Monthly Archives: October 2014

Pentagon issues “Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap”

                                                                 Summary by Ted Beringer



The Pentagon released a report on Monday (October 13, 2014) entitled the Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap with a forward by U. S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel. It basically acknowledges that climate change is a reality that must be addressed without being ignored any longer.

The Pentagon is seeing recurrent flooding today at many of its military installations including the Hampton Road region in Virginia. It is addressing the problems expected to occur with a projected sea-level rise of 1.5 feet over the next 20 to 50 years. Four primary climate change phenomena are expected to impact the Department of Defense. They are:

  • Rising global temperatures.
  • Changing precipitation patterns.
  • Increasing frequency or intensity of extreme weather events.
  • Rising sea levels and associated storm surge.

The report issues expectations that several effects of climate change will impact both manmade infrastructure as well as “natural infrastructure”. These include:

  • Increased inundation, erosion, and flooding damage.
  • Disruption to and competition for reliable energy and fresh water supplies.
  • Damage from thawing permafrost and sea ice in Alaska and the Arctic region.
  • Increased ecosystem, wetland, sensitive species, and non-native invasive species management challenges.

To read the report in its entirety visit


Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams starts New On-line MarketPlace and AuctionHouse to Promote Kansas Conservation

“The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) in cooperation with its partners is pleased to release a new MarketPlace and AuctionHouse website at,” said Jeff Neel, KAWS executive director, Manhattan.  KAN-PIC stands for Kansas Partners in Conservation, and participants “KAN-PIC” how to support Kansas conservation by buying and selling on the site.

“The site is designed to allow marketing of Kansas-based products and auctioning of personal and business items to promote Kansas conservation groups and projects.  Most legal items, other than firearms and ammunition, can be sold on the site,” Neel said.  KAWS will administer the site and provide conservation funds to groups, watersheds and projects based on user preferences.  KAWS will also receive some funding from the site (after expenses of site operation and maintenance) to coordinate and implement conservation projects throughout Kansas.

“Buyers, sellers (merchants) and conservation groups will all benefit from tax-deductible site coordination and free software to market and sell their products and items—all with a ‘conservation brand’ and for the good of Kansas conservation.  This site is a way for Kansas citizens to work together to score a win in their wallet or pocketbook and for conservation at the same time,” said John Bond, KAWS Watershed Restoration and Protection Strategies (WRAPS) Manager.

Any conservation group, with an outlined mission for conservation work, can register to receive proceeds from sales on the site.  Conservation groups can begin registration now.  This is an opportunity for your conservation group to fund-raise simply by having your membership buy and sell on Register your conservation group and ask your members to buy and sell on to support your conservation group’s mission.  It is that easy.

All sellers (merchants) “KAN-PIC” a registered conservation group to receive one percent of all of their sales. This is how your conservation group raises money.  KAWS will pay each conservation group their share of the sales at the end of each fiscal year.  Sellers (merchants) are credited with tax-deductible donations for two and one-half percent of their sales (one percent goes directly to conservation group of choice, plus one and one-half percent goes to site administration, maintenance and KAWS conservation projects).

Buyers also contribute to Kansas conservation with each purchase.  One percent of all sales go directly to watershed conservation projects where the buyer is located.  The buyer is credited with a tax-deductible donation for two and one-half percent of all of their purchases (one percent goes directly to watershed projects and one and one-half percent goes to site administration, maintenance and KAWS conservation projects).

“KAWS has streamlined the costs for merchants and buyers on, so costs are greatly reduced compared to similar sites.  Plus, all proceeds from the site go towards conservation and not to profits.  The site is operated as a transparent, democratic, non-profit—all for the good of Kansas conservation,” said Bond.

Sellers (merchants) can register on and begin listing items in the MarketPlace or list auction items in the AuctionHouse starting on November 1, 2014.

The site goes live on December 1, 2014.  Buyers can begin registering and buying in the MarketPlace and AuctionHouse starting December 1, 2014.

Organized in 1996, KAWS is a 501.C.3 educational public charity who works with local people and partners to ensure the future of our streams, wetlands and riparian areas as an integral part of our Kansas heritage and landscape.  “We try to bridge gaps by bringing folks together to simultaneously support Kansas livelihoods and conservation.  The site is meant to help with that.  KAWS is really excited to bring this site to Kansas people and partners, and we look forward to working together on this for years to come” said Neel.


Great Bend Sand Prairie Ecosystem

The newest addition to the Kansas Ecosystem page on the Kansas Wildlife Federation website is the Great Bend Sand Prairie, a component of the Central Great Plains. To view it click on and scroll down to “Great Bend Sand Prairie”. You can read about it and view photos of its wildlife & vegetation. You can also click on any of the photos for larger resolution images. Alternately, whenever you are on the KWF Homepage just scroll down to the middle box entitled Kansas Ecosystems, click the photo and scroll to whatever interests you.

Livestock Forage Workshop

Learn how cover crops could benefit your operation! Outdoor demonstrations on

 Grazing cover crops 

 Economics of alternative forages 

 End of year pasture assessments 

 Prairie pollinators 

 Low-stress livestock handling 

Workshop will be held October 22, 2014 from 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. at the Dalebanks Angus Sale Facility, 3 miles NW of Eureka, KS. Call 620-583-5544 to RSVP & for directions

Fall Forage Tour: Utilizing Cover Crops to Improve Soil Health and Increase Cow Carrying Capacity

Amazing Grazing events continue with two, free fall forage tours!

Cattlemen and producers are invited to the Fall Forage Tour, Friday, October 31 and Saturday, November 1, 2014. The tour will begin at 1:00 p.m. on both days at the Dale Strickler Farm, one mile south of Courtland on the west side of the highway.

Two audiences will benefit from participation in the Fall Forage Tour-cattle producers and those interested in utilizing cover crops to improve soil health. The tour will focus on improving soil productivity through the use of cover crops, forages, and perennial grasses.

If you’ve ever been on one of Dale’s tours or heard him speak on cover crops, you know this is don’t miss opportunity!

            Examples of key take-aways from the Fall Forage Tour include:

There are two methods to carry more cattle on your ranch…

Method 1: Buy a bigger ranch.
Method 2: Improve the productivity of your current ranch.
Note: We will NOT be discussing Method 1 at this event!

What carrying capacity & weaning weights can be achieved with optimum management?

Is it possible to graze 12 months a year and eliminate feeding hay?

Is it possible to have more production and profit from grazing crops with animals than harvesting the grain?

Tour includes Dale’s Cow/Calf Operation and the following forages:

  • Eastern Gamagrass
  • Cover Crop Test Plot
  • Grazing Alfalfa
  • Bird’s Foot Trefoil
  • Tropic Sun Non-Toxic Sun Hemp
  • Low Alkaloid Reed Canary Grass
  • Brown Midrib Forage Sorghum Sudan
  • Many other forage & grass varieties

We encourage ranchers of all sizes to attend one of these free tours, as you will learn valuable information and insights that will improve production and profitability of your livestock enterprise.

Please feel free to contact Mary if you have any questions about the event or how to RSVP.

Mary Howell

Kansas Farmers Union & Kansas Graziers Association

[email protected]



No-till on the Plains, Inc. will host a no-till field day for producers to gain a better understanding of the importance of soil health by utilizing continuous no‐till  cropping

Systems and cover crops. Members of the media and the general public are also invited. This event is being sponsored by the Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, the Marion

Reservoir WRAPS project and the Marion county Farm Bureau Association. No-till on the Plains is pleased to offer this high‐quality educational event to all interested producers.

The Whirlwind No‐till Expo will take place on Monday November 3, beginning promptly at 8:30 a.m. at the MarionCommunity Center, 203 N. 3td St..  The day will begin with a Rainfall Simulator demonstration followed by a tour of local fields utilizing various cover crops. The highlight of the morning features a soil pit where participants can examine soil characteristics in both long‐term no‐till and conventional till environments. Lunch will be provided at the MarionCommunity Center, followed by a full afternoon of knowledgeable speakers. A $20 registration fee is required for attendance.

Featured speakers are University of Nebraska‐Lincoln Extension Engineer Paul Jasa who is a great source of information in the Midwest on no‐till planting equipment and system management. Greg Scott, professional soil scientist and soils expert from Tryon, Oklahoma. Star Seed agronomist and cover crop expert Dale Strickler. Continuous no-till producers Ryan Speer from Halstead, Kansas and Josh Lloyd from Oak Hill, Kansas will present information about their operations, cropping rotations, including how they use cover crops for soil health and weed control.

No‐till farming systems offer several advantages to producers willing to implement the system. Fewer trips across fields without tillage passes will reduce fuel costs. Increasing crops in rotations will break weed and insect pest cycles. Increased crop residue and root systems will increase soil organic matter and microbiological activity, thereby increasing the productiveness and fertility of the soil. Implemented in a site‐specific systems approach, no‐till will, over time, outperform conventional tillage.

Each year No‐till on the Plains hosts field days, bus tours and the annual Winter Conference for producers to gain valuable no‐till information. “We’re striving to meet our mission to be a primary resource for no-till information and a support network for producers”, says Ryan Speer, No-till on the Plains President.

For more information on the Whirlwind No‐till Expo or to pre‐register by October 31, contact No‐till on the Plains, Inc. at 785‐210‐4525 or register online at


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is getting pressure from environmental and sustainable agriculture organizations and members of Congress to investigate and restrict the use of neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides linked to declining pollinator populations.

Neonicotinoids are being cited as one of several factors contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder in bees, leading to sharp population decline in recent years.  In the past year, the abrupt reduction of pollinator numbers has led to a two-year ban on neonicotinoids in Europe, a class action lawsuit from beekeepers in Canada, and a federal strategy outlined by the Obama Administration to promote pollinator health.

On September 30, 2014, Representatives Earl Blumenaur (D-OR), John Conyers (D-MI), and 58 other Democratic Representatives co-signed a letter urging the EPA to restrict neonicotinoid use.

The letter outlines nine policy recommendations, including restricting—and in some cases, suspending—the use of neonicotinoids depending on timing, methods, and location of the pesticide’s application.  The signing Representatives also call for cost-benefit analyses for neonicotinoid pesticide registration and assessing neonicotinoid-treated seeds, which are currently exempt from major federal pesticide regulations.

Six days prior, 17 non-profit organizations submitted an 11-page letter commenting on the EPA’s process for assessing neonicotinoid pesticides.  Among the signers were several NSAC member organizations: Family Farm Defenders, Midwest Organic Sustainable Education Service, Northwest Center for Alternatives to PesticidesPesticide Action Network – North AmericaSlowFood USA, and Women, Food and Agriculture Network.

The letter introduces several recommendations echoed by the Democratic Representatives, including tougher regulations on neonicotinoid pesticides and an end to unregulated status for treated seeds.  The groups also provide information on how neonicotinoids pose a threat to plants, pollinators, and birds listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).  The groups criticize the Agency’s failure to comply with the ESA during the pesticide assessment process, arguing that the Mississippi sandhill crane, southwestern willow flycatcher, and other listed bird species are at risk from neonicotinoids.

Both letters were written as the EPA considers a petition from Syngenta to increase allowable levels of thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid insecticide, for a variety of crops.  As neonicotinoid-coated seeds fail to control pests later in the growing season, Syngenta claims spraying of the pesticide on alfalfa, corn, barley, and wheat is essential—thus prompting the petition to EPA.

Halliburton’s $1.1 Billion Spill Agreement Avoids Bigger Payouts

Halliburton Co.’s agreement to pay $1.1 billion to settle most of the lawsuits over its role in the biggest U.S. offshore oil spill helps it avoid billions more in potential penalties down the road.Haliburton

The oilfield services company, accused of doing defective work on BP Plc’s Macondo well before it exploded in 2010, killing 11 men and dumping millions of barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, said today the agreement resolves “a substantial majority” of its liability in the disaster.

Halliburton’s settlement comes as the federal judge overseeing oil-spill cases weighs fault for the accident, and averts the risk of a more costly judgment against the company in favor of some spill victims. The agreement removes much of the uncertainty that has plagued Halliburton for the past four years as investors waited to see how much the company might be hurt by payouts in the case. With its biggest piece of liability resolved, Halliburton can refocus its attention on developing new oilfield technology that will help it boost profits worldwide.

“It’s actually a pretty decent settlement for them,” said Rob Desai, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis, who rates the shares a hold and owns none. “This eliminates an overhang.”

– See more at:

Act Now to Save Kansas Endangered Species

Red Belly Snake on a leaf. Photo by John White.

Red Belly Snake on a leaf.
Photo by John White.

Recent actions taken by Kansas have been geared to ignoring or reversing listings for some of Kansas’ Endangered Species. Most recently the attacks have been directed at the Redbelly Snake. The Kansas Wildlife Federation has joined forces with the Kansas Sierra Club to save these species. To learn more about this threat visit

To sign an online petition to save the redbelly snake and other Kansas Endangered Species, visit before October 16th.

Redbelly Snake

Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Photo by Ted Levin

Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Photo by Ted Levin

Redbelly Snake (Storeria occipitomaculata) Photo by Ted Levin / Animals Animals

The following description is taken from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks & Tourism:

The Redbelly Snake is 8-10 inches long, has keeled scales, and a divided anal scale. On its dorsal side, its color may be slate gray or reddish brown. Two thin darker stripes are on each side. The snake’s belly may be bright orange-red or jet black. Any combination of dorsal and belly colors can occur. There are three light spots on the neck.

Redbelly Snakes prefer deeply wooded regions near rivers and lakes, sandstone woods, wooded hillsides, hillsides near streams, steep slopes of forested hills, moist areas, moist woodlands, woodlands with dense leaf litter, lowlands, forest edge, open fields, the vicinity of old dilapidated farm buildings, and woodlands which remain damp throughout the year. They are usually discovered on damp ground beneath leaf litter, leaf mold, or pine needles mixed with dead leaves; equally as often they are found under flat rocks, logs, rotten logs, boards, and other surface debris.


Redbelly Snakes are protected by the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act and administrative regulations applicable thereto. Any time an eligible project is proposed that will impact the species’ preferred habitats within its probable range, the project sponsor must contact the Ecological Services Section, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, 512 SE 25th Ave., Pratt, Kansas 67124-8174. Department personnel can then advise the project sponsor on permit requirements.


As defined by Kansas Administrative Regulations, critical habitats include those areas documented as currently supporting self-sustaining population(s) of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife as well as those areas determined by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to be essential for the conservation of any threatened or endangered species of wildlife.

Currently, the following areas are designated critical for Redbelly Snakes:

(1) All suitable habitat occurring within the section of Cherokee and Crawford counties east of U.S. Highway 69 at the Kansas-Oklahoma border (Sec. 18, T35S, R24E), extending north to State Highway K-7 (Sec. 7, T33S, R24E), then continuing north to the northern border of Crawford County (Sec. 30, T27S, R24E).

(2) All suitable woodland habitat within Douglas, Jefferson, Johnson, Leavenworth, and Wyandotte counties.

The following counties contain critical habitat for REDBELLY SNAKE: