Daily Archives: December 21, 2012

Upcoming Kansas Prescribed Burning Workshops

Fire safety and burning techniques are the priority topics of the upcoming Prescribed Burning Workshops scheduled for January and February.

            Carol Blocksome, Department of Agronomy, Kansas State University (KSU), Manhattan, said that these popular workshops are a continuation of a multi-agency effort to inform producers about prescribed burning.  It is evident from these workshops that producers need and want more information and education on how to conduct a safe and successful prescribed burn.

            “Safe burning requires proper planning, education, and training,” she said.

            “Producers may want to burn native and Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grassland to improve vegetative quality, control weeds, manage for wildlife, or fulfill CRP contractual obligations,” said Blocksome.

            “I would encourage any producer who is thinking of burning grassland in Kansas to attend one of these workshops,” Blocksome said.

            There is a registration charge to attend the workshops, which covers the cost of handouts and a notebook, and in some cases, a meal. RSVP deadline is a week prior to the workshop date.  For more information, please contact your office listed below.

            Prescribed Burning workshops are being held at the locations listed below.  The content of all the workshops is very similar, so producers can attend the most convenient location.

            Agenda topics are:

Reasons for Burning

Notification, Regulations, and Permits



Using a Burn Contractor and Burning Assistance

Equipment, Hazards, and Firebreaks

Planning and Conducting a Burn

            Presenters include representatives from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Farm Service Agency (FSA), Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), Kansas Forest Service (KFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), National Weather Service (NWS), KSU, as well as local fire and emergency management staff and local producers with burn experience.  Presenters vary by workshop, but all will be presenting essentially the same information.

            Workshops are hosted by local conservation districts, Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategy (WRAPS) groups, Kansas local fire departments and emergency management personnel, KFS, KDWP, KSU Extension, producer groups, and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agencies in Kansas–FSA and NRCS. Host agency varies by workshop.

Workshop Dates           County(ies)                   Call for More Information

December 5, 2012         Trego                           Jessica Wesley  785-743-2011

January 3, 2013             Jackson                                    Roberta Spencer  785-364-4638

January 10, 2013           Crawford                      Randy Bennett  620-724-6227

January 23, 2013           Pottawatomie                Austin Sexten  785-457-3319

February 28, 2013          Shawnee/Douglas          Judy Boltman  785-267-5721 ext-3

To Be Determined         Barber                         Ken Brunson  620-388-3768

To Be Determined         Kearney                       Mark Goudy  620-355-7911

            For more information about developing a prescribed burn plan for native grass or acres enrolled in the CRP, contact your local USDAService Center (listed in the telephone book under United States Government or on the Internet at offices.usda.gov).  Follow us on Twitter at NRCS_Kansas.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

How Natural Resources May Be Impacted by the "Fiscal Cliff"

by Outdoor Hub Reporters

Radio airwaves, TV stations and written news sources have been teeming with talk of the impending “fiscal cliff” that may slide theUnited States back into recession and raise unemployment rates. Yet, rarely are the country’s natural resources a part of this talk. To remedy that, Mother Nature Network took a look at just what sort of effect the fiscal cliff (or the laws that pertain to the fiscal cliff) may have on national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, public lands, oceans, the coastline, and environmental research.

First, what is the “fiscal cliff?” The phrase refers to a number of laws under the Budget Control Act of 2011 and the Bush tax cuts which lowered taxes and prevented the United States from sovereign default. The “cliff” is the slew of budget cuts and tax hikes all set to hit at the same time on January 1 if the president and Congress do not draft another plan to avoid the looming changes.

Mother Nature Network paints a grim outlook for the future of natural resources if a new plan is not agreed upon by Congress and the president.

The White House estimates that “the National Park Service (NPS) would likely have to close some national parks, campgrounds and visitor centers.” Park rangers at the NPS may face a reduction in staff, while National Wildlife Refuge System scientists could lose 200 positions and law enforcement would be cut by 15 percent.

More job loss and weaker management of wildlife, wildfires, man-made forest infrastructure (such as roads and lodging) would suffer from decreased maintenance, many permits may go unprocessed and invasive species may increase. According to the National Resources Defense Council’s (NRDC) fiscal cliff report, budget cuts could damage development in parks and other public lands across the country as well as cause permanent loss of recreation access in some places.

Other threats include ecological damage to coastlines and oceans because of the decreased ability of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to protect these areas.

Read the full article by Russell McLendon on the Mother Nature Network by clicking here.

Trail Camera Captures Mountain Lion in Stafford County

Ninth Kansas mountain lion confirmed in modern times

A deer hunter who was using a remote trail camera to scout for deer in Stafford County was surprised recently when he plugged the SD card in and found the image of a mountain lion. He hadn’t checked the camera for several weeks, and the photo was taken in October, but there was no doubt about the identification. A Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism wildlife biologist visited the site Nov. 16 and confirmed the photo’s validity. This is the first report documented in Kansas since last January when tracks of a mountain lion were found in Washington County.

The Stafford County lion is the ninth to be officially confirmed in Kansas since 2007. While there have been many sightings reported, KDWPT staff investigate if evidence, such as tracks, a photo, or cached kill, is present. According to ongoing research by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, dispersing mountain lions, which are primarily young males, feed mostly on medium-sized animals such as raccoons, raptors, coyotes, and turkeys. They feed on deer less frequently, which take days to consume and likely hinder their movement across the landscape as they search of the opposite sex and an area in which to establish a permanent home range. There is no evidence of a resident population of mountain lions in Kansas.

The use of remote, motion-triggered cameras by deer hunters to monitor deer in their hunting areas has become common in recent years. These cameras have been responsible for five of the nine Kansas mountain lion confirmations.