Daily Archives: August 10, 2014

Topeka Shiner

Topeka Shiner photo by Joel Sartore.

Topeka Shiner photo by Joel Sartore.

Topeka Shiner (Notropis topeka)  Photo by Joel Sartore

The Topeka shiner (Notropis topeka) is a small minnow, less than three inches in total length. It is an overall silvery color, with a well defined dark stripe along its side, and a dark wedge-shaped spot at the base of the tail fin. Males develop additional reddish coloration in all other fins during the breeding season.

The Topeka shiner occurs primarily in small prairie (or former prairie) streams in pools containing clear, clean water. Most Topeka shiner streams are perennial (flow year-round), but some are small enough to stop flowing during dry summer months. In these circumstances, water levels must be maintained by groundwater seepage for the fish to survive. Topeka shiner streams generally have clean gravel, rock, or sand bottoms. It is currently listed as Federally-endangered.

Farming Practices, Climate Change At Root of Toledo Water Pollution

Suzanne Goldenberg

US environment correspondent



The toxins that contaminated the water supply of the city of Toledo – leaving 400,000 people without access to safe drinking water for two days – were produced by a massive algae boom. But this is not a natural disaster.

Water problems in the Great Lakes – the world’s largest freshwater system – have spiked in the last three years, largely because of agricultural pollution. Toledo draws its drinking water from Lake Erie.

Residents were warned not to drink the water on Saturday, after inspectors at the city’s water treatment plant detected the toxin known as microcystin. The toxin is produced by microcystis, a harmful blue-green algae; it causes skin rashes and may result in vomiting and liver damage if ingested. It has been known to kill dogs and other animals and boiling the water does not fix the problem; it only concentrates the toxin.

The current bloom of microcystis is concentrated in MaumeeBay in Lake Erie’s western basin, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). A second, smaller bloom has appeared in SanduskyBay.

Read the rest of the story in The Guardian here: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/03/toledo-water-pollution-farming-practices-lake-erie-phosphorus

Simply stated, if you put fertilizer on cropland, you grow crops; if you put fertilizer on your yard, you grow grass; and if you put fertilizer in water bodies, you grow algae.

Kansas Waterfowl Dates to Be Set at August 21 Commission Meeting

Duck and goose seasons, popular with Kansas hunters, will be set during the next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K157 Hwy, Great Bend. The August 21 meeting is open to the public and will run from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and reconvene at 6:30 p.m. for the evening session.

The afternoon session will begin with time for public comments on non-agenda items, followed by a general discussion period. Topics covered in the general discussion include: Secretary’s remarks regarding agency and state fiscal status, an update on the 2014 Pheasant Tour, and an update on tourism division activities.

Workshop topics for the afternoon session include items that were covered under general discussion during the June meeting. Workshop topics, which will be discussed for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, include 2015 turkey regulations, park regulations, fishing regulations, and the five-year review of the Kansas Threatened and Endangered Species List.

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. at the same location to discuss any remaining workshop items and begin the public hearing. Public hearing items open for discussion during the evening session include legal equipment and taking methods of big game, and late migratory bird seasons.

KDWPT staff will make recommendations for duck and goose seasons based on frameworks provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), which were released in late July. The frameworks include number of days available for hunting, earliest starting dates and latest closing dates, as well as bag and possession limits. Department staff recommends Kansas seasons based on migration chronology, harvest history, and hunter survey results. Staff recommendations are included in the August 21 Commission Meeting Briefing Book, which will be posted online Aug. 12. Go to www.ksoutdoors.com and click on “Commission” under “KDWPT Info.”

Time will be available in both the afternoon and evening sessions for public comment on non-agenda items. If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., August 22, to complete any unfinished business.

Commercial-free live video and audio streaming of the meeting will be broadcast through www.ksoutdoors.com.

The next commission meeting is scheduled for October 16, 2014 at Martinelli’s Restaurant Meeting Room, 158 S Santa Fe Ave., Salina.

Cottontail Rabbit

Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) photo by Harvey Henkelmann

Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) photo by Harvey Henkelmann

Cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) photo by Harvey Henkelmann

The cottontail has a stubby tail with a white underside. They have flat molars for grinding food. Their eyes are located on the sides of the skull for a wider field of view to locate predators. At birth, they are blind and deaf. But after a week, they can see and hear; and, after roughly two weeks they leave the nest. Although mainly nocturnal, rabbits are active in the early morning and at dusk. During the day, cottontails often remain hidden in vegetation.Predators include coyotes, foxes, weasels, eagles, owls and hawks. Cottontails are herbivores that eat grasses, clovers, sedges, legumes, fruits asters, fleabanes, sedges, horse nettle, cinquefoil, strawberry, clovers, & alfalfa, sumacs, foxtail, tall thistle, timothy, dandelion and even poison ivy. In agricultural areas, they’ll eat corn and soybeans.In the winter they’ll eat the bark and buds of shrubs and trees. The best rabbit habitat includes dense vegetation for escape cover like sumac and blackberry & plum thickets. Unfortunately, agricultural land today doesn’t often retain this kind of vegetation required for optimal habitat. Vast areas planted with single crops and modern tastes for mowed grass landscapes have reduced cottontail populations. Rabbits make a great pet for teaching responsibility to kids. The Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation is an excellent source of information about rabbit habitat. http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/bookstore/pubs/4H1004.pdf