Monthly Archives: June 2013

Are Your Taxpayer Dollars Helping to Destroy Wetlands?

By Jan Goldman-Carter

National Wildlife Federation

The Senate passed a 2013 Farm Bill that would stop this unbridled wetland drainage, but the House just refused to follow suit. Call your representatives and insist on wetland conservation compliance in the final 2013 Farm Bill.

            The Prairie Pothole Region of the Dakotas and Western Minnesota and Iowa is known as the “duck factory’ of North America because its millions of small, shallow pothole wetlands provide essential breeding habitat for over 50% of North America’s waterfowl.

This breeding habitat supports a $2.3 billion per year duck hunting industry.

These wetlands also store flood waters — and their drainage increases flood flows and pollution downstream.

Trading Prairie Potholes for Agriculture Harms the Environment

Expanding crop production in the northern prairies is increasing wetland drainage, flood flows, sediment and nutrient pollution, and fish and wildlife habitat loss in the Mississippi River Basin.

study released in late May shows that over the last decade, wetland losses to cropland in theEastern Dakotas have increased to more than 15,300 acres per year.

These wetland losses to cropland in the Prairie Pothole Region reduce prime waterfowl breeding habitat and directly impact waterfowl populations throughout the Mississippi Flyway and beyond.

The combination of extensive drainage networks and fertilizer use also increases flood flows, soil erosion, and nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and, ultimately, the Gulf of Mexico.

And we are encouraging these costly drainage practices through taxpayer-subsidized farm payments!

Crop insurance is the largest federal benefit farmers receive (taxpayers currently subsidize 62% of premiums on average), but is currently one of the only benefits that is not linked to soil and wetlands conservation requirements.

In the Dakotas, U.S. taxpayers are paying most of the crop insurance costs for farmers, including paying them when their crop fails. This subsidy encourages farmers to expand their cropland by draining wetlands and plowing up grasslands, even where these lands are marginally productive and vulnerable to soil erosion, severe weather, and crop failure.

Taxpayers pay more crop insurance subsidies to farmers in North Dakota and South Dakota than in almost any other state: From 1995-2012, the crop insurance program in North Dakota cost federal taxpayers more than $5 billion; the price tag for South Dakota was almost $4 billion.

Crop Insurance Protects Farmers

Farmers and ranchers need a safety net against severe weather and natural disasters, and many of them do work hard to meet basic soil and wetland conservation requirements in return for that support. But it is not fair to these farmers and ranchers – or to the rest of us taxpayers — to reward “bad actors” for draining wetlands and plowing erosion-prone soils to expand their crop production. Crop insurance must not provide an incentive to destroy wetlands and grasslands that protect drinking water, mitigate the impacts of floods and provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. In this time of tightening fiscal constraints, it is wasteful and downright unfair for taxpayers to subsidize practices that burden and endanger downstream communities.

Reconnecting wetland and soil conservation compliance to crop insurance premium subsidies will restore the simple and fair agreement that ensures that farmers benefiting from a taxpayer-funded safety net continue to do their part to conserve soil and water resources on their farms.

Conservation compliance saves money and is critical for reducing soil erosion, protecting wetlands, reducing downstream flooding risk, and decreasing nutrient pollution into rivers, lakes and streams.

Let’s stop allowing our tax dollars to send our wetlands down the drain. Please urge your congressional representative to insist on re-linking conservation compliance to crop insurance subsidies in the final passage of the 2013 Farm Bill.

Bullfrog Season

Bullfrog hunting can be a great way to spend a summer night.
Kansas bullfrog season is almost here and for some, this is a special summer treat. From July 1-October 31, hunters of these four-legged amphibians can enjoy both an evening’s entertainment as well as a meal that is anything but ho-hum. All that’s needed is a flashlight, a sack, a pond, and some stealth.

Considered by some as a delicacy, frog legs have a taste and texture that resembles a cross between shrimp and fish. A popular way to cook them is to dip the legs in egg and then into a mixture of flour and corn meal, seasoning salt, and pepper. The legs are then fried to a golden brown and served up hot.

While bullfrogs may be taken by hook and line, dip net, gig, bow and arrow, or crossbow (firearms not allowed), many froggers prefer to take them by hand. The best method is to walk quietly through the water at night and shine a bright light along the bank until a pair of glowing eyes appear. Temporarily blinded by the light, frogs can be grabbed or netted.

The daily creel limit is eight, with a possession limit of 24. A valid fishing license is required for any person to take, catch, or kill bullfrogs, except persons exempt by law from having such license.

For more information on bullfrog season, visit and click “Fishing/Fishing Regulations/Bullfrogs.”

National Survey Explores the World of Dove Hunting

Dove hunters can provide vital information about the sport through a nation-wide survey

One of North America’s most highly sought after migratory birds, the dove, will be the focus of a national survey conducted June 20 through the end of the year. A cooperative effort of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Flyway Councils, and state fish and wildlife agencies, the National Dove Hunter Survey will examine the experiences and opinions of dove hunters from across the nation.

“Nationally, there are more than one million dove hunters in the United States,” said Dr. Ken Richkus, USFWS Population and Habitat Assessment Branch. “This survey will encompass all regions of the country and will give us an excellent picture of hunter opinions and needs.”

Surveys will be mailed to randomly selected hunters from across the nation who purchased a HIP stamp required to hunt doves. Specific topics being surveyed include hunter characteristics; time spent hunting, and perceived constraints to hunting. The survey will also examine hunters’ thoughts about potential effects of spent lead on mourning doves and other wildlife.

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the states want to make sure we use the best science-based information for the management and conservation of our migratory bird resources and take hunter opinions and preferences into account whenever possible,” said Richkus.

For more information, contact Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism migratory bird specialist Richard Schultheis at (620) 342-0658 or by email at[email protected].

Catch More Fish with new Angler Education Program

Fishing’s Future and KDWPT will certify instructors to teach fishing techniques in Kansas

Have you ever wondered how to tell the difference between a white bass and a wiper? Or, how to tie on a hook using an improved clinch knot? Whether you simply want to improve your general fishing knowledge or are looking to sharpen your angling skills, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has just the program for you. Along with Fishing’s Future (FF), a non-profit organization aimed at getting families outdoors through the sport of fishing, KDWPT will now be offering an Angler Education Program. The first class will be held August 10, 2013 from 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. at the Great Plains Nature Center

6232 E. 29th Street North

 in Wichita.

Kansas has had aquatic education for some time, but our new partnership with Fishing’s Future will create an even more organized and useful program,” said KDWPT district fisheries biologist Jessica Mounts.

Similar to the other educational programs currently offered, the new Angler Education Program will enlist qualified volunteer instructors to teach each class. Subjects covered include current rules and regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, conservation, and much more.

Specialized classes will also be given on family fishing, adult beginner fishing, specialized fishing techniques, and fishing for a particular species, schedules and resources permitting.

“This program is a great way for any angler to expand their outdoors skills, become more active, and enjoy Kansas’ many parks and waterways,” said Fishing’s Future local coordinator Kevin Reich.

All classes are open to the public at no cost, however pre-registration is required. To register for the Aug. 10 class,, click “upcoming events,” and “Kansas Angler Education Training Program”

For more information, including how to become an Angler Education instructor, contact Reich at[email protected], or by phone at (785) 577-6921.

Flathead Catfish Handfishing Season Runs June 15-Aug. 31

Special fishing season offers anglers a more “hands on” way of catching flatheads

The increased popularity of television shows like “Hillbilly Handfishin’,” “Catfishin’ Kings,” and “Mudcats,” proves that handfishing for large catfish can be an exciting and fast-paced sport. Luckily, Kansas is one of a handful of states that offer this special season. With a special permit, anglers can handfish for flathead catfish in select waters from sunrise to sunset June 15-Aug. 31.

Commonly referred to as “noodling,” handfishing consists of finding a suspected catfish hole, barricading any possible exits the fish might escape through, using your hands as bait and sticking your arm inside the hole to catch the catfish bare-handed. Although seemingly easy, this sport can prove to be very dangerous for inexperienced anglers.

Adding to the challenge of handfishing, no man-made objects that attract fish, such as a barrel, box, or bathtub may be used. Handfishing anglers are also prohibited from using snorkel or scuba gear, as well as any hooks. A stringer may be used, but not until the catfish is caught by hand and is at or above the water’s surface.

Kansas waters open to handfishing include:

♦ the entire length of the Arkansas River,

♦ all federal reservoirs from beyond 150 yards of the dam to the upstream end of the federal property, and

♦ the Kansas River from its origin, downstream to its confluence with the Missouri River.

Handfishing permits can be obtained for $27.50 at select license vendors or online. Anglers participating in this special season will need to have a handfishing permit in addition to a regular fishing license. New for 2013, handfishing permit-holders are no longer required to complete and submit a questionnaire following the close of the season.

To purchase a handfishing permit online, visit and click “License/Permits.”

Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams

Executive Director

Position Announcement

The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) is soliciting qualified candidates for the position as Executive Director (ED) for the organization. This is anticipated to be a 12-18 month position, with potential for expansion as permanent full-time position.

KAWS is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization providing technical assistance, education and coordinating efforts for numerous state and federal agencies, private organizations, and landowners working to create, protect, and restore wetlands and riparian areas inKansas.  The mission of KAWS is “To ensure the future of wetlands, streams, and their adjacent riparian areas as integral parts of ourKansas heritage and landscape.  KAWS’ goal is to expand its recognition as the authority for wetlands in the State of Kansas.  For more information on KAWS see

            As the first major priority, the ED will maintain the operation of KAWS by interacting with the Board of Directors, and supervising other staff members (i.e., WRAPS and KAWS chapter coordinators, project coordinators). The ED will work with the Fundraising Coordinator to ensure that KAWS financial objectives and needs will be met near- and long-term. 

            The ED’s second major priority, is to interact with the Board of Directors to schedule and organize quarterly meetings, training and education programs, facilitate nominations and election of new Board members, and distribute meeting agendas and minutes to all Board members. The ED will also regularly interact with the Executive Committee and Board Chair for ongoing direction, updates, and other related activities.  The ED will work with staff and the Board of Directors to define the long-term goals and objectives for the group and the strategy for achieving these, as well as overseeing the implementation of the long-term strategy.

            In addition to the primary responsibilities, the ED will assist the treasurer and accountant in tracking income and expenses, administer operation and capacity building grants, track in-kind services and project expenses, and, ensure compliance with state and federal requirements for 501(c)(3) non-profits, arrange for annual audit and tax form preparation, oversee the initiation of monthly invoices for work performed through grants and contracts, field queries from the media and the public, oversee the production of outreach materials, and provide general presentations to public.  Also, the ED will also work to solicit membership and maintain databases, prepare the annual report, establish and maintain records, and develop the annual budget and grant reports.  The ED will serve as the primary KAWS contact for planning and conducting conferences and state-wide events.


            The successful candidate must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or extensive experience related to the duties outlined in this solicitation.  A degree in the biological sciences is considered beneficial but not mandatory.  The candidate should have good computer, oral and written communication, website development, and organizational skills.

            Periodic travel across the State of Kansas is a requirement of this position.

            Experience with the organization of workshops and conference’s is a plus.


            Salary will be based on educations, and proven experience to achieve the tasks outlined in this solicitation.  In addition to salary, reimbursable allowances for home office, travel, and other expenses will be provided.  The position will be evaluated annually by the Board, with continuation based on satisfactory performance and availability of funds.

            Send or e-mail a letter of application, resume, and the contact information for 3 references no later than June 28, 2013 to:

Brad Loveless

KAWS Board Chairman

818 S Kansas Avenue

TopekaKansas  66601

(785) 575-8115

[email protected]

            Tentative Schedule:

June 14 – June 28, 2013:            Post position announcement

June 28- July 12, 2013:               Review applications and determine interview list

July 16 and 18, 2013:                  Conduct interviews and candidate selection

August 1, 2013:                         Executive Director begins position

Senate Passes a Strong Farm Bill

On June 10 the Senate succeeded once more in passing a strong, bipartisan farm bill that contains sensible protections for soil, water, and wildlife.

            National Wildlife Federation applauds the final bill and the leadership of Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R-MS), for crafting a bill that maintains adequate funding for conservation, includes a national Sodsaver provision, and re-links conservation compliance provision to crop insurance premium subsidies. The bill also authorizes funding for an innovative regional partnership program which would target conservation funding to as many as eight priority conservation regions.

            “We are very pleased with the Senate’s version of the farm bill and congratulate the Senate Agriculture Committee and Senate leadership for all their hard work,” said Julie Sibbing, director of Agriculture and Forestry Programs for National Wildlife Federation. “In the present climate of kicking the can down the road and paralyzing lack of compromise in Congress, it is refreshing to see members on both sides of the aisle roll up their sleeves and pass a balanced farm bill that ensures a robust safety net for farmers and for natural resources. The House should follow their example.”

            For a final version of the farm bill to become reauthorized, the House of Representatives must bring the version passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture to the floor for a vote. Last year, House leadership disappointed farmers and conservationists by failing to bring the farm bill to the floor. Each year that Congress fails to pass the farm bill, there is a lower baseline level of fundingavailable for conservation; it is critical that a final five-year farm bill is reauthorized in 2013, and that the final version contains the same protections for wildlife that are included in the Senate’s version passed today.

Kids who spend time outdoors do better in school?

Studies show that kids who spend more time outdoors show improved attention spans, better overall fitness, less anxiety and higher overall test scores. All that from playing outside!

It’s just one more reason to make spending time outside a priority for your family. And there’s no better time to get started than today as we celebrate National Get Outdoors week.

So here’s a simple step you can take right now: click here to learn more about our biggest outdoor event of the year, the Great American Backyard Campout.

You can join families across the nation as they camp out in backyards and local parks on June 22.

Camping is a fun, easy way to get your kids outdoors and connected with the nature all around them. Plus that outdoor time can help your children be happier, healthier and more successful in school!

Turn the Family Cookout into a Campout for this Year’s Great American Backyard Campout

As the summer season kicks off, what better way to enjoy the great outdoors and family time than cooking and camping out in the backyard? As part of National Wildlife Federation’s Be Out There movement, the 9th annual Great American Backyard Campout on June 22, 2013 is the perfect opportunity to head outside for some great food and family fun this summer.

From cookout recipes to campfire songs to games to wildlife watching tips, NWF gives families the resources they need to take the summer cookout to the next level by making it a summer campout. No yard or grill? No problem. NWF has everything to have a memorable night. Check out these sample recipe ideas for inspiration:

Camp Cuisine

It’s no secret that camping and s’mores go together like baseball and hotdogs (another excellent campfire food), but there is so much more to camp cuisine.

Here are just a couple examples of what you can serve up at your Campout.

• Pigs in a Sleeping Blanket: For an easy twist on the classic campfire hotdog take an 11 ounce can of breadstick dough, slice each dough strip in half and wrap each strip around a hotdog leaving a small area uncovered for the face. Roast over the fire until the hotdog and bread are cooked, let cool, then use ketchup and mustard to make fun faces.

• Silver Turtles: This hearty option is a simple way to fill your campers’ stomachs. Simply place a hamburger patty in a piece of aluminum foil and top it with potatoes, carrots, onions, salt, pepper and a pad of butter. Fold the foil tightly around the turtle and cook over the coals for 20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly, then let cool and enjoy. For a side dish, try wrapping corn on the cob or whole potatoes in foil for delicious grilled corn or baked potatoes. Remember to let them cool then add your favorite toppings.

• Gourmet Lasagna: If you’re up for some Italian, try this easy Dutch oven recipe for lasagna. Start by pouring a thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the Dutch oven and add a little water. Then cover with lasagna noodles and a layer of ricotta or cottage cheese and chopped spinach and add another layer of sauce to top it off and repeat the layering until you reach the top of your pot. Top your lasagna off with sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, cover and let bake for 30 minutes. If you are looking for a more meaty dish try adding pepperoni or ground beef between the layers.

There’s always room for dessert…

• Dipped Strawberries: Dip strawberries in Marshmallow Fluff and roast over the fire.

• Orange-Chocolate Cake: Hollow out oranges, fill (about half way) with chocolate cake mix, wrap in foil and heat in the hot coals for about 20 minutes.

• Singing Apples: Place an apple on a cooking stick and roast over hot coals until the peel starts to split and “sing.” Carefully remove the peel and roll apple in cinnamon-sugar.

Register Today

Whether it’s in the backyard, together with neighbors, with friends at a local park, or at a large community event, NWF encourages parents and kids alike to trade screen time for green time by spending a night under the stars.

Studies show that outdoor time helps children grow lean and strong, enhances creativity and attention spans, decreases aggression, and boosts classroom performance. Through NWF’s Be Out There movement with special events like Campout and practical resources, tips and tools, NWF is helping parents turn inside kids out.

So gather the family and friends and bring an appetite for a great night under the stars June 22, 2013. Fun and adventure are only as far as the backyard, so go camping!

Visit for more information, to register or to find a public event around the country.

Be Out There™ is NWF’s movement to reconnect families with the outdoors. NWF’s practical tools and information help make being outside a fun, healthy and automatic part of everyday life.. For other helpful resources and to learn more about NWF’s goal to get 10 million more kids spending regular time in the great outdoors, visit:

Recreational Boating Worth $121 Billion

New findings project 88 million Americans will take to U.S. waterways this summer.

From Sport Fishing Magazine

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) announced that recreational boating in the U.S. has an annual economic value of $121 billion. The industry’s rising tide supports 964,000 American jobs and 34,833 businesses, generates $40 billion in annual labor income and drives $83 billion in annual spending.

The NMMA, on behalf of the U.S. boating industry, released these findings recently as part of its annual U.S. Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, a collection of data and analysis on the state of the U.S. recreational boating industry. Additional data highlights include:

New Boat Sales

> New powerboat sales increased 10 percent to 157,300 in 2012.


> Small fiberglass and aluminum outboard boats 26 feet or less in size, continued their upward climb with an 11.3 percent increase in the number of new boats sold. Outboard boats are the most popular type of new powerboat sold, making up approximately 82 percent of the market.

What’s Ahead?

> Sales of new powerboats have remained steady during the first half of 2013 and continued growth is expected with the summer boating season. NMMA anticipates sales of new powerboats to grow five percent in 2013.

“Summer is a peak selling season for recreational boats, accessories and services throughout the U.S. as people look for ways to disconnect from the daily grind and enjoy fun times on the water, “ said Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “New boat sales have historically been a barometer for the U.S. economy and the steady sales increases we’re seeing is being reinforced by the slow uptick in consumer confidence, housing and spending. As economic growth continues, we anticipate sustained steady growth through the remainder of 2013.”

Boating Participation

Of the estimated 232.3 million adults in the U.S. in 2012, 37.8 percent, or 88 million, participated in recreational boating at least once during the year. This is a six percent increase from 2011 and the largest number of U.S. adults participating in boating since NMMA began collecting the data in 1990. Recreational boating participation has steadily increased since 2006.