Monthly Archives: June 2013

Garden City Location of Upcoming Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission Meeting


       Live, commercial-free video and audio streaming of meetings now available for first time


The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting and hearing on Thursday, June 27, at the Lee Richardson Zoo, 

312 Finnup Dr.

, Garden City. The afternoon session will begin at 1:30 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m., and the evening session will begin at 7 p.m.

The afternoon session will begin with time for public comments on non-agenda items. The general discussion period will cover the following topics: Secretary’s remarks about agency and state fiscal status and an update on the 2013 legislative session, a briefing on tourism, Spring/Fall 2014 turkey regulations, and youth license and permit fees.

During the afternoon session, commissioners will workshop items that were covered under general discussion at the April meeting. Workshop topics, which will be discussed for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, include regulations pertaining to fishing, parks, late migratory bird seasons, prairie chickens, and an update on the lesser prairie chicken federal listing.

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 7 p.m. at the same location for the public hearing. The first portion of the public hearing will be devoted to bringing regulations related to agritourism into the KDWPT regulation system. Agritourism duties were transferred to KDWPT in 2011 when Gov. Brownback’s Executive Reorganization Order No. 36 moved the Division of Travel and Tourism into KDWPT. Other regulations that will be voted on include the KAR 115-5 series that deals with furbearers and coyotes. At the April meeting, commissioners heard comments on a recommendation that would prohibit coyote hunting with vehicles and two-way radios during the regular firearm deer season. After discussion, commissioners requested KDWPT staff to bring several options to the June public hearing. Regulations that cover the use of baiting, blinds and tree stands on public lands that required some clean-up will be heard and voted on. Deer season dates for Ft. Rileywill be approved, and recommendations for early migratory bird seasons will be heard.

Time will be available in both afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on topics not on the agenda. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., June 28, to complete unfinished business.

For the first time, a commercial-free version of live video and audio streaming of commission meetings will be broadcast through the KDWPT website, www.ksoutdoors.com.

If notified in advance, the department will have an interpreter available for the hearing impaired. To request an interpreter, call the Kansas Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing at 1-800-432-0698. Any individual with a disability may request other accommodations by contacting the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for August, 1, 2013 at the Woodson CountyCommunity Building in Yates Center.

New Lease Rates Available for Walk-In Hunting Access Land

                                 Whether a landowner possesses 80 or 1,000 acres, 
                                 WIHA can be an integral part of a land’s profitability


Since its inception in 1995, the Walk-In Hunting Access (WIHA) program has been making private land available for public hunting through lease agreements between the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) and Kansas landowners. This has provided hunters with access to more than 1 million acres of land not normally available while still leaving the land in private ownership.

New this fall, landowners who own or lease 80 or more contiguous acres of land can take advantage of higher rate payments and additional acreage ranges. Payment rates are often negotiable and based on the number of acres possessed, the quality of habitat, and length of the lease access period.

Land used for the WIHA program is typically Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres, but land with similar qualities and hunting opportunities, such as native rangeland, weedy wheat stubble, milo stubble, riparian areas, and wetland areas are also considered for enrollment.

Applications are accepted year-round, however landowners wishing to participate in the fall 2013 season dates will need to enroll by July 15.

For more information, including a list of current rates, contact your nearest KDWPT office or visit www.ksoutdoors.com.

Rural King Recalls Deer Corn Because of Possible Health Risk

Rural King Distributing of MattoonIL is recalling 205 tons of Deer Corn, because it has the potential to be contaminated with aflatoxin.

Aflatoxin is a naturally occurring mold by-product. Animals that have consumed any of the above recalled products may exhibit symptoms of illness including sluggishness, unthriftiness, or lethargy combined with a reluctance to eat, yellowish tint to the eyes, or diarrhea. Consumption of feed containing high amounts of aflatoxin can be fatal to some animals. Deer Corn was distributed to 63 retail stores in IllinoisIndianaMissouriTennessee,KentuckyOhio, and Michigan.

Deer Corn is packaged in a green, black, and brown camouflage bags weighing 50 lbs. The product UPC Code is 689139348193.

No illnesses have been reported to date.

The issue was called to attention stemming from testing by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist.

Consumers are urged to return Deer Corn to the store where they have purchased for full reimbursement. Consumers with questions may call the company at 1-800-561-1752 between the hours of 8am and 5 pm CST.

Conservation Compliance Legislation Introduced in House

Reps. Mike Thompson, Jeff Fortenberry Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Enhance Conservation and Incentivize Responsible Farming Practices

U.S. Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA-5) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE-1) today introduced H.R. 2260, The Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013. The bipartisan legislation enhances conservation by incentivizing responsible farming practices. Under this legislation, in order for farmers to qualify for taxpayer subsidies of crop insurance, they must meet basic conservation requirements that minimize the impact to some of our most sensitive areas such as highly erodible lands and wetlands.

            “It’s important that American farmers have a strong and reliable safety net, and that’s why American taxpayers invest heavily in crop insurance,” said Thompson. “But it’s also important that farmers take steps to protect and conserve our wetlands and highly erodible lands for the benefit of everyone. By relinking crop insurance subsidy assistance to basic conservation compliance measures, we can continue providing that important safety net while also protecting some of our most sensitive areas.”

            “Our farmers and ranchers are the first stewards of the land. This bill continues the practice of conservation planning for our most fragile lands to ensure we meet important environmental stewardship goals,” said Fortenberry. “This concept is widely upheld as an important conservation initiative by many in the ag and environmental communities. I look forward to its passage or inclusion in this year’s Farm Bill.”

            The bipartisan Crop Insurance Accountability Act of 2013 would:

● Apply to annually-tilled crops grown on highly erodible lands (HEL) or any crops in wetlands, as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA);

● Require farmers in these areas to file a conservation plan with USDA that states how they will reduce and offset impacts in these areas;

● Require farmers to be in compliance according to their USDA-approved conservation plan in order to receive federal subsidies for their crop insurance premiums;

● Delay the date for producers to come into compliance who are subject to conservation compliance for the first time for five years;

● Allow for all appeal processes to be exhausted before farmers are found to be out of compliance; and

● Provide exemptions for circumstances beyond the farmer’s control and actions taken in good faith.

            Currently, crop insurance for farmers is subsidized by an average of 62 percent.  The Crop Insurance Accountability Act would require farmers to meet a certain conservation compliance standard to continue qualifying for subsidized crop insurance.  If a farmer chooses not to participate in conservation compliance or is found to be out of compliance, they may still purchase crop insurance but would be responsible for 100 percent of the insurance premium.

            Since the 1985 Farm Bill, conservation compliance has been required for participation in many farm bill programs. The 1996 Farm Bill disconnected conservation compliance from crop insurance premium subsidies and instead tied it to the direct payments, or fixed payments, farmers receive every year based on their lands production history. The proposed 2013 Farm Bill (H.R. 1947) has essentially eliminated direct payments, and in doing so has also ended conservation compliance requirements for many of those crops and lands. The Crop Insurance Accountability Actre-links conservation compliance measures to crop insurance premium subsidies.

            “It is no secret that much of agriculture fought the conservation compliance linkage requirement during last year’s debate on the farm bill,” said Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation. “But our desire to avoid a time-consuming and contentious debate with our long-standing partners on workable environmental stewardship programs helped build a consensus around rational provisions that protect farmers while furthering the conservation of natural resources.”

            “The Crop Insurance Accountability Act closes a dangerous loophole which threatens soil and water quality as well as habitat for fish and wildlife. By linking key soil and wetlands protections to federal crop insurance premium subsidies, this bill will help to ensure that in exchange for receiving taxpayer-funded subsidies, farmers help to protect wetlands and reduce soil erosion on their land,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation.

            “Farmers and ranchers deserve a safety net against severe weather and natural disasters,” said Ducks Unlimited CEO Dale Hall. “But it’s just as crucial to make sure that crop insurance isn’t an incentive to destroy wetlands and grasslands that protect drinking water, mitigate the impacts of floods and provide habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. The Crop Insurance Accountability Act ensures the continuation of these basic conservation measures. Congressmen Fortenberry and Thompson are trying to protect our nation’s wetlands and highly erodible lands with this bill. Ducks Unlimited stands among the many conservation, agriculture and taxpayer protection organizations who appreciate their leadership.”

            H.R. 2260 has been referred to the House Committee on Agriculture.

Range Schools Illustrate Soil and Grass Health in Relation to Profitability

“Improving the ability to harvest increased forage using their livestock should interest every producer in Kansas,” said Tim Christian with the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition (KGLC). “The benefit comes as soil water intake increases, higher levels of nutrient cycling occur, microbial activity is elevated, and other cyclic functions begin to achieve balance.”

            This balancing process is the focus for the 2013 KGLC Range Schools, Christian continued. Our instructors and rancher-presenters will key in on this concept simply known as soil health. The Mid-/Shortgrass Range School runs from August 6-8 at Camp Lakeside, Lake Scott, and the Tallgrass Range School is set for August 20-22 at Camp Wood YMCA, Elmdale with the themeCreating Range Wealth Through Soil Health.  As ranchers and land managers better understand and employ grazing, structural and management practices that benefit the native grasses and forbs; those plants then sustain or improve soil health creating a positive cycle that improves and comes into equilibrium over time.  And, that creates more available forage thus increasing the harvest opportunities.

            The Schools cost $300 per person and covers materials, on-site lodging and meals, and other related costs.  Scholarships are available to eligible participants including ranchers, students, and agency staffs.  Ranchers, landowners, and students may qualify for a $150 scholarship if they meet eligibility and request one using KGLC’s scholarship form.  Agency staffs may qualify for $100 in scholarships.  The form and more information on the Schools is available at www.kglc.org under 2013 Range Schools found in the navigation bar.  Scholarship applications must be submitted by July 23 for the Mid-/Shortgrass School and August 6 for the Tallgrass School.

            A major means to keeping costs down is the support of sponsoring partners.  Currently, the partners include the Natural Resources Conservation Service; Fort Hays State University; Kansas State University; Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism; The Nature Conservancy (which hosts one-day of the Mid-/Shortgrass School on their Smoky Valley Ranch); Kansas Section of the Society for Range Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service Partners Program, Feed-Lot Magazine, and Graze the Prairie.

            For more information on the 2013 KGLC Range Schools, contact Tim Christian, state coordinator, at 620-241-3636, 620-242-6440, email to [email protected], or Ken Sherraden assistant coordinator, 785-922-7061, email to [email protected]  You may also go to the web at www.kglc.org.

Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit to Ban Traditional Ammunition

In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denied a petition filed by a number of groups to ban the use of lead ammunition.  The 2010 denial was based on the simple fact that the EPA does not have the legal authority under the Toxic Substance Control Act to ban or regulate ammunition.

As reported in 2010, this is not an accident. When TSCA was passed in 1976, pro-gun legislators led by the late Sen. James McClure (R-Idaho) added language to the bill specifically exempting ammunition from EPA control. They knew, even then, that radical anti-hunting groups could try to use the law to end hunting and recreational shooting by making ammo too expensive. Their foresight has now provided an invaluable protection against the effort to ban traditional lead ammunition.

But you can never count on radicals to stop just because they have been beaten. The EPA has also previously denied their petition to ban the use of lead fishing sinkers, and when they sued to force the EPA to impose an ammunition ban, a federal court ruled that the suit had been filed too late.

Last year, CBD filed a new petition that was just slightly different than the original, only changing the language to specifically target ammunition used in hunting or recreational shooting so that it would not apply to law enforcement or the military.

This week, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed that lawsuit. The suit sought to force the Environmental Protection Agency to ban the manufacture, processing, and distribution of lead-based ammunition and was brought in an attempt to overturn the EPA’s previous denials.

The NRA, Safari Club International, and the National Shooting Sports Foundation each intervened in the case to defend the rights and interests of hunters, competitive shooters, and others with firearms-related interests.

Federal Judge Emmet G. Sullivan dismissed CBD’s lawsuit, finding that CBD’s current petition was nothing more than an attempt to seek reconsideration of their previous petition, which the EPA had denied. Judge Sullivan also indicated that he would defer to EPA’s determination that the agency was not congressionally authorized to regulate lead-based ammunition.

By ruling on procedural grounds, Judge Sullivan was not required to address CBD’s flawed legal argument in his ruling. CBD claimed that the Toxic Substances Control Act provides EPA with the authority to ban lead-based ammunition, notwithstanding that the law has an exclusion that puts “shells and cartridges” outside its regulatory scope. CBD contended, strangely, that bullets and shot are not within the exception for “shells and cartridges,” notwithstanding the very obvious fact that shells and cartridges are where bullets and shot are found.

The CBD is unlikely to ever give up in its effort to ban lead ammunition, which means NRA and gun owners will have to remain vigilant to protect our rights in the future.

Before You Rescue

What you should know before helping your feathered friends

By George Harrison

Birds & Blooms

It’s only natural for people who care about birds to want to help them when they are injured or abandoned. Unfortunately, these good intentions aren’t always the best for our feathered friends.

By caring for needy wildlife, people often create a much greater problem for the animals they are trying to help. So before you take matters into your own hands, remember these few tips.

Out of Sight, Not Out of Mind

People often make the mistake of assuming a lone baby bird (like the eastern bluebird, above) has been abandoned and needs help. This usually involves a fledgling, found alone on the ground or in a shrub, begging for food. It has its mouth open and is flapping its wings, but there are no parents in sight.

It’s logical to think the baby bird is lost or abandoned. But this is rarely the case. Chances are, the parents know where the fledgling is, but they are hiding to keep from drawing attention to their offspring. If the parents are not nearby, they might be off gathering food or feeding a sibling. Rest assured, the baby bird has not been forgotten. Any fledgling that calls for food (like the young eastern kingbird, above right) will be heard and cared for.

Sometimes an infant bird (also known as a nestling) gets out of its nest before it is old enough to fly. When this happens, the best thing you can do is simply place the baby back into its nest.

Now one of the great birding myths claims if you do this, the parents will then reject the baby. This is not true! Birds have a poor sense of smell, so putting the nestling back in its nest is fine.

If an entire nest falls out of a tree or shrub and the young or eggs are still in it, secure it to a location as close to its original position as possible. There is a good chance the parent birds will accept it, especially if the young are still there.

The same is true of larger birds such as hawks and owls, but in this case, it’s best to leave the birds alone altogether. Raptors may pose a danger to humans who attempt to handle them. Even the babies have sharp talons and beaks that can cause serious injury.

Home Remedy

An injured or sick bird is another matter. Our natural instinct and compassion tells us to help a suffering animal, so many people want to take an ill bird home, confine it to a cozy box or cage and attempt to cure it. But by taking a sick or injured bird into captivity, a well-meaning person is violating federal and state laws. It is illegal to keep native species in captivity or disturb them in any way, even those that are sick and injured.

Besides, caring for wildlife requires extensive knowledge in wildlife nutrition and natural history. If it has a broken wing or leg, only a licensed rehabilitator should treat it.

Further, if a bird is sick, it’s nearly impossible to know why. It could be the West Nile virus, pesticide poisoning or a number of other things. Treatment by a layperson almost always ends with the death of the animal. The stress of capture by humans is usually too much for the ill animal to handle.

When you find a sick or injured bird, the best option is to leave it alone. If necessary, you can call a local wildlife rehabilitation center, which often operate through local humane societies or nature centers.

Another rescue challenge arises when a bird hits a window, stunning it or knocking it unconscious. The best care to give a bird that is stunned is to leave it where it falls, and cover it with a colander or large sieve. This will contain the bird and protect it from predators. It should recover within 20 or 30 minutes, and then you can release it.

Overall, the first year of life is difficult for young birds, but the best thing you can do is let nature take its course. So use your good intentions to build a birdhouse or fill a feeder, and then sit back and watch your feathered friends do the rest.

Kansas-Lower Republican Basin Advisory Committee to Hold Meeting in Manhattan

June 12, 10:00 a.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department

The Kansas Water Office‘s (KWO) Kansas-Lower Republican Basin Advisory Committee (BAC) will hold a meeting to discuss current water issues affecting the basin area as well as the state.

The meeting will be held Wednesday, June 12, 10:00 a.m. at the Manhattan Fire Department, 2000 Denison in ManhattanKS. The State Water Plan update, membership recommendations, the ongoing drought and reservoir conditions will be the main focus of the meeting.

The agenda and meeting materials are available at: www.kwo.org or you may request copies by calling (785) 296-3185 or toll-free at (888) KAN-WATER (526-9283).

            If accommodations are needed for a person with disabilities, please notify the Kansas Water Office at 

901 S. Kansas Ave.TopekaKS 66612

-1249 or call (785) 296-3185 at least five working days prior to the meeting.

NSSF Study Shows Lower-than-expected Rates of Hunting Among Recent

by Southwick Associates

            Filled classrooms at Hunter Safety courses are a good thing, but perhaps more important is the number of students that actually participate in hunting after they graduate. A recent survey, funded by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and conducted by Southwick Associates, focused on participation levels of students in the years immediately following their graduation from hunter education class. The survey revealed that a significant percentage of hunter education students do not buy a license after graduating.

Twelve state wildlife agencies supplied data for the survey, which profiled the subsequent hunting license buying habits of hunter education graduates from 2006-2011.

            Just 67.7 % of graduates over the six-year period purchased at least one license.

While some graduates took hunter education with no intention of hunting, others needed assistance to make the leap to become an avid hunter.

After six years, only 44 % of graduates still bought licenses.

Graduates from highly urbanized areas showed the greatest dropout rates indicating a greater need for intervention efforts.

People graduating in warmer months represented the greatest percentage of graduates who never purchased a license.

In most states, graduates between the ages of 16 to 24 were less likely to buy a license six years after graduating, which showed the transient nature of young people.  This held true for college students and those in the military.

“This shows us that simply encouraging people to obtain their hunter safety certificate is not enough,” said Rob Southwick, president of Southwick Associates, which designs and conducts surveys such as HunterSurvey.comShooterSurvey.com, and AnglerSurvey.com. “The hunting community needs ways to encourage new graduates to buy a license and go hunting. Whether that means more programs for state agencies to get people out hunting, private industry intervention, or simply more hunters taking their neighbor’s kid into the woods, remains to be seen. “

It is the belief of the NSSF that the results from this study will help the hunting community determine where intervention is needed to maintain hunting participation among newer hunters.

The full results from the survey can be seen in greater depth at click here.

Senate passes WRDA in decisive 83-14 vote

Annie Snider

E&E reporter

The Senate on May 15 accomplished what many experts had thought to be impossible, decisively clearing the first major bill authorizing new lock, dam, levee and environmental restoration in six years despite a ban on congressional earmarks.

The Water Resources Development Act (S. 601), which passed by a vote of 83-14, still faces an uphill battle in the House, where Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) has been pressing forward with work on his own bill but has made clear he is not comfortable with the Senate’s approach to avoiding earmarks. The Senate legislation automatically authorizes projects that meet a set of criteria; Shuster says that this essentially hands congressional authority to the Army Corps of Engineers to select which water resources projects should move forward.

It’s also unclear what the White House’s reaction to the bill will be. A Statement of Administration Policy last week stopped short of a veto threat but staunchly opposed the bill’s environmental streamlining provisions.

Moreover, while the Senate’s bill provides new authorizations, it does little to address the dearth of funding for water projects. There is currently a $60 billion backlog of authorized but unfunded Army Corps projects, and with the cap on the agency’s budget set by the 2011 Budget Control Act, that gap is only expected to grow.

Still, the new authorizations, which include restoration projects in the Florida Everglades and along the Gulf Coast as well as harbor expansion and flood protection projects, are much-needed, proponents say. The bill would also institute a number of policy reforms, including provisions aimed at moving toward full use of the roughly $1.6 billion collected annually by a Harbor Maintenance Tax for dredging and maintenance, shifting a larger share of the cost for rehabilitation of locks and dams to the federal government, freeing up industry funding for construction of navigation projects, and provisionally extending the length of time the federal government shares the cost of pumping sand to beach protection projects.

And despite vehement objections from more than 100 green groups, as well as lawyers and state wetlands and floodplain managers, the bill passed with provisions aimed at speeding up the environmental review process. The provisions would make the corps the lead agency for the process. It would fine resource agencies for missed deadlines and would establish a mechanism for elevating disputes between agencies up the chain of command.

Opponents of these provisions were particularly frustrated because they were staunchly backed by their usual ally, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the bill. In the end, greens won a minor concession in an amendment from Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) that passed yesterday by unanimous consent, which would sunset the provisions after 10 years. But with the Republican-controlled House up next in the legislative process, environmentalists say they are starting from a down position.

“The so-called ‘streamlining provisions’ strike at the heart of environmental protections that have been in place for four decades,” Melissa Samet, senior water resources counsel for the National Wildlife Federation, said by email. “They add multiple layers of red tape to project reviews and are likely to slow those reviews down rather than speed them up. The end result will be more flooding, damaged rivers, and higher costs to taxpayers. This bill needs to be fixed before it becomes law.”

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) had planned to offer an amendment that would have sunset the provisions after five years, but he agreed this morning not to after Boxer committed to holding a hearing on similar provisions that were instituted under last year’s surface transportation bill.

“Make no mistake, these provisions are still a very risky move,” Udall said on the floor. But, he told Boxer, “because you’re working with me on this, I’m not going to move forward.”