Monthly Archives: June 2015

Join National Wildlife Federation’s 11th annual Great American Campout

 

Tens of thousands of people across the nation will be camping for a cause on Saturday with the kickoff of the 11th Annual National Wildlife Federation Great American Campout. In conjunction with Great Outdoors Month, the annual event runs through September 7, 2015 encouraging people of all ages to camp in their parks, campgrounds, backyards and neighborhoods as a way to reconnect with nature.

 

“Spending time in America’s great outdoors is not only a chance to renew our own spirit, it’s a chance to inspire our next generation of outdoor enthusiasts and public land stewards,” said Collin O’Mara, president and CEO of National Wildlife Federation, who’ll be taking part in his home state’s Delaware Capital Campout. “That’s why I spend as much time as I can camping, hiking and fishing with my daughter – to share the rejuvenating conservation values and love for the natural world that my parents instilled in me. This helps us live the adage that we only conserve what we love, love what we understand, and understand what we are taught.”

 

To participate, National Wildlife Federation asks people of all ages to pledge to camp or get outdoors anywhere – a forest, a local park, or their own backyards – at least once this summer. The event website at NWF.org/Campout provides all the information needed, including a directory of public Great American Campout locations, tips on what to bring, lists of campout activities and recipes, and more. Campers are encouraged to take #Campies (Camping Selfies) and submit them to NWF’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages to share their experiences.

 

Nick Offerman, star of NBC’s Parks & Recreation, serves as Official Celebrity Spokesman in promotional online and print ads for the cause. “Of course it’s great. It’s camping. And it’s American,” said Offerman.

 

Activities and highlights of Great American Campout 2015 include:

 

  • Virginia: All 36 of the Virginia State Parks will be hosting a Great American Campout. There will be parks with special overnight campout events, parks that offer campsites visitors can reserve with related programming on Saturday and Sunday, and a few of our day use parks with programs only. Please find more information here.

 

  • California: 5th Annual Discovery Bay Community Campout will be held on June 27 at Cornell Park. Discovery Day has the largest Campout in the nation with more than 2,000 attendees last year. For complete details and registration, please go to this link.

 

  • NWF Staff: The National Wildlife Federation’s National Advocacy Center in DC is hosting camping, hiking, and good times with NWF staff and friends in Shenandoah National Park on Friday, June 26 through Sunday, June 28 for Great American Campout.

 

  • Great Outdoors Month and Capital Campouts: Governors are taking an active role in Great Outdoors Month 2015 by hosting young campers at an appropriate location in each state capital. These campouts can be at the governor’s residence, at the state capitol or at an urban green space in the capital city. Here is a listing of Capital Campouts. There are fun and exciting events taking place throughout June (and beyond), please go to: http://www.greatoutdoorsmonth.org.

 

  • Top 10 Cities for Wildlife: The Top 10 Cities for Wildlife are a great place to Campout. Here is a listing of parks to camp that are great places to get outdoors and see wildlife, especially in cities. Whether a park is 100 acres or 4000 acres, wildlife is sure to be found in the trees, on the ground, in the water. Please check it out here.

 

  • Share Your Campie: What is a campie? camping + selfie* = campie. *A selfie is a self-portrait photograph or group photograph featuring the photographer, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone. Just snap a photo at your next camping adventure and be sure to share it on social media using the hashtags #campie and #campout2015.

 

 

  • All Summer Long: Great American Campout is a summer-long celebration of camping as a way to connect with nature and wildlife. This year, top NWF supporters have agreed to donate $1 for every person who participates in the Great American Campout – up to $100,000. These donations will support our ongoing efforts to protect the great outdoors for all Americans. Take the pledge.

 

 

The National Wildlife Federation has worked to connect people with nature for decades, inspiring people through is award-winning Ranger Rick, Ranger Rick Jr. and National Wildlife magazines, through numerous outdoor events, and by working with educators to get kids greening their schools and learning outdoors.

 

The National Wildlife Federation is one of America’s largest and oldest conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children’s future. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

 

U.S. Senate committee passes Sen. Jerry Moran’s amendment prohibiting ‘threatened’ listing of Lesser Prairie-chicken

 

By Justin Wingerte

The Topeka Capital-Journal

 

A U.S. Senate committee has approved an amendment barring the federal Fish and Wildlife Service from enforcing its listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken as a threatened species.

 

On Thursday, June 19, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $30 billion measure to fund the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency, among other departments. The committee, the largest in the Senate, approved the measure along party lines, with all 16 Republicans voting in favor and all 14 Democrats voting against.

 

Lesser Prairie-chicken

Lesser Prairie-chicken

 

Attached to the legislation was an amendment by Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, “to prohibit the use of funds to implement or enforce the threatened species listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act of 1973.”

 

Moran’s amendment was approved by the same 16-14 vote as the full legislation. A measure to remove the Moran amendment and other divisive measures limiting the powers of the EPA and Interior Department failed on a 14-16 party line vote.

 

“I was pleased the Senate Appropriations Committee acted today to protect Kansas and rural America from the consequences of the listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken,” Moran said in a statement.

 

Despite passage, the future of Moran’s amendment and the appropriations bill it is attached to remain in question. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., said the bill’s amendments are likely to draw a veto from President Barack Obama.

 

“These riders are terrible policy,” Udall said of the bill’s amendments. “They’re nothing more than a special interest giveaway to polluters. And they also have a proven track record of derailing the appropriations process.”

 

In addition to Moran’s amendment, the Senate legislation contains a measure to bar the threatened or endangered listing of the Greater Sage-grouse and an amendment to remove the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

 

The attachment of amendments, or riders, to appropriations bills is a common tactic employed by members of Congress to direct federal agencies to act in a certain manner. During a speech Sunday at the conservative Ripon Society in Washington, Moran touted Congress’ power over federal agencies.

 

“Only when we have the power of the purse do they start paying attention to us,” Moran said. “It creates a dialogue, an opportunity to have conversation with a cabinet secretary or an agency head. And if they don’t listen or are uncooperative, you have the greater threat, which is no money can be spent.”

 

The Fish and Wildlife Service has said the “threatened” listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken was the result of a steep decline in the bird’s populations in recent years. Five states are home to the Lesser Prairie-chicken: Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Together, the states had fewer than 18,000 Lesser Prairie-chickens in 2013.

 

But opponents in Kansas of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s listing have argued for years that classifying the Lesser Prairie-chicken as threatened places unfair conservation fees and restrictions on farmers, ranchers and oil companies.

 

“The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acted prematurely when listing the Lesser Prairie-chicken,” Moran said. “The five states with habitat area … came together with stakeholders to develop a broadly supported plan to conserve the bird. However, they were not given adequate time to implement the conservation plan due to the federal government unnecessarily stepping in and listing the bird as a threatened species.”

 

A U.S. House version of the Interior-EPA appropriations bill doesn’t limit the Fish and Wildlife Service’s ability to enforce its listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken as a threatened species, though it does contain amendments similar to those in the Senate bill, including a measure by Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., to defund the EPA’s efforts to update ozone regulations.

 

On May 15, House members agreed 229-190 to approve an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would “prohibit the further listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken as a threatened or endangered species until 2021.” All four members of Kansas’ House delegation voted in favor.

 

“With passage of this amendment, we begin ending the massive regulatory threat to our rural way of life from the ill-conceived listing of the Lesser Prairie-chicken,” Rep. Tim Huelskamp said in a statement that day. “It is high time that we place a greater value on the citizens of rural America than the Lesser Prairie-chicken.”

Beginner sailing classes to be held for youth ages 8-17

Sailing-Classes

 

The Ninnescah Sailing Association’s (NSA) Jr. Sailing Camps are underway and youth age 8-17 are invited to attend. The first camp session will be offered July 6-10, and a second camp session will be offered July 20-24. All classes will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily and will be held at the Afterdeck Activity Center at Cheney Lake. Topics covered will include water safety, sailboat handling, sailboat racing, and sportsmanship.

 

Parents can rest assured their children will be in good hands as the camp is taught by experienced, certified U.S. sailing instructors Brenyn Kissinger, Charlene Randle, and Texie Randle.

 

The cost to attend is $150 per non-member student, and $125 for members. Non-member students will receive a one-year junior membership in NSA with registration. Life jackets, course materials, use of sailboats, and safety equipment are included in the fee.

 

For information and to register, call (316) 655-4993 or e-mail [email protected].

Support Audubon’s effort to save the Migratory Bird Treaty Act!

Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) has launched a sneak attack on the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), America’s oldest and most important law protecting migratory birds.

The attack came in the form of a rider to the annual appropriations bill for the Departments of Justice and Commerce that forbids the government from enforcing the MBTA.

This measure has now passed the full House of Representatives.

It is now up to the Senate to reject this reckless and unconscionable rider.

Please take action now—demand that the Senate uphold America’s long tradition of protecting birds and their habitats.

By barring enforcement of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, migratory birds would be vulnerable to almost unlimited harm from industrial activity, poorly sited energy projects, and even deliberate killing.

In fact this rider is so sweeping that if it had been in effect when the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout occurred, BP would not have been subject to prosecution for the killing of millions of birds.

For nearly 100 years, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act has been a pillar of Americans’ collective resolve to make a place in our world for birds and their habitats. Today we are seeing unprecedented attacks on the MBTA, the Endangered Species Act, and many of our bedrock conservation laws. If these attacks become law, it could set the cause of bird and wildlife conservation back decades.

The attacks are being driven by special interest agendas that are out of touch with mainstream American opinion or values. They cannot be allowed to prevail.

Please join me in demanding that the Senate reject the Duncan Amendment and other bird killing proposals.

photo of David Yarnold Sincerely,

David YarnoldDavid Yarnold
President & CEO, National Audubon Society

 

Kansas Game Wardens recognized for exemplary efforts

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) law enforcement division recently presented several game wardens with awards for their outstanding efforts both on and off the field in 2014. The following officers were recognized for their exemplary efforts:

 

The Award of Merit was presented to Hal Kaina and Greg Salisbury. Kaina received the award for his investigation work in developing information leading to the arrest of an individual involved in the theft of copper wire from agricultural irrigation systems. Salisbury received the award for his actions relating to a house fire in rural Ottawa County.

 

Matt Hanvey and Jason Harrold were presented with the Richard Harrold Memorial Award for Investigations. Hanvey and Harrold were recognized for their investigation of a multi-year case involving four individuals from Mississippi. All four violators were charged and arrested on several charges, including multiple counts of taking deer, some classified as trophy animals, without licenses or permits.

 

The Boating Officer of the Year Award was presented to Kurt Hudson for his efforts in advancing boating safety across the state by participating in a variety of training and educational programs, special enforcement efforts aimed at reducing impaired operation of watercraft, and going above and beyond to acquire advanced training.

 

Josh DeHoux was presented with the Live Saving Award. DeHoux, who witnessed a vehicle accident on I-35 in the Kansas City area, stopped and helped perform CPR on one of the victims. Although the victim did not survive, DeHoux is recognized for his efforts to save the life of another person.

 

Jeff Goeckler, Lance Hockett and Jesse Gehrt were also presented with the Live Saving Award for their efforts in saving a hunter shot with a 20 gauge shotgun. Through their direct action and working in coordination with local EMS personnel, the victim survived the injury.

 

The Award of Valor was presented to Owen Johnson. Johnson, while on patrol, was involved in a vehicle accident. Although sustaining serious injuries himself, including a triple fracture to his fifth neck vertebrae, a fractured eye socket, broken nose, three fractured ribs and multiple contusions of the head, Johnson still managed to notify emergency services and rendered aid to the other victims of the accident until emergency services arrived on the scene.

 

The Director’s Award was presented to Lt. Bob Funke, Brad Hageman, Jeff Cakin, Lynn Koch, Jon Entwhistle, Mike Hopper, Scott Leamon, Ben Womelsdorf and K-9 Libby, and Investigator Jason Hawman for their work in the investigation and prosecution of eight individuals who were charged with 48 violations. The charges included four counts of felony commercialization of wildlife as well as charges for the possession of stolen property. Officers from the Department’s Public Lands Section, Parks Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Osage County Sheriff’s Officer were also involved in the investigation.

 

Dave Adams was presented with the Officer of the Year Award. Adams, who was recently the lead officer in the investigation of eight individuals violating numerous wildlife and criminal laws, was recognized for his dedication to the mission of conservation law enforcement. Apart from his law enforcement duties, Adams is also involved in hunter education, boating safety, and the Archery in the Schools Program.

 

For more information on the KDWPT Law Enforcement division, including requirements for becoming a game warden, visit www.ksoutdoors.com/Services/Law-Enforcement.

Donate to fund disabled veteran hunt and fish licenses

 

To show appreciation for the service and sacrifice of our disabled veterans, the Kansas Legislature annually appropriates a limited amount of funding to provide them free hunting and fishing licenses. Any Kansas resident who is a military veteran with at least 30 percent disability qualifies, and application for the licenses must be made each year. However, if the number of qualified applicants exceeds the amount appropriated, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) must cease issuing the licenses or rely on a pool of donations to fund them. Anyone purchasing a hunting or fishing license online is given the option through a check box to make a donation to fund these licenses.

 

The appropriation for Fiscal Year 2015 ran out in May and donations have been exhausted, so KDWPT has applications for licenses that cannot be issued. The appropriation is expected to be in the FY2016 budget, but those funds won’t be available until July 1 and may be insufficient to fund all the applications that could arrive during the coming fiscal year.

 

It’s difficult to predict demand for these licenses and permits and when funding runs out, the only recourse is to use donations. Help ensure our disabled veterans enjoy the Kansas outdoors by donating when you purchase licenses online. Call 620-672-5911 for more information.

Flathead handfishing season open to adventure-seekers

 

To explore the unknown and murky depths of a catfish nest, to be willing to wrestle a male flathead to the water’s surface bare-handed, to feel the unforgiving grinding of a bristly tooth patch rubbing against your skin ­- that is handfishing.

 

Flathead

 

“Handfishing is a challenging sport that only a small portion of our anglers are willing to attempt,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Fisheries section chief, Doug Nygren. “It’s really a unique opportunity for the adventurers out there.”

 

Handfishing requires an angler to use their hands as the bait and hook. They will find a suspected catfish hole, barricade possible exits the fish might escape through, stick their arm inside, and lurk around for a catfish mouth to grab. Although somewhat simple in theory, handfishing is an angling technique not for the faint of heart. And according to KDWPT license records, only 578 anglers were willing to take on the sport in 2014.

 

Adding to the challenge, regulations do not allow man-made objects that attract fish, such as a barrel, box, or bathtub to be used. Handfishing anglers are also prohibited from using snorkel or scuba gear. A stringer may be used, but not until the catfish is caught by hand and is at or above the water’s surface.

 

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.

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.

 

“These fish are going to be found in areas that have structures beneath the water, like rocks and old trees,” said Nygren. “An angler’s best bet is to try a federal reservoir with rip-rap areas open to handfishing.”

 

Handfishing permits can be obtained for $27.50 at license vendors, or online at www.ksoutdoors.com/License-Permits.

 

For more information, consult the 2015 Kansas Fishing Regulations Summary, or visit www.ksoutdoors.com/Fishing.

Early migratory bird seasons to be set at June 18 KDWPT Commission meeting

 

Several regulations focusing on the upcoming waterfowl seasons will be discussed at the Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting June 18. The meeting will be held at Fort Hays State University – Robbins Center, One Tiger Place, Hays, and will begin at 1 p.m. with time for public comments on non-agenda items. Shortly thereafter, a general discussion period will commence, followed by a general discussion period with remarks on agency and state fiscal status; the 2015 legislative session; tourism division activities; license fees; and state park updates.

 

Following the general discussion, the workshop session will cover topics considered for potential regulatory action at a future meeting, including park regulations, fishing regulations, duck zone boundaries, and the late migratory bird seasons.

 

The commission will recess at 5 p.m., then reconvene at 6:30 p.m. at the same location to discuss any remaining general discussion and workshop items, and begin the public hearing. Public hearing items to be discussed and voted on include early migratory bird seasons and the deer season on the Fort Riley Military Reservation.

 

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., June 19, to complete any unfinished business.

 

Live video and audio streaming of the meeting can be accessed by visiting 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 20, 2015 at the Kansas Wetlands Education Center, 592 NE K-156 Hwy, Great Bend.

Helping Heroes Heal Bass Fishing Tournament at Council Grove City Lake

 

Patriot Outdoors Adventures is proud to host the “Helping Heroes Heal” Bass Fishing Tournament June 14 at Council Grove City Lake, located 3.5 miles northwest of Council Grove. This unique event will pair veterans with members of local bass fishing clubs to compete in a fishing tournament. The event will include official weigh-ins and a presentation of awards. Members of the public and media are invited to watch. Although all spots are filled for the tournament, Patriot Outdoors Adventures invites any veteran who has been affected by time spent in service to be a part of future events by contacting Nathan McClure at (785) 375-1327.

 

The Helping Heroes Heal Bass Fishing Tournament will begin on Saturday, June 13 with a meet and greet at 4 p.m. followed by the fishing tournament Sunday morning. An opening ceremony will begin at 5:30 a.m. at the boat dock and fishing will begin at 6 a.m. Weigh-ins will begin at noon in accordance with state and local fishing regulations, and the awards ceremony and closing events will follow.

 

Patriot Outdoors Adventures is a 501(c)3 charity that was established by retired Sgt. Maj. Mark Spencer in 2008. Spencer, a wounded veteran, created the organization as a way to help other veterans struggling with physical, mental and emotional injuries transition back into civilian life, as well as learn how to live with their injuries. To learn more, visit them on Facebook at “Patriot Outdoors Adventures.”

Two Kansas Hunter Education instructors make Hall of Fame

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism is proud to announce two of the Department’s very own hunter education instructors have been inducted into the International Hunter Education Association’s (IHEA-USA) Hall of Fame. Ray Fischer and Dennis Vincent were inducted at the IHEA-USA’s annual conference May 18-21, 2015 in Des Moines, IA. Fischer, a veteran instructor of 20 years, received the Volunteer Hunter Education Hall of Fame Award, and Vincent, a veteran instructor of 25 years, received the Professional Hunter Education Hall of Fame Award.

 

Fischer became involved with the Kansas Hunter Education program in 1995 serving as an instructor. Just two short years later, he was named an area coordinator. To date, he has served in several capacities, including serving on the program’s advisory committee for the past seven years.

 

“Fischer makes learning a fun and rewarding adventure for his students,” said nominator and Kansas Hunter Education coordinator, Kent Barrett. “As busy as he is with family, work and other activities, he always finds time to volunteer.”

 

Vincent, named the 2014 Kansas Hunter Education Instructor of the Year, is also a committed member of the program.

 

“Dennis is a down-to-earth spokesman for hunting and shooting,” Barrett said of Vincent. “He is able to communicate with everyone from the politician in the statehouse, to the hunting veteran with 30 years of field experience, to the apprehensive mother watching her 12-year-old son shoot a shotgun for the first time.”

 

IHEA-USA is the professional hunter education association affiliated with the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and the 50 state fish and hunter education programs. These programs throughout the US utilize 55,000 instructors, many of whom are volunteers, who teach hunting and shooting safety, as well as hunter ethics and responsibilities.

 

Through the Hall of Fame program, IHEA-USA annually recognizes professionals and volunteers who go “above and beyond” the call of duty to bring hunter safety education to students and instructors in their states; assist IHEA-USA in a manner that exceeds a general effort; and benefit hunter safety education nationally, including involvement within the community as well as with conservation partners and the hunting and shooting sports industries at the state and national levels.

 

For more information on the IHEA Hall of Fame, visit www.ihea.com.