Monthly Archives: May 2013

Vertical Structures Fragment Lesser Prairie-Chicken Habitat

Learn About Efforts to Link the Habitat Back Together in New Mexico

Scientists researching the population declines of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken say the bird’s habitat has been damaged by the addition of vertical structures and human activity including road-building, oil and gas development, and mesquite and other woody invasives. All of these features lead to habitat fragmentation. Learn more about the bird’s aversion to vertical structures and conservation efforts to link their habitat back together. Listen to the latest episodes of Playa Country, a 4½-minute weekly radio show, to learn more about the Lesser Prairie-Chicken, or visit the Playa Country webpage to learn about other topics.

  Lesser Prairie-Chicken’s Aversion to Vertical Structures

  New Mexico Reclamation Project

  Weaver Ranch Restores Habitat

Grazing Considerations in the Midst of Drought

By David J. Kraft

 State Rangeland Management Specialist

Natural Resources Conservation Service

Is it over yet? A question often heard being asked during the past two growing seasons. For most of us either directly or indirectly involved with the management of grazing lands, this question seems to occupy our thoughts and minds. As we struggle to make sound decisions during the drought with hopefully a favorable growing season in front of us, keep in mind that these grazing lands have endured drought before and most likely will again. The decisions we make prior to, during, and in the recovery period of a drought do and will have lasting impacts.

The current drought can cause stress to both the land and its manager. While we have limited control over the weather, we do have total control of our decisions and actions. Stress can be escalated when we fail to choose in advance actions to take when the climate provides less than we hope for.

So where does a person start? One of the best initial actions you as a manager can take is to make sure a forage inventory, animal inventory, and grazing plan is in place for the land you operate. The plan should include realistic goals which address the direction of your management and a hope of what your land will be in the future. If you haven’t completed these items, this is the first step to take in better understanding your land and its capabilities.

Next, ask yourself, “What can I do now, as a manager, to address the current climatic impact or an impact which inevitably is in our future?” Walk through the three steps below.

1. Evaluate the condition of the rangeland in comparison to what is desired for it to be. Are production, species composition, and vigor, still positive? Is grazing management and goals such as wildlife habitat in balance?

2. Have a sound understanding of the desirable plants which are present and what their needs are.

3. Answer the question: “Is the management which I am now applying allowing for sustainability or improvement, or is the direction moving away from my desired plant community?”

Quick answers to those questions will most likely lead you to realize that you may or may not need to make adjustments in your management. We as managers tend to treat the symptom rather than the cause. For example, we are likely to address undesirable plant species, commonly referred to as weeds, by spraying the entire plant community rather than the management that allowed for their presence. In doing so, we remove many native plants which are positive contributors to the plant community as a whole.

Finally, ask yourself, “What are some positive actions I can take to address present concerns?” Some items to consider are listed below.

▪ Take a close look at stocking rates and amount of vegetation being removed through the course of the growing season.

▪ Increase rest or recovery from grazing for plants during the growing season.

▪ Identify actions that relieve stress to plant communities and can be implemented at the onset of drought or continuation of drought. Actions may include destocking, early weaning, culling lower importance animals within the herd, etc.

▪ Gain a better understanding of what average rainfall is for the area you manage and how the precipitation received affects forage production and plant response.

▪ Focus on decisions directed towards long-term sustainability and improvement rather than short-sighted goals.

Presently, ranchers across the Great Plains have developed and are implementing drought plans. Most are hoping for improved conditions, but realize that we live in a location susceptible to drought and are always one good rain away from possibility.

For more information or help developing a grazing management plan, contact David Kraft, State Rangeland Management Specialist for the Kansas Natural Resources Conservation Service, at 620-343-7276, ext. 105, or[email protected]

The Bison: American Icon Opens at Symphony in the Flint Hills in Cottonwood Falls, Kansas




















Photo from

The Bison: American Icon will be on exhibit from June 18 through August 10, 2013 with a special preview during the weekend of the rodeo June 6-8. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc., is located at 331 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.  Call 620-273-8955 for more information.


The following is the extremely informative press release form Sandy Dorsey.

Cottonwood Falls, Kan. Few animals conjure the power and symbolic presence of the North American bison. Whether painted on a tipi or an artist’s canvas, minted on a nickel, or seen grazing in Yellowstone National Park, the image of the bison stirs in us deep loyalties to the North American landscape. Wild and fundamental, the bison is a familiar part of our shared heritage. 

The Bison: American Icon, a new exhibition opening June 18 at Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc., explores the meaning and significance of this iconic creature from the Plains Indian culture of the 1800s through the commercial and national symbol of the present. Along the way, The Bison charts the dramatic changes that occurred to the creature and its habitat, and to the people who depended on it for their daily existence.

The exhibition opens with a primary mystery: For thousands of years until the early 1860s, there were tens of millions of bison roaming the plains of North America. By 1890, there were fewer than 300.  What happened? Centered on this question, The Bison explores the “before” and “after” of the bison’s dramatic decline. It also shows how the bison’s seeming extinction was ultimately averted by conservationists. In charting this positive outcome, the exhibition explores the many ways that the bison’s identity was transformed yet again into a symbol of America and a popular image.

Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc., has partnered with Chase County organizations to provide several activities on July 6, during The Bison Grand Opening.  The public is invited to spend the day in the Flint Hills enjoying free community events on Saturday, July 6.  At 1:30 p.m. at Pioneer Bluffs near Matfield Green, Mary Buster will portray Florella Brown Adair in a first-person performance about life in the midst of the Civil War. In the performance, Adair will share family stories of her brother, John Brown, and of the dangerous times for abolitionists that define “Bleeding Kansas.” Buster is Adair’s great-great-granddaughter; the events in her performance are drawn from Adair’s letters passed down through the family. At Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc., Annie Wilson and The Tallgrass Express will perform from 3:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

The Bison: American Icon will be on exhibit from June 18 through August 10, 2013 with a special preview during the weekend of the rodeo June 6-8. Hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Symphony in the Flint Hills, Inc., is located at 331 Broadway, Cottonwood Falls, Kansas.  Call 620-273-8955 for more information.

About The Bison: American Icon

The Bison: American Icon has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was originally developed by the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana, and co-curated by Anne Morand and Dr. Lynne Spriggs. This exhibit is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road. NEH on the Road offers an exciting opportunity for communities of all sizes to experience some of the best exhibitions funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Mid-America Arts Alliance was founded in 1972 and is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information, visit www.maaa.org or www.nehontheroad.org


Birding Big Year Competition Sign-up Still Open

It’s not too late to sign up for the Kansas Birding Big Year competition

Birders can still sign up for the 2013 Kansas Birding Big Year, a competition where participants attempt to observe as many species of birds as they can within the borders of Kansas. Unlike other “big year” competitions that span the U.S. in a calendar year, participants in the Kansas Birding Big Year can compete any time now through Dec. 31, 2013.

“The real driving force behind this competition is getting folks into the Kansas outdoors to enjoy nature and the fun wildlife watching opportunities available,” said KDWPT wildlife education coordinator Mike Rader. “We also hope this competition will help show folks just how many different kinds of birds either migrate through or call Kansas home.”

Participants can compete in one of three categories: youth (16 and under), adult (17-64), and senior (65 and up) by logging their data into the online service, eBird, available on the Cornell University web site,www.ebird.org. Winners from each category will receive prizes to be awarded next January. Event sponsors include Acorn Naturalists, Cabela’s, Bass Pro Shops, Bushnell, and Walmart.

Participants must register for the competition, at http://ksoutdoors.com/birding-big-year or by emailing Rader at [email protected]ksoutdoors.com. To compete, birders will submit their list totals online. Birds must be observed within Kansas boundaries, and must be species accepted by the Kansas Bird Records Committee of the Kansas Ornithological Society. Qualified birds must be alive, wild and unrestrained, and diagnostic field marks must be seen, and/or heard and documented by the recorder.

Kansas State Parks Offer Multitude of Events this June

Visiting a local state park this summer can be fun and easy on the wallet

It’s summertime and Kansas state parks are gearing up with events for everybody under the sun. From fishing tournaments to music festivals, and Kids Days galore, Kansans are sure to find something fun and exciting to do this June at a Kansas state park.

Listed below are a variety of events being held this June at Kansas state parks. For more information on a specific event, please contact the respective state park. State park contact information can be found atwww.ksoutdoors.com by clicking “State Parks / Locations.”

June 1

National Trail Day

Free Fishing Day – Statewide

Kids Free Fishing Derby – Pomona State Park (Boat Ramp #2)

Hillsdale Music Festival (May 31 and June 1) ­– Hillsdale State Park

USD 365 Endowment Association Annual 5K Fun Run/Walk – Prairie Spirit Trail State Park

OK Kids Day – Prairie Dog State Park (Keith Sebelius Reservoir)

OK Kids Day – Meade State Park

Trail Clean Up – Clinton State Park

9th Annual Youth Fishing Tournament – Glen Elder State Park

Governor’s Flint Hills Freedom Ride and Motorcycle Show – Starts at Capital in Topeka, Ends at Council Grove

Catfish Chasers Fishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park (Melvern Reservoir)

Youth Archery Day – Eisenhower State Park

June 2

Free Fishing Day – Statewide

Kids Fishing Derby – Lovewell State Park

JUNE 8

National “Get Outdoors” Day

OK Kids Day – Lake Scott State Park (South of Beach House)

Kids Ironman (Kids triathlon) – Clinton State Park

Kansas Draft Horse & Mule Association Driving Clinic – Boulder Bluff Arena, El Dorado State Park. (Open to public).

Field Coursing Dog Run –?Clinton State Park

JUNE 9

Ironman Triathlon – Clinton State Park

Fishstix Bowfishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park (Arrow Rock Boat Ramp)

JUNE 10

Fishstix Bowfishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park (Arrow Rock Boat Ramp)

JUNE 15

Youth Fishing Derby – Cedar Bluff State Park

Youth Scavenger Hunt – Cedar Bluff State Park

Kansas Bass Nation Fishing Tournament –?Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)

Kids Outdoor Adventure and Free Park Entrance Day – Cedar Bluff State Park. (Camping and utility permits still apply).

Vango Fundraiser – Clinton State Park

OK Kids Day/Free Park Entrance – Wilson State Park

JUNE 16

Kansas Bass Nation Fishing Tournament –?Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)

Kansas Walleye Association Fishing Tournament – Eisenhower State Park

Wild Within You 5K and 15K Hell Creek on Heels Trail Run?– Wilson State Park (Switchgrass Trail)

June 23

Triathlon Race?– El Dorado State Park (Walnut River Area)

June 27

Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park

June 28

Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park

June 29

Rocky Mountain Team Series Fishing Tournament?– Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)

Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park

Water Safety Event/Jet ski Simulator – Kanopolis State Park

June 30

Rocky Mountain Team Series Fishing Tournament?– Wilson State Park (Hell Creek Boat Ramp)

Country Stampede Music Festival – Tuttle Creek State Park

Firearm Antelope Application Deadline June 14

Applications accepted only online; archery permits available over the counter beginning July 30

The antelope, also called pronghorn, is a species unique to North America and considered one of the fastest mammals on the continent. Numerous in the western two-thirds of Kansas prior to settlement, today a small, sustainable population of antelope thrive in the western third of the state. A limited firearm hunting season draws hundreds of applications for the highly prized permits.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is accepting applications for the resident firearm and muzzleloader antelope permit drawing. Applications must be submitted online through the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com. Click “License/Permits” in the upper right-hand corner of the page to begin the process. Paper applications are not available. For more information, call (620) 672-0728.

Open to Kansas residents only, nearly 1,000 applications are expected for the 142 firearm and 42 muzzleloader permits available this year. A hunter who is unsuccessful in the drawing will receive a preference point, which will give the hunter priority in a future drawing over applicants with fewer or no preference points. It may require six or more preference points for a general resident to draw a firearm permit, or three or four preference points to draw a muzzleloader permit, depending on the number of applicants. Half of the permits allocated in each unit are set aside for landowner/tenant applicants. Those who do not want to apply for a permit and want to purchase a preference point only may select “preference point only” online for $6.50. Only one preference point may be obtained per year.

Archery antelope permits are unlimited, and both resident and nonresident hunters can purchase permits over the counter. One open archery unit comprises the same area as the three firearm units combined. On average, fewer than 200 archery permits are sold each year. Archery antelope permits will be available over the counter from July 30 through Oct. 30.

2013 antelope season dates:

▪ firearm season: Oct. 4-7

▪ muzzleloader season: Sept. 30-Oct. 7

▪ archery season: Sept. 21-29 and Oct. 12-31

Shooting hours for all seasons are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Firearm and muzzleloader antelope general resident permits $47.50, landowner/tenant permits are $27.50 and youth permits are $27.50. General resident archery antelope permits are $42.50, landowner/tenant archery permits are $22.50, and youth permits are $22.50. Nonresident archery permits are $202.50. (Internet and processing fees apply.) Unless exempt, all permit holders must possess a Kansas hunting license.

Antelope were extirpated from Kansas by the turn of the century and remained absent until wild antelope trapped in other states were released in suitable habitat in the early 1960s. Kansas’ first modern-day antelope hunting season was held in 1974 when early 500 hunters applied for 80 permits and harvested 70 animals. Today, hunting is restricted to three management units that include parts or all of Sherman, Thomas, Wallace, Logan, Gove, Trego, Greeley, Wichita, Scott, Lane, Ness, Hamilton, Kearny, Finney, Gray, Hodgeman, Ford, Stanton, Grant, Haskell, Morton, Stevens, Seward, Meade and Clark counties.

For more information on hunting antelope in Kansas, go to Hunting/Big Game/Antelope on the KDWPT website.

Row Crop Field Buffers Show Dramatic Increase In Bobwhite Potential in Most Regions

A conservation practice introduced in agricultural row crop settings in 2004 by USDA at the behest of the National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI) has resulted in bobwhite populations up to three times greater than those found in traditionally managed crop fields, according to a just-released study of the program’s impacts.

Led by Mississippi State University, Forest and Wildlife Research Center, the study concluded that Habitat Buffers for Upland Birds, referred to as Conservation Practice 33 (CP33), added an average of 1.52 bobwhites to the fall population for every acre of native grassland (grasses, forbs and legumes) in buffers. At the current enrollment of 238,046 acres, the study estimates the practice has added about 30,000 coveys to the landscape, each year. If program participation rose to the current cap of 500,000 acres there would be an estimated 63,000 coveys added. At an average of 12 quail per covey, that’s about three-quarters of a million more quail in the fall.

“This study clearly demonstrates what NBCI has said all along: that is, that substantial, measurable wildlife benefits can be achieved through strategically implemented conservation practices on working agricultural lands where much of the potential quail habitat exists,” said NBCI Director Don McKenzie. “Furthermore, it shows how a relatively small change in primary land use – 5 percent — at little or no cost to landowners can have a disproportionately positive impact on bobwhite populations in some regions. CP33 is a win for everyone. It allows the retirement of less productive field margins, often with net financial gains through the incentives, while providing environmental benefits like clean water and habitat for pollinators, quail and other grassland birds. NBCI urges a more comprehensive application of this efficient practice as a commonsense approach for government, for farms and for wildlife.”

The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) implemented the Habitat for Upland Birds practice as part of their Continuous Conservation Reserve Program (CCRP) in 2004, initially allocating 250,000 acres in 35 states for 10 years of active management. Essentially, CP33 offers landowners incentives for establishing 30 to 120-foot-wide buffers of diverse native grasses and forbs along the edges of crop fields to provide habitat for bobwhites and other grassland birds. FSA also charged what is now the National Bobwhite Technical Committee with devising a monitoring protocol to measure the response of bobwhites and targeted songbird species. CP33 was the first USDA conservation reserve practice designed specifically to help meet recovery objectives of a large-scale conservation initiative, as well as the first and only USDA practice for which USDA requires monitoring to actually measure conservation impacts.

State fish and wildlife agencies, private conservation organizations and universities in 14 states collaborated with Dr. Wes Burger at Mississippi State University to monitor differences in bobwhite and upland songbird densities and buffer vegetation characteristics on nearly 600 buffered fields and an equal number of “non-buffered” fields from 2006-2011.

Among the report findings:

♦ Researchers observed 50-110% greater fall bobwhite covey densities on CP33 fields across all states

♦ CP 33 works especially well in some regions, most notably in the Southeastern Coastal Plain (Bird Conservation Region 27) where covey densities were three times greater, and in the Central Hardwoods (Bird Conservation Region 24) and the Mississippi Alluvial Valley (Bird Conservation Region 26), where covey densities were two times greater

♦ Priority songbirds that share habitat with bobwhites, such as dickcissels and field sparrows, also benefitted from CP33 buffers

♦ Required management activities designed to maintain habitat quality for bobwhites were implemented on less than half of the enrolled acres, presenting an opportunity for program improvement

♦ Kansas and Oklahoma state wildlife departments conducted separate, but related, evaluations of CP33 for bobwhites and ring-necked pheasants, and found both species were more abundant with grass buffered crop fields compared to field lacking buffers

To have maximum impact, the buffered fields need to be strategically concentrated in relation to one another rather than stranded in isolated pockets across the landscape

Project Manager Dr. Kristine Evans identified another important outcome of the study. “CP33 monitoring exemplifies that large-scale coordinated monitoring across multiple agencies/organizations is entirely possible and can be very successful in measuring programmatic outcomes given appropriate funding mechanisms and monitoring infrastructure.”

For more details about the technical aspects of the monitoring and the results, the full final report is available at http://bringbackbobwhites.org/strategy/nbci-2-0/doc_details/166-conservation-reserve-program-cp33-final-report-2006-2011

Headquartered at the University of Tennessee, NBCI is a project of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee (NBTC) to elevate bobwhite quail recovery from an individual state-by-state proposition to a range-wide, policy-level leadership endeavor. The committee is comprised of representatives of state fish and wildlife agencies, academic research institutions and non-governmental conservation organizations. NBCI is funded by the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, two dozen state wildlife management agencies, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Southern Company. For more information, please visit www.bringbackbobwhites.org

Basin Advisory Committee Vacancies Open


For more than 20 years Basin Advisory Committees (BAC) have been a vital voice for water resource issues in Kansas. BACs are citizen advisory groups who provide insight, track issues and alert the Kansas Water Office (KWO) and Kansas Water Authority (KWA) when areas of concern arise in any of the 12 river basins located in Kansas.  

            I am the water resource planner for the Kansas – Lower Republican and the Missouri basin advisory committees. Both committees currently have a vacancy in the Fish and Wildlife category, with no applicants. I am hoping you could forward this email with the attached link to the application to your members in the northeast part of the state. Applicants should live in the basin for which they apply. The application includes a map of the basin.

            Kansas – Lower Republican River:  http://www.kwo.org/about_us/BACs/BAC_applications/KLR.pdf

            Missouri Riverhttp://www.kwo.org/about_us/BACs/BAC_applications/MO.pdf

            If you, or any interested member, has any questions please feel free to give me a call at 785-296-0865, or email Margaret Fast at [email protected]  

30 years of time-lapse satellite images show coastal Louisiana wasting away

By Bob Marshall, Staff writer

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

The new Google app arrived in my life to the kind of reception reserved for a  doctor carrying the results of a biopsy. Did I really want to know?

The blog post announced that the God of the Internet had just delivered another digital miracle. It was now possible to watch 30-year time-lapse photography of any spot on the planet. This innovation expands on the phenomenal product named Google Earth, the one that stitches together satellite images of every inch of our world and offers the results for free. No more secrets or surprises.

Now, just by going to Google Earth Engine and searching for a particular location, you can watch what changes time has wrought since 1984, good or bad.

This is the kind of innovation netophiles often liken to a laser beam or well-honed scalpel. But if you’re a resident of southeast Louisiana, it may have the impact of an uppercut delivered with brass knuckles. And that’s probably overdue.

We live on one of the planet’s most abused landscapes, a place that is sinking from human interventions — oil and gas canals and a levee’d Mississippi River — at a time when seas are rising globally. As a result we have lost the staggering sum of almost 2,000 square miles of our coast over the past seven or eight decades, and we face the likelihood of being entirely overrun by the Gulf in 60 years if nothing is done. It’s an onrushing disaster I’ve covered since the 1980s, which, by coincidence, is when the earliest of these satellite images were created.

This hasn’t been just another story to me. The wetlands around our city – the swamps, marshes, beaches and ridges – have been my office, my friends, my playground and my church.

So covering the death of our coast has meant three decades of attending wakes and writing obituaries for important parts of my life. Did I really want to watch a replay of that sorrow? Did I want to renew the hurt and the frustration?

Of course, the journalist in me couldn’t resist; we beat lawyers to car wrecks. And there remained the faint hope that perhaps this latest Google gift could be the teaching tool that will break through the veil of denial most locals still wrap themselves in.

So I clicked on the URL, then moved across the globe to find the southeast Louisiana coast and Four Bayous PassThis is one of the critical arteries in the circulatory system that brings life to the vast Barataria Bay estuary. It draws the Gulf of Mexicointo the marshes on incoming tides, then discharges a richer, brackish mixture as the tide ebbs.

The area has also been a favorite fishing and camping spot for generations of southeast Louisianans and others who flock here from all over the nation and the world. You could tell why at the start of the time lapse back in 1984. Healthy sections of marsh and beach are clearly visible. They delineate the paths of four bayous, while the bay just behind the coast is sprinkled with a string of marsh islands.

Then I pressed the start arrow. I knew what would happen; I’d chronicled it in words and photos for decades. The islands and beachfront would erode northward, the marshes would disappear and the “Four Bayous” would turn into a single wide pass leading to a bay spreading for miles in all directions, uninterrupted by a single blade of marsh grass. This piece of Louisiana’s coastal wetlands, like so many others, would die.

It’s the velocity of the change – 30 years compressed into about four seconds – that turns what seemed like a slow-motion tragedy, a creeping disease, into a sudden act of violence, a drive-by shooting.

Places that created cherished memories are goneWho could believe anything I remembered without a shred of supporting evidence?

There was also a guilty feeling of vindication. Over the years, people have literally rolled their eyes when I relayed words of warning from scientists about the speed at which this disaster is rushing toward New Orleans. Here was proof.

I began looking for more, paging to other places that were important in my life. The wetlands between Buras and the Gulfgone in four seconds. The thick marsh and duck ponds west of Reggio and Delacroixdissolving into open water. My old camp on Cane Bayou off the Wagon Wheelvanished. The Chandeleur Islandsonce a wide string of sandy pearls: shrunk to a patchy, thin line of white thread.

Yet in those sad travels, I also saw something else: signs of hope.

The coastline between Four Bayous and Empire that shrank so noticeably for 25 years has been growing again over the past five, thanks to a rebuilding project pumping offshore sand and sediment onto the beach. The same thing is happening east of Lake Hermitage andnorth of Bayou DupontThe spy in the sky doesn’t lie; coastal restoration can happen.

And there is the amazing growth of new land at the mouth of the Atchafalaya River and nearby Wax Lake Outlet. More proof that there’s a way to fight back.

So the sum of this new Google app reads like the bad news in a biopsy; our coast is sick and dying. But the doctor says there’s hope.

Wetlands Reserve Program

                       http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/nj/programs/easements/wetlands/

Benefit the Land and Secure Your Future

Wetlands are unique ecosystems that offer an array of biologically diverse plants and wildlife. They are natural areas that are often wet but may not be wet year round with distinctive hydrology, soils, and plants. Wetlands offer valuable environmental benefits as well as financial security and alternative enterprise opportunities for landowners and communities.

“In Kansas, more than 24,000 acres have been restored or are in the process of being restored under the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP),” said Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Acting State Conservationist Daniel H. Meyerhoff. “The benefits of these restored wetlands reach well beyond their boundaries to improve watershed health, the vitality of agricultural lands, as well as the aesthetics and economies of local communities.”                                                                                                                           

WRP helps landowners restore and protect wetland ecosystems on private and tribal lands. Landowners may select either a permanent or 30-year easement, or a 10-year restoration contract while retaining ownership of the land. More than 11,000 private landowners participating in WRP are already protecting more than 2.6 million acres of America‘s wetlands.

Wetlands benefit migratory birds, other wildlife and plants, including species of concern and those that are listed on state and federal lists of threatened and endangered species. The program also helps restore active floodplains along creeks and rivers, aids in flood control and improves water quality by restoring environmentally sensitive, frequently flooded cropland back to permanent vegetation.                                

Wetland Benefits:

♦ Alternatives for areas where crops are lost to high water

♦ Increase wildlife opportunities

♦ Groundwater recharge

♦ Improve water quality by filtering out sediment

            With WRP, You Can:

● Earn up to $2,600 per acre for areas enrolled in WRP easements

● Receive up to 100 percent cost share for developing wetland areas

● Turn problem wet areas into an economic return while retaining ownership and access control

● Significantly increase wildlife habitat on your property

To learn how you can participate in WRP, stop by your local U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Service Center or go to the Web site http://www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs/wrp/.