Monthly Archives: October 2013

Angler Education Class to be Held at Olathe Bass Pro

Participants can be certified to teach fishing techniques in Kansas

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, along with Fishing’s Future, is excited to announce the Bass Pro Shops in Olathe as the site of the next angler education course on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013. The class will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Conservation Room on the second floor. There is no cost to attend; however pre-registration is required through the Fishing’s Future website ( The Olathe Bass Pro Shops is located at 

12051 Bass Pro DriveOlatheKan. 66061


“Conducting a Kansas Angler Instructor Certification Class at Olathe Bass Pro Shops provides a fun and professional atmosphere for our future instructors to learn in,” said KDWPT Community Fisheries Assistance Program coordinator Bryan Sowards. “We are grateful for Olathe Bass Pro Shops’ cooperation with our new Angler Education Program, and we hope to see many more events like this in the future.”

The Angler Education program, which was launched earlier this year, certifies anglers who successfully complete the course to teach fishing techniques within the state. Apart from becoming certified, participants will also be given valuable information regarding working with children, sample curriculums, and tips for preparing a class or clinic. Other subjects covered in the four-hour class include current fishing rules and regulations, species identification, fishing ethics, equipment, knot-tying, casting, fish habitat, aquatic nuisance species, and conservation practices.

“This class allows us to recruit fishing instructors who will eventually be able to act as volunteers on KDWPT’s behalf, educating the public on fishing and the wonderful fishing resources our state provides,” said Sowards. “Kansas offers some of the best public fishing opportunities in the nation, and we think this is a great way for anglers to pass on their passion for fishing to those who may have yet to experience Kansasfishing.”

Anglers interested in registering for the Nov. 2 course can sign up by visiting and clicking “upcoming events,” then “Kansas Angler Education Training Program.”

For more information, contact Fishing’s Future local coordinator Kevin Reich at[email protected], or by phone at (785) 577-6921.

Hunters can Process Deer in Field with Electronic Registration

Voluntary electronic deer registration allows hunters to transport a carcass without a head attached

With permit sales reaching nearly 100,000 every year, whitetail deer are easily one of Kansas’ most sought-after big game animals. One important regulation deer hunters should be aware of is deer must be tagged before being moved from the site of the kill. Unless a hunter has an either-sex permit, the head must also remain attached to the carcass for identification purposes while in transit to a residence or place of commercial processing or preservation. In an effort to allow hunters to bone out deer prior to transport, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism created a voluntary electronic deer check-in system. Electronic registration is not required but allows hunters to register their deer through the Internet, using photos taken at the harvest site. Once registered, hunters will receive a confirmation number that allows them to transport the carcass without the head attached. If Internet access is unavailable at the kill site, the hunter can retain the photographs while in transit and a registration number can be obtained later.

This registration process requires a hunter to submit two digital photographs — one close-up clearly showing the completed tag attached to the deer and a second showing the entire body of the deer with the head still attached. Once logged on to the KDWPT website, a hunter must submit the photos and enter the KDWPT number from their permit, time and date of the kill and the county where the deer was taken. A confirmation number will be issued by email when the photos and data are successfully received. This confirmation number must be retained during transportation.

Once these steps are completed, the deer head may be removed and the carcass prepared for transportation. The system allows KDWPT staff to see the deer and the hunter’s completed tag without the time and expense of maintaining a check station. This flexibility is a benefit to both the hunter and KDWPT. To access the electronic deer check-in, go online to the KDWPT website,, and click “Hunting/Big Game/Deer/Deer Check-in.”

This option was developed to address two important issues regarding deer carcass transportation. The first concern is about the movement of any material from a deer that may contribute to the transmission of chronic wasting disease (CWD). It is believed that spread of CWD could be diminished if certain body parts affected by the disease are not moved from the site where the deer is taken. Because CWD affects the brain and central nervous system, the transportation of a deer head and skeleton from one location to another is considered a likely means for the disease to spread. The new registration system allows a hunter to leave these items at the kill site, minimizing the possibility of spreading CWD.

The second concern is directly related to the first. Many states have adopted strict regulations to prevent the spread of CWD. Typically, these regulations do not allow the transportation of a deer head with brain tissue from a state with confirmed CWD cases. Hunters have been cited in other states and their deer confiscated for not complying with the transportation laws of that state. The new registration system allows a hunter to properly dispose of the head and legally transport the boned meat, as well as the cleaned skull cap and antlers, to the hunter’s home.

More information on CWD and transportation laws may be found on the KDWPT website, under “Hunting/Big Game/Chronic Wasting Disease.”  

Kansas State Parks and Wildlife Areas Remain Open

Wildlife areas and state parks operated by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism NOT affected by federal government shutdown.

The Kansas Department of Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) is a state agency and all offices, wildlife areas, education centers and state parks operated by the agency remain open. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has announced that the government shutdown will impact access for hunting and fishing on all national wildlife refuges (NWR). The USFWS operates four national wildlife refuges in Kansas: Kirwin NWR in Phillips County, Quivira NWR in Stafford County, Flint Hills NWR in Coffey County, and Marais des Cygnes NWR in Linn County.

According to the email from Matt Hogan, Deputy Regional Director for the USFWS’s Mountain-Prairie Region, operations on the NWRs will cease under the shutdown, including hunting and fishing on these areas. The NWRs in Kansas primarily offer waterfowl hunting opportunities, and all are within the Late or Southeast Duck zones. Duck season opens Oct. 26 in the Late Zone and Nov. 2 in the Southeast Zone. Goose seasons open Oct. 26, statewide.

KDWPT-managed wildlife areas are not affected by the shutdown and will remain open. Waterfowl areas managed by KDWPT in the Early Duck Zone include Cheyenne Bottoms, Jamestown, McPherson and Texas Lake. The regular duck season in the Early Duck Zone is Oct. 5–Dec. 1, 2013 and Dec. 21, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014.

Also, according to a news release from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Kansas City District office, USACE-operated parks and day-use areas on state reservoirs will be closed during the shutdown. The USACE operates parks at Big Hill, Clinton, Council Grove, John Redmond, Kanopolis,Marion, Melvern, Milford, Perry, Pomona, Tuttle Creek, and Wilson reservoirs. KDWPT state parks remain open on the above listed lakes except Big Hill, Council Grove and Marion. All 26 Kansas state parks remain open for camping, day-use and lake access.

KDWPT offices will be open during regular hours, and access to all wildlife areas and state parks operated by the department remains unchanged. For more information on Kansas state parks, public hunting areas and hunting regulations, go to

Deer Processing Workshop Oct. 24

Venison 101 participants will learn the basics of getting a deer from the field to the dinner table

Fall is officially here and that means freezers are going to start filling up with deer meat. Whether you are a beginner or veteran deer hunter, or just looking to expand your culinary repertoire, consider attending the “Venison 101: From Field to Table” deer processing workshop. Hosted by the Central Kansas Extension District and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT), the workshop will be conducted Oct. 24, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at Scout Hall in Minneapolis. Participants will learn how to process and prepare delicious venison the whole family will enjoy. In addition to the workshop, participants can enjoy a chili supper and drawings for door prizes. The cost to attend is $10.00 per person, with pre-registration required by Oct. 17.

“We believe hunters of all experience levels should be able to enjoy their product long after the hunt has ended,” said extension agent Leah Robinson. “If the game is handled properly along the way, the fruit of hard work can continue to the dinner table.”

Speakers from K-State Research and Extension and KDWPT will provide an in-depth cutting demonstration, various home processing methods, and talk about food safety practices. Changes and updates regarding hunting laws and deer diseases will also be discussed.

For more information, or to register for the workshop, contact Robinson at (785) 392-2147.

Five States Submit Fourth Draft of Lesser Prairie-Chicken Conservation Plan

Plan is alternative to federal Endangered Species Act listing

The fourth draft of a comprehensive conservation plan for the lesser prairie-chicken has been submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for endorsement, a plan offered by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) and state wildlife agencies in Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.

This latest version comes after extensive review and comment by stakeholders across the bird’s five-state range. Once the USFWS endorses the plan, the states can begin implementing it in hope of precluding the need to list the species under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The lesser prairie-chicken is an iconic grassland grouse species native to parts of all five states. However, long-term population declines have brought state and federal agencies together in an attempt to better manage lesser prairie-chickens and their habitats. The resulting precedent-setting plan identifies population and habitat objectives based upon the needs of the species, not state boundaries.

“For years, biologists have well known that wildlife do not recognize state lines, which has presented management challenges for wildlife agencies,” says Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA Grassland Initiative Coordinator. “Often, population goals are set based on administrative boundaries. This plan not only sets biologically meaningful population objectives, it also allows for resources to be spent anywhere within the same habitat type, regardless of the state. This should give state wildlife agencies maximum management flexibility and, ideally, preclude the need to list it.”

The submission of the range-wide plan comes at the same time the second annual statistically-valid, range-wide population estimate for the lesser prairie-chicken is being released. Analysis of the 2013 range-wide survey revealed population estimates of 17,616, down from the 34,440 birds estimated the previous year. This population decrease was predicted by biologists because of the persistent drought that has plagued the region in recent years.

Lesser prairie-chicken populations have fluctuated historically due to weather and habitat conditions. In fact, populations were so low during the droughts in the 1930s and 1950s biologists feared the species was almost extinct. However, when the rains returned, the populations rebounded. Bird populations impacted by drought should respond to a coordinated management approach.

WAFWA’s Grassland Initiative collaborated with the Lesser Prairie-chicken Interstate Working Group, which is composed of biologists from state fish and wildlife departments within the range of the species, the Bureau of Land Management, and Western EcoSystems Technology, Inc. to conduct a large-scale, helicopter-based survey of lesser prairie-chicken leks across all five states. Leks are sites where the birds congregate every spring for breeding. These surveys occurred from March-May and encompassed more than 300,000 square miles. 

The 2013 survey was funded by the five state fish and wildlife agencies and WAFWA with support from various partners, including oil and gas companies that support lesser prairie-chicken conservation, the Bureau of Land Management and a grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

Although drought has significant impacts on game bird populations, biologists are heartened by the fact that the lesser prairie-chicken has historically shown significant resiliency to periodic climatic events. When the birds were first proposed for listing in the 1990s, the region was experiencing a severe drought. In many areas, bird populations declined by more than 60 percent, but recovered to prior levels with a return to wetter years later in that decade. 

The range-wide conservation plan will help increase and enhance critical lesser prairie-chicken habitat through partnerships with landowners that will incentivize beneficial land management practices. The plan has benefited from extensive public review and stakeholder input, including more than 70 public meetings throughout the five states in addition to online review and comment. This includes specific meetings and outreach for wind energy, oil and gas and agricultural interests.

“We don’t want to see the lesser prairie-chicken designated as a federally threatened or endangered species, however in the event it is listed, we want to have a plan in place to recover the bird and get it off the list as soon as possible,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA grassland coordinator.

“Two critical factors for the bird are good weather and good partnerships with conservation groups and landowners,” Van Pelt added. “Fortunately, drought conditions continue to improve and landowners are getting more involved at the grassroots level, both of which are encouraging signs for the future of the lesser prairie-chicken.”

For more information, contact Van Pelt at [email protected] or visit the team’s website, where the fourth draft of the range-wide plan and the 2013 aerial survey report are available.

Nearly One in 10 U.S. Watersheds Is ‘Stressed’; Demand for Water Outpacing Supply

Nearly one in 10 watersheds in the United States is “stressed,” with demand for water exceeding natural supply — a trend that appears likely to become the new normal, according to a recent study.

“By midcentury, we expect to see less reliable surface water supplies in several regions of the United States,”said Kristen Averyt, associate director for science at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder and one of the authors of the study. “This is likely to create growing challenges for agriculture, electrical suppliers and municipalities, as there may be more demand for water and less to go around.”

According to the research of Averyt and her colleagues, 193 of the 2,103 watersheds examined are already stressed — meaning demand for water is higher than natural supply. The researchers found that most of the water stress is in the Western United States, where there are fewer surface water resources, compared with the East.

Averyt and her colleagues write:

On the water supply side, surface and ground water resources have been declining in much of the U.S. Aquifers underlying the Central Valley in California and the Ogallala, which spans the area between Nebraskaand Texas, are being drawn down more rapidly than they are being recharged. Approximately 23% of annual freshwater demands rely on groundwater resources, yet the volume of groundwater remaining is unclear.

Average surface water supplies are decreasing, and are expected to continue declining, particularly in the southwestern US.. Also in the southwest, water availability is defined as much by legal regimes as by physical processes. Water rights define how much and when water may be withdrawn from surface water sources irrespective of how much water may or may not be flowing in a given year. Water quality, including temperature and sediment concentration, can also constrain availability for certain users.

The researchers found agriculture requires the most water and contributes the most to regional water stress overall; the U.S. West is particularly vulnerable to water stress; and in some areas of the country, the water needs of electric power plants represent the biggest demand on water — so much so that a single power plant “has the potential to stress surface supplies in a local area.” In some densely populated regions like Southern California, cities are the greatest stress on the surface water system.

CIRES produced a map illustrating all of the stressed watersheds in the continental United States, with colors from light green to red indicating increasing levels of stress.

            The researchers found that although there are trends that point toward some stability in the water demandnationally as increased efficiency of use offsets increased population, it remains clear that that climate change is likely to increase water demands as well as diminish water supplies across the nation — especially in already vulnerable areas like the U.S. West, which relies heavily on water from already-stressed watersheds like the Colorado River.

Read the entire CIRES report here.

Farm Bill Expired September 30, 2013

From Wildlife Promise
September 30, 2013

While most people are probably aware of the looming potential government shutdown, there is another deadline today that is getting much less attention: the Farm Bill expires. So what does that mean for conservation and wildlife? In a nutshell, critical conservation programs that allow farmers to protect soil, water and wildlife habitat will come to a screeching halt.

            Farm Bills are typically written in five year increments, and once the bill expires, farm law reverts back to something called “permanent law,” which refers to laws passed in the 1930s and 40s. because this permanent law is so outdated, it is virtually unheard of for Congress to allow the Farm Bill to expire and these outdated laws to kick in – until last year, when that was exactly what happened. Now, we are facing a Farm Bill lapse for the second year in a row.

            Although the major crop insurance, commodity support and nutrition programs in the Farm Bill won’t be immediately affected under an expired Farm Bill, there will be immediate consequences for many conservation programs. While working lands programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program don’t expire until 2014, most of the land retirement programs have an expiration date of September 30, 2013 – today. This means that until a new Farm Bill or an extension is passed, as of October 1 USDA will be unable to enter into any new contracts for the Conservation Reserve Program, the Grassland Reserve Program, the Wetlands Reserve Program, and the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program. These programs provide critical benefits for soil and water quality and help to create and conserve habitat for wildlife. They are popular with landowners and have a proven record of effectiveness.

            In addition to these programs being frozen, allowing the Farm Bill to expire and delaying the passage of a new five year Farm Bill delays the implementation of critical reforms such as a sodsaver provision to protect native prairies and a provision that would tie conservation compliance to crop insurance in order to protect soil and wetlands. Earlier this month, the USDA released shocking data showing that hundreds of thousands of acres of grasslands and forests were destroyed last year alone to make way for cropland – we can’t afford to wait any longer before we move forward with these protections (both of which are included in the Senate version of the Farm Bill).

            For a full explanation of implications of the farm bill expiration, see this very helpful report from the Congressional Research Service.

Wild & Scenic Film Festival on Friday, October 11 at 7pm at Liberty Hall in Lawrence

Friends of the Kaw Will Host the Wild & Scenic Film Festival

What is it?

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is a collection of films from the annual festival held the third week of January in Nevada City, CA. Wild & Scenic focuses on films which speak to the environmental concerns and celebrations of our planet. “Films featured at Wild & Scenic give people a sense of place,” says Tour Manager, Lori Van Laanen. “In our busy lives, it’s easy to get disconnected from our role in the global ecosystem. When we realize that the change we need in this world begins with us we can start making a difference. Come watch and see!
For more information visit

Quivira National Wildlife Refuge Closed Due to Government Shutdown

Just days after Celebration of the 20th National Public Lands Day by Secretary Jewell, the Quivira National Wildlife Refuge is closed to the public caused by the House refusing to fund the Government. All wildlife refuges as well as fish & wildlife conservation offices were closed beginning October 1, 2013.