Monthly Archives: September 2012

License Plate Birdhouse

With a few pieces of scrap wood and a recycled license plate,

you can make an inexpensive birdhouse

By Dottie Baltz,

PennellvilleNew York

What You Will Need

• 2 pieces of pine, 3/4 x 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches

• 1 piece of wood or plywood, 1/2 x 4-1/4 x 4 inches

• 1 piece of thin wood or plywood, 1/2 x 4 x 4 inches

• 1 piece of pine, 3/4 x 3/4 x 7 inches

• 12 1/4-inch brad nails or small siding nails

• 4 1-inch pan-head screws or roofing nails

• 2 1/4-inch screw eyes

• 1 12-inch piece of chain for hanging

• 1/4-inch drill bit

• 1-1/8-inch hole saw

• Primer and outdoor paint (optional)

• License plate

• Wood glue

Recommended Tools

• Saw

• Hammer

• Drill

• Ruler

• Pencil

• Needle-nose pliers

Instructions

1. To start with, cut two pieces of 3/4-inch-thick pine into a square, 4-1/2 x 4-1/2 inches. These will be the front and back of the birdhouse.

2. Take a ruler and mark off a 3/4 x 3/4-inch square on one of the corners of each block of wood. Use a small hand saw to cut out the corners.

3. With the notched corner at the top, use the 1/4-inch drill bit to drill two air holes, about an inch apart, just under the notched portion of one of the blocks of wood. This will be the back of the birdhouse.

4. On the other block of wood, measure approximately 2-1/2 inches down from the notch. This is where you will drill the entrance hole, using the 1-1/8-inch hole saw.

5. Taking a piece of 1/2-inch-thick wood, cut two pieces, 4-1/4 x 4 inches and 4 x 4 inches.

6. Place the back of the birdhouse, which contains the air holes, flat on your work surface, and apply a small bead of glue along the two bottom edges. Attach the thinner pieces of wood, finishing off the piece with the front of the birdhouse that has the entrance hole.

7. After the glue sets, hammer in some brad nails. If you use four on each side, this should secure the house nicely.

8. Take the 3/4 x 3/4 x 7-inch piece of wood and center it over the notched corners. This will be a support for the roof, as well as a place to put the screw eyes for hanging.

9. Secure this piece with a little wood glue and a couple of nails on each side.

10. Once the glue is completely dry, you can prime and paint your birdhouse. Or use a stain and sealer instead. Just be careful not to get any paint inside the birdhouse where it could harm the birds.

11. Find the center of your license plate and bend it to a 45-degree angle. Center it over the roof support on the house.

12. Using a pencil, mark where the holes of the license plate will be on the edge of the birdhouse. Drill holes for the pan-head screws or roofing nails; this will prevent the wood from splitting when you put in the hardware. If you don’t have pan-head screws, find a screw or nail with a large enough head to secure the license plate.

13. Put the plate back on top of the birdhouse and attach with the large screws or nails.

14. About 1/2 inch from the edge of the roof support, attach a screw eye, one on each end. These will hold the chain you will use to hang your birdhouse.

15. With the needle-nose pliers, open a link at each end of the chain and attach it to the screw eyes. Now your birdhouse is ready to hang.

Bicycle Trips For Kids

Bicycle Trips For Kids

     By Matt Nowak

Kansas topography lends itself very well to bicycling, especially to

mountain biking, where riders can get out into the fields and woodlands on

old roads and trails.  Trips For Kids is a national mountain biking program

for school-age youths that is supported by major corporations that provide

new bicycles, helmets, first-aid kits, energy bars, etc. to new TFK

chapters.  Get your kids outdoors on bikes by forming a TFK chapter in your

community.  Any service club, school district, city, youth center, church,

youth groups like scouts and 4-H, etc. can form a new chapter by contacting

Trips For Kids, http://www.tripsforkids.org/.   And communities can benefit by conducting bicycle activities and events by drawing more people into town.  Mountain bikes are a great way to get to a local fishing hole, too.

Domestic Predators Can Impact Wildlife

By Stewart Abrams

Have you noticed a decline in wildlife species on your property? Are there stray cats or dogs wandering the area? Could your own dog or cat be to blame? Many pet owners don’t realize the impact their outside pet may be having on local wildlife.

Although many dog and cat owners keep their pets confined, others allow their animals to roam freely. This results in larger feral populations, which can have detrimental effects on wildlife populations. This is especially true in suburban and rural areas where animal control is rare or nonexistent.

According to the Animal Pet Products Association, more than half of U.S. households own a pet. There are approximately 164 million cats and dogs belonging to these households. The actual number of cats and dogs in the United States is much larger because the statistics do not include feral populations which are impossible to determine.

Domestic and feral cats kill large numbers of birds and small animals annually. Although feral cats kill more animals per year than domestic cats, on average they do not survive as long as domestic cats. The low survival rate of feral cats is due to the lack of protection from disease, predation and starvation. Feral cats may not live long, but few are spayed or neutered, which results in a high reproductive rate. Female cats can have three litters of four to six kittens per year. In addition to killing wildlife, cats also transmit rabies and feline diseases to native animals. Whether feral or domestic, cats can have a large negative impact on local wildlife and ecosystems.

Domestic and feral dogs do not kill as many animals as cats, but they can pose a serious problem in some areas. In order to hunt in the wild, feral dogs may form packs so they can successfully hunt and survive in the wild. Similar to packs of wolves or coyotes, dog packs will stake out a territory and hunt wildlife and livestock. Coyotes are often blamed for damage inflicted by domestic and feral dog packs. Not only do these packs pose a threat to native wildlife, but they are also a danger to humans. People have been attacked and some even killed by packs of wild dogs. Feral dogs may also introduce diseases such as distemper, parvo and rabies, which create serious health related issues for wildlife, domestic animals and humans.

Negative effects on the natural environment can be reduced by following some simple suggestions. One of the best solutions is to keep your pets inside the house or confine them to a yard or pen. Keep a watchful eye on your pets when you let them outside. To avoid disease transmission, renew vaccinations annually. Adequate feeding will provide full stomachs, therefore decreasing temptations to hunt for food. Attach some type of bell or noise maker to their collars so that they can’t easily stalk prey. Above all, have your pet spayed or neutered. It is through responsible pet ownership that domestic dog and cat impacts on local ecosystems can be reduced to a minimum.

Abrams is a Wildlife Biologist with the Alabama Division of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Salazar, Ashe Announce Funds to Expand Refuge System, Conserve Wetlands

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe announced September 13th that the Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved the investment of nearly $11 million in revenue from the Migratory Bird Conservation Fund to add an estimated 10,640 wetland acres to seven units of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The commission also approved $18.4 million in federal funding to conserve more than 95,000 acres of wetlands and associated habitat in the United States under the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA).

“With these key investments, we are strengthening our wetlands protection though the National Wildlife Refuge System and in other key waterfowl and wildlife habitat throughout North America,” said Salazar, who chairs the commission. “Thanks to the contributions of hunters, stamp collectors, and others who purchase Duck Stamps, our National Wildlife Refuge System continues to provide vital habitat for wildlife as well as pristine places for outdoor recreation for tens of millions of people.”

“Besides providing recreational benefits to the public, our nation’s wetlands provide vital storm protection for coastal areas, hold and slowly release flood waters, and act as filters to cleanse water of impurities,” said Ashe. “Wetlands are vital landscapes for our nation’s birds and other wildlife who rest, feed and breed there throughout the year.”

Of particular note is the commission’s boundary and tract approval at the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. By approving the addition of 12,352 acres of the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, the commission is protecting one of the highest densities of breeding lesser scaup in North America and the highest density of breeding trumpeter swans in Idaho,Montana and Wyoming.

The purchase and lease of wetland habitat parcels are funded in part with proceeds from sales of the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp, otherwise known as the Federal Duck Stamp.

They include:

♦ Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Montana – Boundary addition of 12,352 acres, including 810 fee acres at $3,604,500 and 5,834 lease acres at $11,085. The refuge encompasses the largest wetland complex in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. The proposed acquisition will protect wetlands, provide important breeding habitat for 21 species of waterfowl, and secure important water rights.

♦ San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge, Texas – Boundary addition and price approval for 1,441 fee acres for $2,589,700. The proposed area is part of a rich and productive wetland complex providing wintering, migration, and resident habitat for waterfowl. Thousands of waterfowl winter in the area, including mottled ducks, mallards, northern pintails, gadwalls, widgeons, northern shovelers, blue- and green-winged teal, black-bellied whistling ducks, and ruddy ducks.

♦ Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, Texas – Boundary addition and price approval for 200 fee acres; $176,200. The refuge protects important remnant bottomland hardwood and associated habitats for migrating, wintering, and breeding waterfowl, and has been identified as a priority project for the East Texas Bottomland Hardwood Initiative, a component of the Lower Mississippi Valley Joint Venture and the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. The proposed addition lies in the 100-year floodplain of the Trinity River and contains biologically significant bottomland hardwoods.

♦ Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge, New York – 625.39 fee acres; $2,377,000. The flat floor of this basin, composed of deep, rich, muck soils, presents a unique opportunity to acquire lands that can easily be restored to large shallow pools for waterfowl. Restoration of this tract could increase the refuge’s capacity to support an additional 9,000 migratory waterfowl in the spring and more than 18,000 in the fall.

♦ Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon – 23.59 fee acres; $82,500. The Wapato Lake Unit protects and conserves imperiled northern Willamette Valley habitats that support large populations of wintering waterfowl, including tundra swans, mallards, northern pintails, canvasbacks, ring-necked ducks, lesser scaup, and cackling and dusky Canada geese.

♦ Tulare Basin Wildlife Management Area, California – 164 easement acres for $309,000 and Blanket Price Approval for 18,581 easement acres up to $3,000 per acre. The WMA supports the last remnant of wetlands and wildlife habitat left in a dramatically altered Tulare Lake watershed. The wetlands are an important winter foraging and nesting habitat for many waterfowl species, including mallard, northern pintail, gadwall, cinnamon teal, and northern shoveler. Tulare Basin wetlands have hosted wintering waterfowl concentrations in excess of 100,000.

♦ Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge, South Carolina – 1,542.83 fee acres; $1,850,000. The tidal freshwater wetlands are some of the most diverse freshwater wetland systems found in North America and offer many important habitats for migratory birds, fish, and resident wildlife. The tract consists of alluvial bottomland hardwoods and a network of oxbow lakes, ephemeral creeks, and tidal lakes and sloughs.

Grants approved at the commission meeting were funded through the NAWCA Standard Grants Program and will support 19 projects in 14 states. Partners will contribute an additional $49.4 million in matching non-federal dollars toward these projects. The projects include:

• California: Butte and Colusa Basins Wetland IV Grantee: Ducks Unlimited, Inc. — Partners will restore and enhance wetlands and uplands that support millions of waterfowl, shorebirds and other migratory bird species, including northern pintail, mallard, white-fronted goose, American avocet and white-faced ibis.

• South CarolinaSantee Delta and Winyah Bay Protection Project: Phase II Grantee: The Nature Conservancy — Partners will protect wetlands and associated uplands to benefit breeding, migrating and wintering birds such as mallards and wood thrush.

• Iowa: Prairie Lakes 6 Wetland Initiative Grantee: Iowa Department of Natural Resources — Partners will restore wetland and grassland complexes and improve management of large prairie marshes to benefit migrating birds and also provide better nesting and brood-rearing habitats for the birds that breed in the area, such as lesser scaup.

The Migratory Bird Conservation Commission includes Senators Thad Cochran of Mississippi and Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Representatives John Dingell of Michigan and Robert Wittman of Virginia, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, as well as state representatives as ex officio members who vote on projects located within their respective states.

Passed in 1989, NAWCA provides matching grants to organizations and individuals who have developed partnerships to carry out wetlands conservation projects in the United StatesCanada, andMexico.

More information about the approved NAWCA grant projects is available at:http://www.fws.gov/birdhabitat/Grants/NAWCA/Standard/US/2012_Sept.shtm

Friends of the Kaw’s Fall Schedule!

Mark your calendars for any or all of these fall floats and events

September 22, Saturday – Rain Garden Maintenance and Community Float, 8:30am to 1pm, from De Soto to Cedar Creek. Boat rental is waived for this float but you must RSVP on a first come first serve basis. We will meet at the De Soto Access at 8:30am.**

Sept. 23, Sunday – Kaw River Paddling Seminar at Bass Pro Shop in Olathe from 2 to 4pm. The class will highlight types of canoes and kayaks, paddles, personal floatation devices (PFDs) and other equipment that works best for floating the Kaw. We will talk about general and specific safety information on paddling rivers, and show participants how to get information on location of access ramps, Kaw water levels and reservoir releases.**

            Sept. 30, Sunday – Youth Fishing Workshop at Bass Pro Shop in Olathe from 2 to 4pm.  We will have activities for school aged youth on fishing, the Kansas River and reducing stormwater pollution.**

            October 5 & 6, Friday & Saturday – FOK Member Overnight Float from Lecompton toLawrence (bring your own boat.)  Meet at Lawrence River Front Park at 4:00pm. Must RSVP

            October 7, Sunday – 4H/River Ambassador Float – De Soto to Cedar Creek from 1 to 5pm. This educational float is geared for school aged children and their parents and boat rental will be waived. Must RSVP.

            October 12, Friday – Wild and Scenic Film Festival at 7:30pm at Liberty Hall, Lawrence. The festival tour brings together the best of Patagonia’s Wild and Scenic films in a two + hour program that leaves viewers feeling inspired and motivated to go out and make a difference in their community and around the world. Tickets are $10 in advance and may be purchased via “Donate or $12 at the door.

            November 13, Tuesday – FOK Annual Dinner and Silent Auction from 6 to 10pm at  Uncle Buck’s at the Bass Pro Shop in Olathe. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Melinda Daniels, KSU Geology Professor, discussing her research on Kaw in-river dredging. Tickets for the dinner will be [email protected] and RSVP’s must be made by November 9. Silent Auction items are needed for this event so even if you can’t come you can support Friends of the Kaw and the Kansas Riverkeeper.

            ** Activity of Friends of the Kaw’s Johnson County Stormwater Grant. 

            For more information or to RSVP contact the Kansas Riverkeeper at 785 312 7200.

Why the Farm Bill is Huge News for Hunters and Fishermen

by Hal Herring

We got a close haircut with a pair of sheep shears, our shiny boots and new blue jeans are gone, but we can still dance pretty well.

The Senate has passed a version of the Farm Bill that, in a time of crushing deficit, hunters and fishermen can at least live with. Conservation programs took a hit, losing $6 billion in funding. You say “Farm Bill” to most people and you’ll see their eyelids slowly start to close. But whether we recognize it or not, what’s in the Farm Bill, and what gets funded or cut, is of vital importance to hunting and fishing. A lot of what is there makes up the backbone of what we know as American conservation.

One of the hardest losses was the reduction in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) from 32 million acres to a cap of 25 million. That’s a tough one for bird and waterfowl hunters, especially in the Midwest, where high prices for corn and other grains are encouraging farmers to bring land into production that for the past few decades might have been important nesting and security cover, not to mention places for us to hunt. There are currently 29 million acres enrolled in CRP, so we are looking at a loss of at least 4 million acres, maybe more since crop prices, driven up by the ethanol subsidies and 7 billion very hungry human beings, are expected to remain at record highs and CRP is, of course, a voluntary program–if you can make more money farming your ground than enrolling it in CRP, you farm it.

Yes, we’ll see losses in hunting. But the more important losses will be at a systemic level that will also affect fishing. CRP was designed to keep farmers from having to raise crops on marginal lands subject to erosion, to keep streams and rivers from silting up, and to keep fertilizer from running off and poisoning watersheds. It is an incentive for private property owners to not ruin or lose our most precious resources–soil and water. The wildlife benefits have been incredible, but the core mission was clear and simple: long-term basic economic preservation. We’re backing off on that right now, chasing that short-term dollar, and that’s going to cost us.

What was preserved for conservation in the Farm Bill is significant, because it makes a statement that yes, we do understand that conserving basic resources and investing in conservation is an economic necessity. “The real investments in conservation survived,” said Julie Sibbing, who works on Farm Bill issues for the National Wildlife Federation. “We fought hard, and we have major victories in protecting wetlands, grasslands, and erosion-prone croplands. I’d say we did the best we could, and got the best we could get in the climate at this time.”

One of the most interesting new twists in the Farm Bill is the linking of federal crop insurance payments to conservation practices on farmlands. Steve Kline of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership,  explains it like this: “Here in the U.S., we long ago accepted that the federal government has to be involved in crop insurance- the private insurance sector can’t afford to insure farmers in a region where, say, a drought might cause catastrophic losses for every farm. They’d never make a profit, and even if private insurance was available, no farmer could afford it. So the federal government subsidizes that, in part to make sure that we always have enough to eat. Farmers say they can’t operate without it. But we don’t want to use the taxpayers’ money to subsidize a farmer to destroy wetlands or plant land that will erode and drain fertilizer into a river. If you are going to get the subsidy, it has to be tied into something that will produce a value for the taxpayers that are providing the money.”

The program is called Conservation Compliance, and it ties federal crop insurance to the larger conservation picture. It is furiously opposed by the Corn Growers Association and other lobbyists who, apparently, would prefer to have the taxpayer money and offer nothing in return. Some more information on the new insurance plan and other subsidies included in the new Farm Bill is at Agriculture.com.

As it emerges from the tempest of the U.S. Senate, the Farm Bill is the best that we could hope for and it still faces a tough fight in the House, which has been dismissive of conservation issues lately.

2012 Upland Bird Forecast Online

While some areas of central, northcentral, and northwest Kansas may offer some good hunting, drought and heat have reduced bird numbers

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has released its 2012 Kansas Upland Bird Forecast, and because of continued drought, the state will likely experience a below-average upland bird season this fall. Kansas upland bird hunters experienced a down season in 2011, and this summer’s heat and drought in parts of the state have not improved upland bird prospects for 2012. For those willing to hunt hard, there will still be pockets of fair bird numbers, especially in the northern Flint Hills and northcentral and northwestern parts of the state.

Although last winter was mild, winter precipitation is important for spring vegetation, which is critical to reproductive success, and most of Kansas did not get enough winter precipitation. Pheasant breeding populations showed significant reductions in 2012, especially in primary pheasant range in western Kansas. Spring came early and hot this year but also included fair spring moisture until early May, when the precipitation stopped. Then the state experienced record heat and drought through the rest of the reproductive season.

Early nesting conditions were generally good for prairie-chickens and pheasants. However, the primary nesting habitat for pheasants in western Kansas is winter wheat, and in 2012, Kansas had one of the earliest wheat harvests on record. Wheat harvest can destroy nests and very young broods. The early harvest likely lowered pheasant nest- and early-brood success. The intense heat and lack of rain in June and July resulted in decreased brood cover and insect populations, causing lower chick survival for all upland game birds.

Because of drought, all counties in Kansas were opened to Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) emergency haying or grazing. Many CRP fields, including Walk In Hunting Areas (WIHA), may be affected. Kansas has more than one million acres of WIHA (atlases available online at ksoutdoors.com or at any license vendor). Often, older stands of CRP grass need disturbance, and haying and grazing can improve habitat for the next breeding season and ultimately be beneficial if weather is favorable.

The regular opening date for the pheasant and quail seasons is Nov. 10 for the entire state. The previous weekend — Nov. 3-4 — is the special youth pheasant and quail season. Youth participating in the special season must be 16 years old or younger and accompanied by a non-hunting adult who is 18 or older. All public wildlife areas and WIHA tracts will be open for public access during the special youth season.

Pheasant

Pheasant breeding populations dropped by nearly 50 percent or more across pheasant range from 2011 to 2012, resulting in fewer adult hens in the population to start the 2012 nesting season. Drought has resulted in less cover and insects needed for good pheasant reproduction. Additionally, winter wheat serves as major nesting habitat for pheasants in western Kansas, and a record early wheat harvest this summer likely destroyed some nests and young broods. Then the hot, dry weather set in from May to August, the primary brood-rearing period for pheasants. Insufficient precipitation and lack of habitat and insects throughout the state’s primary pheasant range resulted in limited production. This will reduce hunting prospects compared to recent years. However, some good opportunities to harvest roosters in the Sunflower State remain, especially for those willing to work for their birds. Though the drought has taken its toll, Kansasstill contains a pheasant population that will produce a harvest in the top three or four major pheasant states this year.

The best areas this year will likely be pockets of northwest and northcentral Kansas. Populations in southwest Kansas were hit hardest by the 2011-2012 drought (72 percent decline in breeding population), and a very limited amount of production occurred this season due to continued drought and limited breeding populations.

Quail

The bobwhite breeding population in 2012 was generally stable or improved compared to 2011. Areas in the northern Flint Hills and parts of northeast Kansas experienced improved production this year. Much of eastern Kansas has seen consistent declines in quail populations in recent decades. After many years of depressed populations, this year’s rebound in quail reproduction in eastern Kansas is welcome, but overall populations are still below historic averages. The best quail hunting will be found throughout the northern Flint Hills and parts of central Kansas. Prolonged drought likely impaired production in central and western Kansas.

Prairie-Chicken

Kansas is home to greater and lesser prairie-chickens. Both species require a landscape of predominately native grass. Lesser prairie-chickens are found in westcentral and southwesternKansas in native prairie and nearby stands of native grass in CRP. Greater prairie-chickens are found primarily in the tallgrass and mixed-grass prairies in the eastern one-third and northern one-half of the state.

The spring prairie-chicken lek survey indicated that most populations remained stable or declined from last year. Declines were likely due to extreme drought throughout 2011. Areas of northcentral and northwest Kansas fared the best, while areas in southcentral and southwestKansas experienced the sharpest declines where drought was most severe. Many areas in the Flint Hills were not burned this spring due to drought. This resulted in far more residual grass cover for much improved nesting conditions compared to recent years. There have been some reports of prairie-chicken broods in these areas, and hunting will likely be somewhat improved compared to recent years.

Because of recent increases in prairie-chicken (both species) populations in northwestKansas, regulations have been revised this year. The early prairie-chicken season (Sept. 15-Oct. 15) and two-bird bag limit has been extended into northwest Kansas. The northwest unit boundary has also been revised to include areas north of U.S. Highway 96 and west of U.S. Highway 281. Additionally, all prairie-chicken hunters are now required to purchase a $2.50 prairie-chicken permit. This permit will allow KDWPT to better track hunters and harvest, which will improve habitat management practices. Both species of prairie-chicken are of conservation concern, and the lesser prairie-chicken is a candidate species for federal listing under the Endangered Species Act.

A detailed 2012 Kansas Upland Bird Hunting Forecast is available online at the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. Click “Hunting/Upland Birds/Upland Bird Regional Forecast” for the complete report.

The following table includes the upland bird seasons for 2012. Possession limits are twice the daily bag limits.

Season

Open Dates

Daily Bag (Possession)

Open Areas

Prairie-chicken (Early)

15 Sep. – 15 Oct.

2(8)

East Unit: East of Hwy 281

NW Unit: North of Hwy 96 and West of Hwy 281

Youth Pheasant

3-4 Nov.

2(4)

Statewide

Youth Quail

3-4 Nov.

4(8)

Statewide

Pheasant

10 Nov. – 31 Jan.

4(16)

Statewide

Quail

10 Nov. 31 Jan.

8(32)

Statewide

Prairie-chicken

* East and Northwest Units

17 Nov. – 31 Jan.

2(8)

Excludes area south of Hwy 96 & west of Hwy 281

Prairie-chicken

* Southwest Unit

17 Nov. – 31 Dec.

1(4)

South of Hwy 96 & west of Hwy. 281

Estimating available grass on Rangeland and CRP

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) along with the Clark, Comanche, and Meade County Conservation Districts, and The Kansas Grazing Land Coalition (KGLC) would like to invite anyone with an interest in learning how to determine forage availability on grasslands to join us Tuesday, September 18th at 9:15am at the USDA service center in Ashland, Kansas.

Once everyone has meet ate the service center, we will drive out to a local ranch and some CRP fields for the “hands on” presentation.  Our featured presenter will be Dwayne Rice, Rangeland Specialist with NRCS.  Dwayne worked out of the NRCS office in Medicine Lodge for 5 years in the late 90s, and has been a Range Specialist with NRCS since 1987.  “He is a great resource that I never get tired of listening to” said Adam Elliott, DC in Ashland.  “Dwayne sees the whole picture, from livestock nutrition management all the way back down how herd management effects the soil and productivity of your grass”.

The presentation will be less than 90 minutes and will be very interactive.  Dwayne will discuss different methods of estimating available forage, including the use of a grazing stick. KGLC will be providing grazing sticks to all who attend.

For more information, contact Adam Elliott at 620.635.2822×3, Bill Barby at 620.873.9700, or visit the Clark County facebook page at:http://www.facebook.com/ClarkCountyConservationDistrict

Recreational trails to receive $2 million in federal funding

Kansas’ recreational trails program will receive $2 million under the federal transportation bill passed by Congress this summer.

“One of our highest priorities is to enhance ecotourism in Kansas, which includes developing a good trail system,” said Robin Jennison, Secretary of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), which manages the trails program. “This level of funding will allow us to make great strides in the number and quality of trails across our state.”

Federal transportation dollars go to the Kansas Department of Transportation, which then transfers an allocation to KDWPT for the trails program. The federal transportation bill – Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century, or MAP-21 – had specified $1.3 million for the trails program, but a decision was made to increase the allocation in accordance with new flexibility provisions in MAP-21.

“KDOT and KDWPT worked to come up with a way to prioritize the amount of money that should be applied to recreational trails and determined that $2 million is the appropriate level,” said Transportation Secretary Mike King.

“This will help move ecotourism forward in Kansas.”

Kansas has more than 650 trails totaling more than 2,100 miles in length. KDWPT directly manages trails located on state park, wildlife area or state fishing lake properties. The others are managed by local governments or non-governmental organizations. To locate trails, visit http://maps.kansasgis.org/recfinder/public/index.cfm

Earlier this month, Kansas exercised a provision in the federal transportation bill to “opt out” of the recreational trails program. Exercising that provision simply gave the state maximum flexibility to prioritize the funding. It didn’t eliminate state support for the recreational trails program, which has received about $1.3 million annually in recent years. To have that flexibility option, the state had to “opt out” by Sept. 1.

Kansas will receive $366 million in federal transportation funding for the 2012 federal fiscal year, which is down from the $399 million it received in 2011.