Daily Archives: October 13, 2012

Blog Series Celebrating the Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act – one of our most critical laws for rivers and public health – turns 40 this month. American Rivers staff are celebrating the anniversary by kicking off a blog series exploring how different generations have benefited from the Clean Water Act.

Check out the latest posts:

Baby Boomers

Generation X

Generation Y

Fishing With Dad

Join the Conversation! How has the Clean Water Act affected you? They’ll be sharing stories about clean water leading up to the Clean Water Act’s 40th anniversary on October 18th. Tell them why clean rivers are important to you!

Ballot Question Gives Voters say on Kansas Boat Taxes

Amending state constitution would let lawmakers change how watercraft are classified, taxed

On November 6, Kansans will have an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow the Kansas Legislature to change the way watercraft are taxed. For tax purposes, a watercraft is any boat powered by gasoline, diesel, electric, oars or sail, including sailboards, personal watercraft (jet skis), kayaks, and canoes.

The amendment would allow lawmakers – after January 2013 – to classify and tax watercraft on a basis different from other property. The amendment would not directly change how watercraft are taxed; rather, it is a required first step before legislators can make changes in the future.

A YES vote for the proposition would allow the legislature to separately classify and tax watercraft or to exempt watercraft from property taxes. A NO vote on the proposition would not change the way watercraft are taxed.

For county property tax purposes, watercraft are taxed using a formula that multiplies 30 percent of a vessel’s value by the county mill levy, resulting in a tax rate higher than in many other states. The watercraft tax formula is set by the Kansas constitution, which is why an amendment is necessary to allow lawmakers to consider classification and tax rate changes. Three neighboring states – OklahomaNebraska and Missouri – do not have a property tax on watercraft, and neither do Texas and Iowa.

Watercraft powered by gasoline, diesel, electric, or sail must be registered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). Registrations and renewals cost $32.50 each, and are valid for three years from the registration date. Registering a watercraft isn’t the same as paying county property taxes on it; however, KDWPT annually sends the list of registered watercraft to county appraisers.

To lower their property tax burden, some owners unlawfully register their vessels in neighboring states. The only way county appraisers know if a resident owns a watercraft is for the owner to declare it for property tax purposes or through watercraft registration records provided by KDWPT. When owners go out of state to register their boats and avoid paying property taxes, the state loses registration revenue and the counties lose property tax revenue. An estimated 10,000 Kansas residents register their boats in other states to avoid paying higher property taxes in Kansas. There are about 85,000 watercraft registered with KDWPT.

KDWPT does not receive the property tax revenues. Each county is responsible for how it uses its portion of the property tax receipts. KDWPT uses registration revenues along with matching federal funds – the amount of which is determined by the number of registered watercraft – to support boating-related programs such as: developing, improving, and maintaining docks, boat ramps, toilet facilities; inspecting marinas; enforcing vessel operation, sanitation, sound muffling and boating under the influence laws; investigating boating accidents and marine thefts; officer training; search and rescue operations; administering boating education and water safety programs; publishing boating information; and appearing at fairs and boat shows.

Boating registration information is available on the KDWPT website atksoutdoors.com/Boating

Beware of what you feed to your wildlife!

A member of the KWF Board of Directors went down to a local Coop elevator to purchase some corn to fill his deer feeders. He was told their “Deer Corn” had been tested and found to have Aflatoxin, so it should not be fed to cattle or sheep. No mention was made as to its impact on other wildlife. So he contacted his local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism regional office.

Aflatoxins are a group of chemicals produced by certain mold fungi. These fungi, Aspergillus flavusand Aspergillus parasiticus, can be recognized by yellow-green or gray-green, respectively, on corn kernels, in the field or in storage. Although aflatoxins are not automatically produced whenever grain becomes moldy, the risk of aflatoxin contamination is greater in damaged, moldy corn than in corn with little mold. Aflatoxins are harmful or fatal to livestock and are considered carcinogenic (cancer-causing) to animals and humans.

Since ruminants are similar, if it can’t be fed to cattle it probably shouldn’t be fed to deer. Placing high levels of Aflatoxin in areas where quail, pheasants, prairie-chicken, turkey and other birds may get it is even more detrimental to those and other avian species. 

Unfortunately, the KDWPT has no authority in this regard. It is legal in Kansas to sell and feed moldy grain. All KDWPT can do is inform people that using moldy grain of any kind is dangerous and detrimental to the wildlife species people enjoy viewing.

If you get a bag of moldy grain, do like our Board member did: take it back and trade it for grain without Aflatoxin.

Westar Energy to Sponsor Annual Youth Deer Hunts

Applications for Jeffrey Energy Center youth deer hunt due Nov. 2

Westar Energy Green Team wills host rifle deer hunts for youth and their mentors who don’t have deer hunting experience. The Green Team’s annual youth deer hunts are designed to encourage youth who are interested in learning more about hunting to give it a try. The hunts provide safe and fun hunting experiences where the odds of success are high.

Youth 12 and older are invited to apply. Hunts will be conducted at Jeffrey Energy Center just north of St. Marys during both the early and late firearm deer seasons, Nov. 28-Dec. 9 and Jan. 1-13.

A limited number of slots will be awarded to applicants first-come, first-served. Each young hunter must be accompanied by an adult mentor to participate. Hunting will be done from blinds, and mentor/youth pairs will be guided by experienced Westar Energy employees who are volunteering their time. Hunters are encouraged to bring their own rifle, but one can provide if necessary.

An orientation session will be held on Saturday, November 17, when organizers will go over safety, deer biology, and assist youth with sighting in rifles.

Hunts will be held in early morning or late afternoon. Deer are very abundant in this area, and success rates have always been high. Every hunter must have a Unit 9 deer permit from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism. Hunters 16 and older must also possess a hunting license and hunter education certificate.

Applications will be accepted through November 2, and successful hunters will be notified by November 7. To apply, contact Barb Cornelius at 785-575-8125.