Monthly Archives: October 2012

Wildlife Adversely Affected by Habitat Conversion to Plant Commodity Crops

Songbirds, ducks and several at-risk species, such as swift foxes, mountain plovers, sage grouse and lesser prairie chickens, all need wetlands and grasslands to survive. But under the unlimited and unregulated crop insurance subsidies much of their habitat has been converted to cropland—with more to come if Congress passes the proposals on the pending 2012 Farm Bill. 
More than 23 million acres of wildlife habitat were converted to plant commodity crops between 2008 and 2011, according to Plowed Under, a new report by Defenders of Wildlife and the Environmental Working Group (EWG) that analyzes U.S. Department of Agriculture satellite data. The losses were greatest in counties that received the largest amounts of crop insurance subsidies. In addition, the pollution in these areas from chemicals and fertilizers also leads scientists to worry that the pressure on wildlife will only increase.
Defenders is partnering with EWG to push legislators to require farmers to protect wetlands, grasslands and soil on their land before they receive federal subsidies. 
For more:

Your Votes for the Kansas Quail Initiative Could Land $25,000 Grant.

Votes for the Kansas Quail Initiative could bring $25,000 grant to program
You can help Kansas bobwhite quail with just the click of your mouse. Sportdog Brand, a company that produces electronic dog training equipment, is asking the public to help select conservation projects that they can support with additional funding.
Sportdog’s Future Forward Fund contest is a spin-off from their Conservation Fund program, which supports grassroots organizations that work with state, federal, and private wildlife and land management agencies to conserve wild game populations and critical wildlife habitat. The Future Forward Fund contest accepted conservation project proposals from around the country before selecting a top seven. The Kansas Quail Initiative (KQI), nominated by Quail Forever, made the cut. Voting is open now through Nov. 30, 2012. You can vote for the KQI on Sportdog’s Facebook page at, Twitter feed, Sportdog’s website or the email address [email protected].
The project with the most votes will receive a $25,000 grant. The second place vote-getter will receive $5,000.
KQI is a Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism project designed to reverse declining bobwhite quail populations at a landscape level. The project includes the designation of two large quail management focus areas in the eastern half of the state where landowners will receive 100 percent cost-share to improve habitat on their land. The goal is to increase quail numbers by 50 percent and to increase suitable quail habitat by 5 percent in each focus area. Additional support for KQI is provided by the National Wild Turkey Federation, Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation, Quail Forever, Safari Club International, Kansas Wildlife Federation, and the Nature Conservancy. Kansas biologists have joined forces with biologists in other states to form the National Bobwhite Technical Committee with a goal of improving quail habitat across its range through a National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative.

Trout Season Opens November 1st

First year for new trout season opening day
PRATT—The 2012 trout season opens Nov. 1 when select waters across the state will be stocked with trout for the popular winter fishing activity. The trout season has traditionally opened Oct. 15 and closed April 15. However, in recent years, stockings in some waters were delayed because of warm weather. To avoid angler confusion, loss of trout and maintain efficient stocking schedules, the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission approved a Nov. 1 opening day beginning in 2012.
There are two types of trout waters in Kansas; Type 1 requires all anglers age 16 and older fishing during the trout season to have a trout permit; Type 2 waters require anglers 16 and older who are fishing for or in possession of trout to have a trout permit. Anglers 15 and younger can fish for trout without a trout permit, but they may only keep two trout per day. The daily creel limit for anglers with a trout permit is five per day unless posted otherwise.
More than 30 small lakes and several streams will receive trout stockings periodically between Nov. 1 and April 15. Log on to and click on “Trout Program” on the Fishing Quick Links menu on the Fishing Page to see stocking schedules and learn more about trout fishing in Kansas.

Four Louisiana Men Charged With Poaching Iowa Deer

Four Louisiana men face 76 counts and nearly $86,000 in fines and civil damages for allegedly killing five deer illegally in southwest Iowa last November.

James Keith Moore, 41, of HammondLa., and Michael D. Fralick, 45, of PonchatoulaLa., were charged with 32 counts each of deer related violations in four different counties in southwest Iowa. Moore and Fralick were each fined $6,123.90. The state is also seeking $25,000 in civil damages from each man for the deer they allegedly killed illegally.

Stanley B. Russell, 46, of RoselandLa., and William H. Chambliss, 39, of KentwoodLa., were charged with six counts each of deer related violations in Montgomery County. Russell and Chambliss were each fined $1,823.40. The state is seeking $10,000 in civil damages from each man for their role in the alleged poaching activity.

The state has also requested forfeiture of four rifles the individuals used to shoot the deer.

The investigation began in late November when the Kansas Wildlife and Parks Department received a TIP call from a concerned citizen about the activities of these men. The information led authorities to possible illegal activity in Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources received a TIP call about illegal deer activity around the same time that linked the two cases together.

“These men came to Iowa specifically to road hunt trophy bucks during the rut,” said Deb Howe, state conservation officer for the Iowa DNR. “They did not have any licenses or tags to hunt in Iowa during the time they were here.”

A 10 month investigation by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Bureau, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Louisiana Department of Game & Fish, and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks culminated in the 76 wildlife-related counts being filed against four Louisiana men. Fralick, Russell and Chambliss face similar charges in Kansas.

An initial court date will be scheduled for November.

Information received through the TIP hotline in both Iowa and Kansas was critical in this investigation. If you have information on wildlife crimes please call TIP of Iowa at 1-800-532-2020 or Operation Game Thief in Kansas at 1-877-426-3843; you can remain anonymous.

Vanishing Paradise Announces First-Ever Conservation Prostaff Dedicated to Mississippi River Restoration

Today, Vanishing Paradise announced the launch of the first-ever conservation prostaff, a group of dedicated and passionate sportsmen and women who will help raise awareness of the importance of restoration the Mississippi River Delta across the country. Interested individuals can apply for a position on the prostaffhere until November 30.

Land Tawney, National Wildlife Federation’s senior manager for sportsmen leadership, said in a statement:

The Vanishing Paradise prostaff is an exciting next step in our work uniting hunters and anglers on the forefront of conserving our great Mississippi River Delta. We’ve been educating Americans on why we need restoration of the delta for years, including advocating for a large-scale renewal of the region following the 2010 Gulf oil disaster. The launch of the prostaff is a culmination of our development of partnerships with individuals, groups and businesses on safekeeping this region for future generations.

Applicants for the prostaff need not have visited the delta to be a successful candidate. We are looking for sportsmen and women who have a passion for hunting, fishing and conservation, as well as the desire to help restore this important resource.

The delta is one of the most productive habitats for fish, waterfowl and other wildlife of the U.S. The wetlands around the Mississippi River host as many as 10 million of North America’s ducks and geese every winter and also provide some of the best fresh- and saltwater fishing anywhere in the world. In short, the region is a vital component of our nation’s outdoor heritage for American sportsmen and women.

The Vanishing Paradise prostaff will cultivate hunting and angling individuals, organizations and businesses to be champions for the revitalization of the Mississippi River Delta through public and media outreach, event coordination and trade shows.

Learn more about Vanishing Paradise’s efforts to unite hunters and anglers on the important issue of Mississippi River Delta restoration at

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

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.

Invasive Species at Our Doors: "All Tricks, No Treats"

by U.S Fish and Wildlife Service

Things that go bump in the night aren’t any scarier than things that bump native fish, wildlife, and plant species out of Northwest forests, fields, and streams.

That’s the premise of a new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service-sponsored social media campaign launching Monday, October 1, 2012. The agency’s Pacific Region will use its Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube sites during the month of October to demonstrate how creeping, crawling invasive animals and plants can make local habitats resemble haunted ecological houses.

“Invasive plants and animals are one of the biggest challenges we face while protecting, enhancing, or restoring native fish, wildlife, and plant populations and their habitats” said Robyn Thorson, Director of the Service’s Pacific Region. “Preventing the introduction of new invasive species is the preferred method of avoiding these challenges but we need extensive outreach and education to be successful. We hope this campaign, which will be educational and entertaining, will do that.”

Dubbed “All Tricks, No Treats,” the campaign will highlight four invasive species challenges—one a week– that have plagued conservation efforts like a zombie invasion. For instance, one will address the species and habitat impacts of releasing popular aquarium or ornamental species like red swamp crayfish, red-eared sliders (a turtle), and hydrilla (an invasive aquatic weed).

Release of non-native aquarium species often occurs by educators and students at the conclusion of science projects or when classes end for the summer. Most people have no idea they are creating a potential nightmare scenario in local waterways for native species and habitats; one-third of the world’s worst aquatic invasive animals and plants are aquarium or ornamental species.

The campaign intends to raise awareness of such ‘pathways for introduction’ and offer audiences easy prevention measures they can take at home and in the classroom. It will use humor and horror-themed punch lines like “Invasion of the Waterbody Snatchers,” video clips, cartoons, even recipes in which invasive species are the main ingredient to make youth and adult audiences aware of existing initiatives and educational campaigns such as “Don’t Let it Loose,” “Squeal on Pigs,” and “Clean, Drain, Dry.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners anticipate that by connecting popular scary Halloween themes with information about a serious ecological challenge, the social media campaign will parlay an invasive species fear factor into action.

In the Pacific Northwest and Hawaiian Islands at least 5,000 introduced species have been documented outside their native range. While many assimilate into ecological communities with little to no environmental or socio-economic impacts, other introduced species, such as quagga and zebra mussels, can cause millions of dollars in damage to local infrastructure, require expensive annual maintenance, alter habitats, and imperil native species.

Follow “All Tricks, No Treats” on Facebook at

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