million and similar to the long-term average. Significant decreases in wetland numbers and conditions occurred in the U.S. Prairies during 2012. Nearly all of the northcentral U.S. habitat was rated as good to excellent in 2011; however, only the habitat in the coteau region of North and South Dakota was rated as good in 2012, and no areas were rated as excellent habitat this year. Severe wetland declines in western South Dakota and Montana resulted in mostly poor to fair habitat conditions.

The annual survey guides USFWS waterfowl conservation programs under authority of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The USFWS works in partnership with state biologists from the four flyways – the Atlantic, Mississippi, Central and Pacific – to establish regulatory frameworks for waterfowl hunting season lengths, dates, and bag limits, derived in part from the data gathered through this annual survey.

Using these frameworks as guides, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will establish the 2012-2013 waterfowl seasons and bag limits at its August 23 meeting. The meeting will be conducted at the Kansas WetlandEducation Center

592 NE K-156 HighwayGreat Bend

, with the afternoon session beginning at 1:30 p.m. Waterfowl seasons will be discussed at the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, which will begin at 7 p.m.

KDWPT Accepting Applications for Private Land Grants

Program provides technical assistance and financial incentives to enhance wildlife habitat on private land; Oct. 1 application deadline


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is now accepting applications for State Wildlife Grants (SWG), which are awarded to qualified private landowners to enhance wildlife habitat on their land. Since its inception, the SWG Private Landowner Program has funded more than $1.4 million to complete 60 private land habitat projects. Projects include removing invasive woody plants from native mixed-grass prairie, constructing alternate watering facilities to help with native short-grass prairie management, conversion of cool season grass to native grass and forbs, and construction of perimeter fencing on expiring CRP fields to help maintain those fields in native grass. These projects will improve more than 20,346 acres of habitat that will benefit wildlife considered Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCG) in Kansas.

In the past, KDWPT received $586,000 of SWG funds from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to aid in the protection and management of priority habitats for SGCG in Kansas. In June 2012, the department received an additional $205,000 in SWG funds to further continue this private landowner habitat conservation work.

To be eligible, applications must address issues and strategies identified in the Kansas Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan. Applications will be scored based on established criteria to ensure all applicants are considered fairly and that the highest-ranking projects are selected. Proposals with potential to score highest will specifically address restoration and enhancement activities that will contribute to 1) development or maintenance of large grassland blocks capable of supporting area-sensitive wildlife species; 2) restoration or maintenance of areas supporting high densities of playa lakes surrounded by grasslands; and 3) restoration or enhancement of streams and associated riparian buffers.

Applications are being accepted immediately with a deadline of Oct. 1. Those landowners receiving funding will be required to match a minimum of 25 percent of total project costs. This match can either be a cash contribution from a non-federal source or contributions of labor, materials, or equipment use. Applications will be accepted until available funds have been committed.

Interested landowners should contact any KDWPT regional office or a private lands biologist for application materials or to schedule a consultation concerning a proposed project. Questions regarding program administration can be addressed to Roger Wolfe, KDWPT Region 2 Office, 

300 SW Wanamaker RoadTopekaKansas 66606

; phone 785-271-7388. Persons with special communication needs may use the Kansas Relay Center, 1-800-766-3777.

The Kansas River Water Trail designation will be officially announced Saturday, July 14

The Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar will designate the Kansas River Water Trail as the newest addition to National Water Trails System.  The Kansas River Water Trail is an exemplary example of cooperation and partnering to benefit all communities along the river and the State of Kansas


Kansas Governor Brownback invites you to attend the special event with the Secretary.


 When: 9 a.m., Saturday, July 14, 2012

 Where: Flint Hills Discovery Center

315 South Third StreetManhattanKansas  66502


Prior to the announcement at 8:30am Secretary Salazar will take a boat tour on the Kaw from the Fairmont Access (inManhattan under the 177 Bridge) to Ogden. It would be wonderful if he could witness folks paddling on the Kaw (HINT, HINT!)  If any of Friends of the Kaw’s paddling friends could organize an early morning float from Ogden to Manhattan that would be greatly appreciated.


(Note from the Kansas Riverkeeper: I’m literally crying with joy writing this message! I want to recognize and thank my husband, Mike Calwell, for his years of service and hard work assisting river communities build ten boat ramps and riverside parks on the Kaw.  More ramps are planned and Mike truly helped to make this designation a reality.)


Nebraska Expands Platte River Fish Salvage Area

The portion of the Platte River open to fish salvage has been extended upstream. It now includes the river from U.S. Highway 183 near Elm Creek downstream to its confluence with the Loup River below the U.S. Highway 81 bridge south of Columbus.

That portion of the river is experiencing a fish die-off due to low water flows and high water temperatures. Several species of fish have been found dead and dying.

The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission will allow the harvest of stranded fish of all species in the designated area by any method, except electricity, explosives, poisons, chemicals, other fish toxicants, firearms, and seines or nets other than legal baitfish seines, dip, or landing nets through July 31.

Other legal methods of fishing include snagging, hand fishing, spearing and archery. All daily bag limits will be maintained, but length limits will be rescinded for this area during this period. Salvaged fish cannot be sold or used for stocking purposes into either public or private water bodies.

Anglers are having good success with rod and reel for channel catfish above and below the designated area of the Platte. Since most of the river is on private land, anglers must obtain permission to enter on foot or all-terrain vehicle.

National Wildlife Photo Contest Deadline July 16th

The 42nd annual National Wildlife Photo Contest will have more than $10,000 in prizes; and, the winners will be featured in National Wildlife Magazine. Click on the link below TO ENTER:


Instructors needed for growing school program

A training workshop for the National Archery in the Schools (NASP) program will be conducted at the Russell Recreation Commission in Russell on Saturday, July 7, from 8:30 a.m. until 4:15 p.m. The workshop will be conducted by Joyce Ellis of Fort Hays State University and Gary Keehn, the Kansas NASP state coordinator. The program is free, and participants will receive basic NASP archery instructor certification.

The workshop is sponsored by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism;Fort Hays State University; and the Russell Recreation Commission. For more information concerning NASP, to pre-register for the workshop, or for information on how to obtain funding to establish this program in your area, phone Joyce Ellis at 785-628-4594 or email[email protected], or phone Gary Keehn at 785-834-2075 or email[email protected].

Duck Numbers Remain Strong as Habitat Declines

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) released its preliminary report today on breeding ducks and habitats, based on surveys conducted in May and early June.

Total populations were estimated at 48.6 million breeding ducks in the surveyed area. This estimate represents a 7 percent increase over last year’s estimate of 45.6 million birds, and is 43 percent above the 1955-2010 long-term average. This year’s estimate is a record high and is only the sixth time in the survey’s history that the total duck population exceeded 40 million.

“As good as the population news is this week, waterfowl and wetland habitats continue to face significant long-term threats. The Farm Bill and North American Wetlands Conservation Act are up for renewal by Congress this year and both are crucial to our ability to conserve this critical habitat. We are also fighting to increase our investment in wetlands conservation by raising the price of the federal duck stamp,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Conservation is indeed at a crossroads this year.”

Click here to watch a video summary and read report details.

Two Big Wins for Wildlife!

Thanks to the persistent voices of hundreds of thousands of wildlife advocates like you, moments ago on June 29th Congress passed a Transportation Package that includes the potential for the largest investment in wildlife conservation inU.S. history and two very important wins for wildlife against Big Oil:

*More than two years into the worst oil disaster in U.S. history, today Congress passed the RESTORE Act, which ensures that money from BP’s oil spill fines will be dedicated to Gulf Coast restoration–a big win for brown pelicans, dolphins, and sea turtles that are still being impacted by the oil spill disaster that began in April 2010.

*It was a hard fight, but the legislation passed today does NOT include language that would have forced approval of the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline, which would put endangered whooping cranes and swift foxes at risk of toxic oil spills while also driving a rapid expansion of habitat-destroying tar sands operations that could put the lives of thousands of Canada’s wolves and caribou at risk.

You’ve helped achieve a tremendous victory for wildlife today through the many ways you’ve worked to hold your elected officials accountable to protecting America‘s wildlife.