Daily Archives: November 2, 2012

Recreational Trails Fund Act

                                                     TRAILS ADVISORY BOARD TO MEET

PRATT – The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Trails Advisory Board will hold a public meeting at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 5, 2012, at the Great Plains Nature Center, 6232 E. 29th Street N, Wichita, Kansas, for the purpose of hearing and discussing projects submitted for funding under the Recreational Trails Fund Act. Signs on the premises will direct visitors to the meeting room. Grant applications are due November 30, 2012. Grant information can be found on the KDWPT website at www.ksoutdoors.com/news/State-Parks/Grants.
Persons interested in commenting on projects should attend this meeting. Grant applicants are encouraged to attend and discuss their proposals. Time for comments will be limited. Final decisions about proposals will not be made at this meeting.
For more information, contact Kathy Pritchett, Trail Grant Coordinator, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Avenue, Pratt, Kansas 67124, or call 620-672-5911. If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the TDD Service at 1-800-766-3777. An individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting Kathy Pritchett at 620-672-5911.

More Project FeederWatch Participants Needed to Track Winter Birds

The 26th season of Project FeederWatch begins November 10, and participants are needed more than ever. By watching their feeders from November through April and submitting their observations to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, bird watchers make it possible for scientists to keep track of changing bird populations across the continent. New or returning participants can sign up anytime at www.FeederWatch.org

After unusual winter weather in some parts of the country last season, many participants found themselves asking, “Where are the birds?”

“Warmer temperatures and lack of snow cover means birds can find more natural food so they may visit feeders less,” explains FeederWatch leader David Bonter. “But even if participants are not seeing many birds, that’s still valuable information we need to detect population changes on a broad scale.”

The AccuWeather long-range forecasting service is predicting some big storms in the Northeast this winter, so FeederWatchers in the region may see more birds at their feeders than they did last winter. Forecasts also call for another year of below-normal snowfall for the Midwest, above-normal snowfall and below-normal temperatures for the central and southern Rockies, and a wet winter with above-normal precipitation for the Gulf Coast and Southeast.

“We’ll have to see if those predictions pan out and how they might affect feeder-bird numbers,” Bonter says. “The one number we definitely want to see increase is the number of people taking part in FeederWatch. It’s easy to do, and the information is incredibly valuable in helping us better understand what’s going on in the environment and in the lives of the birds we enjoy so much.”

To learn more about joining Project FeederWatch and to sign up, visitwww.FeederWatch.org or call the Cornell Lab toll-free at (866) 989-2473. In return for the $15 fee ($12 for Cornell Lab members), participants receive the FeederWatcher Handbook and Instructions with tips on how to successfully attract birds to your feeders, an identification poster of the most common feeder birds, and a calendar. Participants also receive Winter Bird Highlights, an annual summary of FeederWatch findings, as well as the Cornell Lab’s quarterly newsletter, Living Bird News.

Project FeederWatch is a joint research and education project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Bird Studies Canada.

Presidential candidates should make energy and public lands in the West a priority

By Chris Wood, Larry Schweiger and Whit Fosburgh
Guest Commentary

Denver Post

The 2012 presidential campaign has been noteworthy for both candidates’ relative silence on the importance of public lands to hunters and anglers. The candidates ignore sportsmen and women at their peril. Hunters and anglers have high voting rates, and represent an important piece of the US economy. Hunting and fishing, for example, pumped more than $75 billion into the national economy last year.

The more than 45 million Americans who hunt and fish depend on public lands for access, quality habitat for fish and wildlife, and abundant hunting and angling opportunity. In a new national poll released last month, hunters and anglers not only believe that conservation is just as important as gun rights, they also strongly believe that the protection of America’s public lands should be given priority over producing oil, gas, and coal on these lands.

In 2010, President Obama’s Department of Interior announced important oil and gas leasing and drilling reforms intended to continue multiple uses of our public lands while safeguarding fish, wildlife, clean air and water. One of the biggest champions of Interior’s promised reforms was Sportsmen for Responsible Energy Development (SFRED), a coalition of more than 500 businesses, groups and individuals led by the National Wildlife Federation, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Trout Unlimited.

The SFRED coalition came together in 2007 in response to a 260 percent increase in drilling on public lands. Much of the drilling occurred in the Rocky Mountain West, where more than half the nation’s Blue-Ribbon trout fisheries and most of the prime elk and mule deer habitat are found on public lands. From the high-elevation valleys ringed by snow-capped peaks to the sagebrush steppe, these lands are where many Americans catch their first wild trout or track a trophy elk on a cold, clear fall morning.

Unfortunately, implementation of the Interior Department’s onshore oil and gas reforms has been, at best, uneven. Hunters and anglers understand the need for energy resources to fuel our pickups and heat our homes, but energy production should not be allowed to impair the productive capacity of the land for fish, wildlife, and water resources.

The unfulfilled promise of Interior’s reforms make hunters and anglers nervous. Further, proposals by candidate Mitt Romney to double the production of oil and gas from public lands, or worse, sell off the public lands or turn them over to state or local governments, are problematic. The public lands are the birthright of the nation, and of significant social and economic importance to rural and urban communities around the country. Such proposals do not reflect the enormous importance of these lands to people who fish and hunt.

Sportsmen and women understand that not every president can be as passionate an outdoorsman as Theodore Roosevelt. We do expect, however, that candidates for president understand the importance of keeping public lands in public hands while also acting on the need to balance energy development with abundant fish and wildlife populations, clean air and water, and recreational opportunities that include hunting and fishing. Both candidates would do well to listen to sportsmen and women.

Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited. Larry Schweiger is president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. Whit Fosburgh is president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.