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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Whooping Cranes present in Kansas

 

whooper

 

There were currently 5 Whooping Cranes (4 adults and 1 juvenile) at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge in Stafford County. The cranes were in the Big Salt Marsh at 7:45 am 29 October. This is the beginning of the primary migration period for Whooping Cranes in Kansas and a north wind could result in the birds heading south. Check their status at http://www.fws.gov/refuge/Quivira/ or call 620-486-2393.

KRC Position Opening: Application deadline November 9

The Kansas Rural Center is seeking a part-time Program Manager for its “Tunnel to Table: Increasing Ks. Specialty Crop Production and Profitability with High Tunnels” Project.  Dan Phelps, our KRC staff person who was to lead this project, has taken a position in California starting the end of November. KRC is seeking to replace him before he and his family leave, so he can impart  knowledge and advice to his successor.

 

This position will conduct research on growing systems in high tunnel production, gather existing data on high tunnel economics, and work with five case study farms to gather data on working high tunnel farms. This information will be published in a guide “Growing Under Cover 2.0”, a publication or in-depth manual focusing on high tunnel production and economics/profitability.

 

The position will be responsible for ensuring that the program goals are achieved and delivered as planned.  In this project, KRC will work with our partners, the case study farms in this project, and experts around the country to gather data to develop a manual and other educational materials helpful to Kansas tunnel growers. The Program Manager will work closely with the other KRC staff and an advisory team to:

 

  1.  Develop expertise in the topic area (high tunnel production); gather and document existing data on the various growing systems used in high tunnel production; gather and document existing data on high tunnel economics; attend a farm training conference and online course, and webinars.

 

  1.  Oversee research and record keeping of Case Study Farms involved with the project. Review, organize, and analyze data. Create documentation of results and develop interactive online tools.

 

  1. Assist in one high tunnel construction workshop and educational webinar.

 

  1. Produce and distribute educational materials including Growing Under Cover 2.0, a publication/manual focusing on high tunnel production and economics, as well as online interactive tools.

 

  1. Develop program evaluation metrics;create and implement measurement tools, working closely with KRC Executive and Program directors

 

Project Summary

The project is a one-year project building on the success of a previous  “Tunnel to Table” project to provide Kansas specialty crop producers with information and educational opportunities on polytunnel production. That project resulted in a manual “Growing Under Cover” with the basics of high tunnel production (selection, location, types of crops, etc.) and a series of workshops around the state.  (Check out the report  at http://kansasruralcenter.org/growing-under-cover/)

 

Many growers are becoming aware of the benefits of high tunnels - yet KRC and its partners (including K-State Research & Extension) repeatedly find a lack of Kansas-specific information and support on how these structures can be best utilized for maximum productivity and profitability.

 

USDA programs have raised awareness and provided cost-share assistance for construction of high tunnels. In the first four years of the NRCS Seasonal High Tunnels Initiative, 99 high tunnels were erected in Kansas. Yet, many farmers found that once their tunnels were constructed they had a huge learning curve on how to make money from them - without adequate Kansas-specific models and data, it will take years to fully realize those tunnel’s potential in the state.

 

There is a serious need to gather more data in Kansas and make the findings readily available to Kansas farmers and farm service providers - including best production practices for ensuring Kansas high tunnels are as productive and profitable as possible.

 

Qualifications

* Self-starter with good people skills and ability to set priorities and carry through on their own.

*  Team player.

*  Must have excellent oral and written communication skills.

*  Computer experience and knowledge of Excel and Word are necessary; desktop publishing experience helpful.

* Must have practical knowledge of specialty crop production and high tunnel or polytunnel production.

* College degree a plus but not necessary, and background in agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics, or other agricultural science related field is  critical.

* Demonstrated interest in and commitment to sustainable agriculture and a sustainable food system is a must.

 

Terms of Employment

The KRC maintains a virtual office with all staff and contractors working from home-based offices. The Program Manager will be under supervision of the KRC Executive Director.

 

 This is a part-time position (35%  FTE) for one year.

 

Whether a regular staff position or a contractual position can be negotiated. Travel and work related expenses are covered by KRC.

Ideal for specialty crop farmer looking for part-time off-farm work, or college student or part-time instructor in horticulture or ag related field.

 

Start Date: Negotiable;  Prefer by November 30, 2015.

Application Deadline: November 9, 2015.

 

To Apply: Send letter of application, resume, writing sample and at least three references to:

Mary Fund, Executive Director,

4021 SW 10th Ave. #337

Topeka, Ks. 66604,

or e-mail to Mary Fund at  mfund@kansasruralcenter.org .

 

-The Kansas Rural Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.-

NRCS announces deadline for EQIP funding in Kansas

 

Kansas agricultural producers who want to improve natural resources and address concerns are encouraged to sign up for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).  Kansas NRCS State Conservationist Eric B. Banks announced that November 20, 2015, will be the deadline.

 

“Producers can sign-up for EQIP at any time throughout the year, but to compete for the upcoming funding, I encourage producers with resource concerns to submit an application by the application deadline,” Banks said.

 

EQIP is a voluntary conservation program available for agricultural producers. Through EQIP, NRCS will provide financial and technical assistance to install conservation practices that reduce soil erosion and sedimentation, improve water and air quality, and create wildlife habitat.

 

Many applicants have interest in financial assistance to address soil erosion and water quality issues on cropland. However, there is also financial assistance available for grazing land operations, confined livestock operations, organic producers, and wildlife habitat improvement, just to name a few.  More information about financial and technical assistance can be found on the Kansas NRCS Web site at http://www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov.

 

“EQIP also helps address the unique circumstances of socially disadvantaged, veteran, limited resource, and beginning farmers and ranchers, who have natural resource concerns that need to be addressed on their land,” said Banks. Qualifying Kansas producers compete separately and receive higher payment rates.

 

Producers interested in EQIP should submit a signed application to the local NRCS field office. Applications submitted by November 20, 2015, will be evaluated by NRCS staff.

 

For more information visit the Kansas NRCS Web site (www.ks.nrcs.usda.gov/programs) or your local U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Service Center. To find a service center near you, check your telephone book under “United States Government” or on the Internet at offices.usda.gov.  Follow us on Twitter @NRCS_Kansas.  USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Fishing regulation changes slow the spread of Asian carp

 

Many anglers remember when the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) changed bait regulations in 2012 to limit the use of wild-caught bait to within the drainage where collected as well as the 2013 amendment to lessen restrictions for bluegill and green sunfish. The intent of these regulations was to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species such as Asian carp, white perch, and zebra mussels. Sampling conducted earlier this year appears to show that anglers adhering to the bait regulations helped slow the spread of Asian carp through Kansas waters.

 

In July 2015, KDWPT partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to sample 11 locations from six river basins throughout Kansas to detect the presence of environmental DNA (eDNA) left behind by bighead and silver carp (collectively known as Asian carp). Over a three-day span, two field crews, each comprised of two KDWPT Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) program staff and one USFWS staff, collected 204 eDNA samples. An additional USFWS crew, manning a portable trailer with cooled centrifuges, prepared the samples for shipment to and processing by the USFWS Whitney Genetics Lab in LaCrosse, Wis.

 

Results were released to KDWPT earlier this month and are available at http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/eDNA.html, but to summarize, none of the samples collected contained Asian carp eDNA. ANS program coordinator Jessica Howell has a good guess as to why.

 

“We believe the bait regulations have had a positive impact on protecting our natural resources from ANS such as Asian carp, as evidenced by the apparent lack of spread of bighead and silver carp throughout the state,” said Howell. She went on to add that locations such as Atchison State Fishing Lake and the Kansas River above the Bowersock Dam in Lawrence are areas we would have expected to see positive samples if the fish were moved upstream. Instead, these popular fishing locations were negative for eDNA, despite downstream populations where reproduction by the fish has been documented.

 

Regulations were changed because ANS, including Asian carp and white perch, can easily be confused with similar-looking native species by anglers catching bait. Small bighead and silver carp look very similar to native gizzard shad. White perch look very similar to native white bass. When the KDWPT Commission amended the regulations in 2013 to allow bluegill and green sunfish to be moved, part of the decision was that bluegill and green sunfish do not look like invasive fish currently in Kansas (bighead carp, silver carp, and white perch).

 

Anglers and boaters should be aware of Kansas regulations enacted to prevent the spread of aquatic nuisance species, including:

 

Wild-caught bait must be used in the common drainage where collected and may not be moved upstream of a dam or natural fish barrier. Bluegill and green sunfish collected from non-designated aquatic nuisance waters may be possessed as live bait anywhere in the state.

No live fish may be taken from designated aquatic nuisance waters, including sport, non-sport, and baitfish.

 

Anglers fishing with bait purchased from a commercial dealer must have the receipt in their possession while fishing with purchased bait.

Trout season offers hot fishing during colder months

 

Kansas fishing fun doesn’t have to end when winter begins. A unique angling opportunity is about to kick off in select waters throughout the state, and with the right permit and some layered clothing, you just might find you have one more reason to fire up the grill – trout.

 

Trout are stocked in more than 30 locations around the state during the season, which runs Nov. 1, 2015 - April 15, 2016. Anglers can try their luck at trout fishing in Type 1 waters, which require all anglers to possess a $12.50 trout permit, and in Type 2 waters, which require only those fishing for or possessing trout to purchase the permit. The permit is valid for the calendar year and can be purchased wherever licenses are sold and online at www.ksoutdoors.com.

 

Trout fishing opportunities are available at the following locations:

 

TYPE 1 LAKES: TROUT PERMITS REQUIRED OF ALL ANGLERS

Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin

Dodge City Lake Charles

Ft. Scott Gun Park Lake

Glen Elder State Park (SP) Pond

Kanopolis Seep Stream

KDOT East Lake in Wichita

Lake Henry in Clinton SP

Mined Land WA Unit #30

Pratt Centennial Pond

Walnut River Area in El Dorado SP

Willow Lake at Tuttle Creek SP

Webster Stilling Basin

Sandsage Bison Range and WA Sandpits (Periodically Dry)

Vic’s Lake and Slough Creek in Sedgwick County Park

Topeka Auburndale Park

Garnett Crystal Lake

 

TYPE 2 LAKES: TROUT PERMITS REQUIRED ONLY FOR TROUT ANGLERS

Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake

Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County #2 Road

Ft. Riley Cameron Springs

Lake Shawnee - Topeka

Salina Lakewood Lake

Moon Lake on Fort Riley

Scott State Fishing Lake

Scott State Park Pond

Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond

Atchison City Lake # 1

Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond)

Holton-Elkhorn Lake

Syracuse Sam’s Pond

Cimarron Grasslands Pits

Colby Villa High Lake

Great Bend Stone Lake

Herington - Father Padilla Pond

 

TROUT Permit required year-round*

Cherokee County – Mined Land Wildlife Area No. 30

*Because trout survive through the summer here, a trout permit is required year-round for anglers utilizing the lake.

 

Residents 16-74 years old, and all nonresidents 16 and older must also have a valid fishing license. The daily creel limit is five trout unless otherwise posted. Anglers 15 and younger may fish without a trout permit, but are limited to two trout per day, or they may purchase a permit and take five trout per day. Possession limit for trout is 15.

 

For information on trout stocking schedules, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing / Special Fishing Programs for You / Trout Stocking Schedule.”

Gov. Brownback recognizes Cheyenne Bottoms

 

Governor Sam Brownback visited the Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC) at Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area on Monday, October 19, 2015. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Secretary Robin Jennison introduced Gov. Brownback, who joined local city and county government officials, media representatives, and local legislators, to tour the center and discuss the importance of educating visitors about the value of wetlands and raising awareness of Cheyenne Bottoms.

 

Located four miles north of Great Bend in Barton County, Cheyenne Bottoms is the largest inland wetland in the U.S. and is a critical stopover for many migrating waterfowl and shorebird species. In addition to hundreds of thousands of waterbirds, this 19,000-acre wildlife area, operated by KDWPT, attracts more than 60,000 hunters and bird watchers annually from across the U.S. The Nature Conservancy manages 8,000 acres of wetlands adjacent the state wildlife area. The KWEC, which is owned and operated by Fort Hays State University, provides visitors a window to the wetland, literally. The center is surrounded by marsh and inside, visitors can learn interactively about the ecosystem’s history, biology and the value of wetlands in general. University and KDWPT staff have offices at the center.

 

“This is a fantastic facility,” Gov. Brownback said about the education center as he addressed Monday evening’s guests. “It’s important that visitors, especially our youth, learn about the role of wetlands and the story of Cheyenne Bottoms.”

 

After discussing the area’s value as a natural resource and local tourism attraction, Gov. Brownback listened to comments about how the area could be promoted and how it could be improved. It was pointed out that many Kansas residents fail to realize or may take for granted the fantastic natural resources Kansas has to offer.

 

On Tuesday morning, October 20, Gov. Brownback spent several hours on the wildlife area, observing waterfowl and shorebirds as they fed and rested on the area’s shallow pools and mudflats. Accompanying KWEC and KDWPT staff explained management efforts and challenges, and provided expert advice on shorebird identification.

 

“This has been a great morning,” Gov. Brownback said as the area tour concluded. “I appreciate what the people here are doing to maintain this area and ensure it’s here for future generations.”

 

Unlicensed hunter arrows 208-inch buck, LDWF says

 

Todd Masson

The Times-Picayune

 

Never call a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries agent to come measure your deer if you forgot to buy your license before you shot it.

 

An Abbeville man learned that lesson the hard way Saturday, according to the department. Officials say Senior Agent Douglas Anderson received a call at 10 a.m. Saturday about a trophy buck that had been shot on a private lease in Avoyelles Parish near Simmesport by a guest hunter. The club wanted someone to come measure the buck for record purposes.

 

Upon arrival, Anderson was informed that the deer may have been shot by an unlicensed hunter. He says he interviewed the hunter, Glen Toups Jr., 40, and Toups confessed to not having a basic hunting license, big-game license or deer tags.

 

The agent cited Toups for the violations, and seized the deer, which was unofficially scored as a 208-inch buck. Taken by a licensed hunter, it would have qualified as one of the largest bow kills ever in Louisiana.

 

The state’s largest non-typical archery buck was a 219 1/8-inch deer taken by Billy Husted in Tensas Parish in 2007. The No. 2 deer was Rodney Lee’s 203 5/8-incher taken in East Feliciana parish in 1983.

 

Not possessing deer tags carries a $100 to $350 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Hunting without basic and big game licenses each brings a $50 fine and up to 15 days in jail. Toups may also face civil-restitution charges totaling $2,033 for the replacement value of the illegally taken deer.

 

The deer meat was donated to charity, and the head and antlers are being held as evidence by the department. Officials were unable to provide a photo of the deer.

Scott State Park Historic Preservation Committee formed

 

Governor Sam Brownback and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Secretary Robin Jennison announced the formation of the Scott State Park Historic Preservation and Development Committee at a ceremony today at Lake Scott State Park. The focus of the committee is to raise funds to preserve, interpret and develop the unique historic features of the park and the surrounding area. Lake Scott State Park is about 12 miles north of Scott City and is situated along the Western Vistas Historic Byway.

 

The remains of the northernmost Native American pueblo, El Cuartelejo, are a defining feature of the park. Built in the late 1600s and occupied until the early 1700s, the pueblo was used by Taos Pueblo, Plains Apache and Picuris Pueblo tribes for most of its history. The park and portions of the area around it comprise the El Cuartelejo Archeological District National Historic Landmark.

 

“Lake Scott State Park and the surrounding area are among the most historic and beautiful places in Kansas,” said Governor Brownback. “We are especially honored to have C.A. Tsosie, a Picuris Pueblo tribal elder and his wife, Harriet, travel here from New Mexico to bless El Cuartelejo and perform a drum ceremony.”

 

In announcing the committee’s formation, Secretary Jennison, whose family history is deeply rooted in the Healy area a few miles from the park, noted the importance of community involvement in preserving the historic features of the park.

 

“The history of this area is a source of pride for western Kansans,” he said. “We deeply appreciate the willingness of community leaders to join together to help us preserve and interpret not only El Cuartelejo, but other nearby sites that make this region a historic treasure for our state.”

 

The committee will be headed by Jerry Thomas, renowned Kansas western and wildlife artist whose works are displayed at the Jerry Thomas Gallery and Collection adjacent to the El Quartelejo Museum in Scott City. Funding challenges have constrained efforts to preserve and interpret El Cuartelejo. One of the goals of the committee will be to raise funds to build an interpretive center over the ruins to help preserve them.

 

Other Notable Historic Features

The Steele Home, situated a few hundred feet south of the ruins, was built in 1894 by Herbert and Eliza Steele. They owned the land and brought the possible existence of pueblo ruins to the attention of science in the late 1890s. In 1925, they deeded five acres of the property encompassing El Cuartelejo to the Kansas Daughters of the American Revolution (KSDAR), which erected a monument commemorating the site. The KSDAR transferred title to the land to KDWPT in 2012 and the KSDAR monument remains.

 

Battle Canyon is one mile south of the park and is the site of the last Indian battle in Kansas, (between Northern Cheyenne and the U.S. Cavalry in 1878).

 

About Lake Scott State Park

The park is nestled in a scenic canyon in northern Scott County and is widely considered one of Kansas’ most beautiful state parks. It was listed in National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of the 50 must-see state parks in the U.S. The Kansas Sampler Foundation also listed the park as a finalist for the 8 Wonders of Kansas designation. It was included on a list of 36 Stunning U.S. State Parks by The Active Times website.

Deer-vehicle crashes increase in fall

 

Mating season and the quest for more secure habitat have deer on the move this time of year, increasing the chances of vehicle collisions. Typically, the greatest occurrence of deer-vehicle crashes is in mid-November when the rut, or mating season, peaks.

 

“In addition to the rut, deer are also on the move in mid-fall seeking new locations as crops are harvested and leaves fall from trees and shrubs, leaving them less secure than in their summer habitats,” said Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism biologist Lloyd Fox.

 

According to the Kansas Department of Transportation, 15 percent of Kansas crashes last year were deer-related (crashes in which a deer and vehicle actually collided or the presence of a deer was a contributing circumstance). Although crashes involving deer occur throughout the year in every Kansas county, the highest number of crashes typically occur where there are the most vehicles. Sedgwick County had 422 deer-vehicle crashes in 2014, the most of any county.

 

The Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP) cautions drivers to avoid taking extra-ordinary measures to avoid striking a deer in the road, lest a bad situation become even worse.

 

“If you are unfortunate enough to have a deer enter the highway in front of your car, it is best to hit the animal and not swerve to avoid it,” said the KHP’s Lt. Adam Winters. “Often we find more serious crashes occur when you swerve in avoidance.”

 

Other tips to avoid deer collisions include:

  • Be especially watchful at dawn and dusk when deer are particularly active.
  • Watch for more than one deer, as they seldom travel alone.
  • Reduce speed and be alert near wooded areas or green spaces such as parks or golf courses and near water sources such as streams or ponds.
  • Deer crossing signs show where high levels of deer/vehicle crashes have occurred in the past.
  • Use your bright lights to help you detect deer as far ahead as possible.
  • Always wear a seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats. Even if you are waiting in your car, it is best to wear your seat belt, and have your children in car seats.

 

If you do hit a deer, here are some additional tips:

  • Don’t worry about the animal. Law enforcement will arrange to have the animal removed from the road when they arrive. Tell law enforcement dispatch if the deer is still in the road when reporting the crash call.
  • If possible, remain in the vehicle, and remain buckled up, protecting yourself in the event there is a secondary crash involving another vehicle.
  • If you must be outside your vehicle, stand as far off the road as possible; make sure hazard lights are activated; don’t stand between your vehicle and another vehicle; and make sure children are kept properly restrained in your vehicle.
  • If you hit a deer, slow down, pull onto the shoulder and turn on the emergency flashers.

 

To report a crash on Kansas highways from a cellular phone, call *47 (*HP) for a highway patrol dispatcher or *582 (*KTA) for assistance on the Kansas Turnpike. The crash can also be reported by dialing 911.

Youth shooting sports clinic planned

 

Youth age 11-16 are invited to attend a fun and friendly shotgun and archery shooting and safety clinic on Saturday, October 24 at Council Grove Reservoir. This special event is part of the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s “Pass It On” program and will provide participants with opportunities to enhance firearm and archery shooting and safety skills, in a controlled, safe environment. There is no cost to attend and all equipment, including shotguns, shells, bows, arrows, targets, and eye and ear protection will be provided. Youth need only a desire to learn and have fun. Interested youth must preregister by Oct. 20.  Students are not required to have completed a hunter education course, but prior completion is preferred.

 

The event will begin at 12 p.m. at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-managed (COE) area between Marina Cove and Neosho Park, approximately 0.25 miles west of the COE office at the west end of the dam. Check-in and a free lunch will take place from 12 p.m.-12:30 p.m., courtesy of the Flint Hills Chapter of Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation. Instruction will begin at 12:30 p.m. and will end approximately at 4 p.m. Participants will be provided with safety and shooting instruction by certified firearm and archery skills instructors, and teaching methods almost guarantee that students will be breaking shotgun targets by the end of the session.

 

Door prizes will be awarded, including a youth model .243 bolt action rifle with scope, donated by the Chisholm Trail Chapter of Safari Club International.

 

Additional event sponsors include the Bill Young Foundation and Morris County Hunter Education instructors.

 

For more information, contact Council Grove Wildlife Area manager, Brent Konen, at (620) 767-5900.