Monthly Archives: January 2016

Thirty-two fishing spots to catch trout in Kansas


We know what you’re thinking: trout in Kansas? Impossible. But, it’s true. While these spotted beauties may not be native to the Sunflower state, that doesn’t mean anglers fishing in Kansas can’t enjoy luring one ashore this winter. Thanks to a special program offered by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, anglers can catch stocked rainbow trout at more than 30 public waters across the state. Trout are stocked in a total of 32 spots during the trout season, which is open through April 15. Waters are categorized as Type 1, which require all anglers to possess a $14.50 trout permit, and Type 2, which require only those fishing for or possessing trout to purchase the permit.


The $14.50 permit is valid for the calendar year and can be purchased wherever licenses are sold and online at In addition to the trout permit, resident anglers age 16-74 and nonresidents 16 and older must also have a fishing license. Unless posted otherwise, the daily creel limit is 5 trout. Anglers 15 and younger do not need a trout permit, but they may only keep two trout per day.



Cedar Bluff Stilling Basin

Dodge City Lake Charles

Fort 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 Wildlife Area (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



Sherman County Smoky Gardens Lake (Periodically Dry)

Solomon River between Webster Reservoir and Rooks County #2 Road

Fort Riley Cameron Springs

Lake Shawnee - Topeka

Salina Lakewood Lake

Moon Lake on Fort Riley

Scott SP Pond

Hutchinson Dillon Nature Center Pond

Atchison City Lake # 1

Belleville City Lake (Rocky Pond) (Periodically Dry)

Holton-Elkhorn Lake

Syracuse Sam’s Pond

Cimarron Grasslands Pits

Colby Villa High Lake

Great Bend Vet’s Lake



Cherokee County – Mined Land WA 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 non-residents 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 and click Fishing/Special Fishing Programs for You/Trout Fishing Program.

Learn to burn at Feb. 11 Prescribed Burning workshop


If you’re interested in learning how you can incorporate prescribed burning into your land management practices, attend the Prescribed Burn Workshop in Harper County on Thursday, Feb. 11. The one-day class will be held at the Harper County Fair Barn, 128 E 9th St., and begin at 10 a.m. There is a $10 registration fee, which includes a class workbook and lunch.


Information presented will include topics such as reasons to burn, burning for wildlife promotion, fire behavior, regulations and permits, planning and conducting a burn, Conservation Reserve Program rules, safety, weather issues, liability, and how to design your own burn plan.


For more information, and to register, call (620) 842-5445 or email by Feb. 1.

Waterfowl enthusiasts invited to Kansas Ducks Unlimited State Convention


You don’t have to be a waterfowl hunter, or a hunter at all, to be welcomed at the 2016 Kansas Ducks Unlimited State Convention in Hutchinson, Feb. 19-20. If you have a passion for conserving waterfowl and believe in the magic of a marsh, there’s a seat for you at this fun event. The convention will take place at the Atrium Hotel and Conference Center, 1400 North Lorraine, and rooms can be reserved at a discounted rate by calling (620) 669-9311.


Event activities include a kick-off party Friday evening, followed by a Kansas Conservation Update Saturday morning and an awards ceremony and banquet Saturday night. Optional wine tasting will be available for ladies only on Saturday with prior registration, and vendor merchandise will be on sale throughout the two-day event.


For more information, and to purchase admission tickets, contact Lynne Rozine at (913) 909-0622.

After a year of pledges and promises, are we any closer to saving the Monarchs?


Thousands of acres of milkweed will be planted in the spring—but environmental groups say the focus on habitat isn’t enough.


By Willy Blackmore



With the White House’s Pollinator Research Action Plan and millions in donations and matching funds promised by the likes of Monsanto, 2015 was a landmark year for monarch butterfly conservation.


But with Friday’s news that Monsanto, DuPont, and the American Soybean Association—which are all tied to the drastic decline of monarch habitat across the U.S.—have signed on to yet another program promising to promote pollinator habitat conservation, you have to wonder what, beyond pledges and promises, is actually being done on the ground.


Much of the action that was promised last year—including the lofty White House goals to establish or improve 7 million acres of habitat and increase monarch populations to 225 million by 2020—will take time. Case in point: The first significant batch of habitat restoration projects that were awarded grants won’t be planted until this spring, and those plantings will take time to establish and mature. And environmental groups warn that habitat restoration won’t be enough to turn monarch populations around.


Still, grant money is making its way out into the world, and projects ranging from 10 to 10,000 acres in size have been funded across the country by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the Monarch Joint Venture—three of the major groups facilitating the new national push on pollinator issues. All told, the various habitat restoration programs the three groups have funded amount to around 70,000 acres of new or improved habitat across the U.S.—from the Driftless Area along the Mississippi River in Iowa and Illinois to recent burn areas in California’s San Bernardino National Forest. With matching funds included, NFWF said the 22 projects it awarded grants to in 2015 will amount to just over $10 million in “total on-the-ground impact,” or, in other words, a whole lot of milkweed seed.


But planting more milkweed won’t necessarily offset what’s been lost over the past two decades, which have seen monarch populations drop from 1 billion butterflies down to fewer than 60 million. “There are myriad problems facing pollinators,” said Lori Ann Burd, environmental health director at the Center for Biological Diversity. And while she readily acknowledges that lack of habitat is one of those problems, she’s less concerned with Monsanto’s conservation efforts than one of its best-selling products.


“The science is clear,” she added. “Glyphosate is the leading cause of the monarch decline. And with nearly 300 million pounds of it drenching soils in the U.S. and killing milkweed each year,” even the newly recharged efforts to restore and improve habitat won’t be able to make up the difference.


Monarch populations peaked in 1996, around the same time Roundup-ready varieties of corn, soy, and other commodity crops began to be widely adopted by American farmers. Prior to that shift, milkweed was able to grow rather benignly alongside the row crops that dominate agriculture along the Interstate 35 corridor, which cuts from Texas up through the Midwest to Duluth, Minnesota, more or less mirroring the primary monarch migration path. Milkweed is the only species of plant that female monarchs will lay their eggs on, and monarch caterpillars rely on it for food throughout the larval stage. In short, if there is no milkweed, there are no monarchs. Once farmers were able to spray all their Roundup-ready crops with glyphosate, killing weeds without killing, say, corn, American farmland suddenly stopped doubling as habitat for the butterflies. Currently, there are some 400 million acres of cropland in the United States.


There are other types of projects that have earned new grant money—programs focused on milkweed seed production, educational programs, and other conservation efforts that fall outside direct planting in areas historically frequented by the butterflies. Additional efforts are also being undertaken with the funding and support of other public and private organizations. In 2016, for example, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service will invest $4 million across 10 states to provide food and habitat—or rather, a variety of wildflowers—for monarchs.


“Every little bit helps,” Burd said. “But on the large scale, if we’re going to be serious about recovering pollinators, then we have to address glyphosate use in this country.”

U.S. Senate committee approves top sportsmen’s priorities


Sportsmen contacts needed ASAP


By Sportsmen’s Alliance


On Jan. 20, the U.S. Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee approved a bill containing some of the top priorities of the hunting and fishing community.

S. 659, the second half of the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act of 2016, includes a key provision sponsored by Sen. John Barrasso (R- Montana) directing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the Endangered Species List. Despite greatly exceeding population targets for delisting, anti-hunting groups successfully persuaded a federal judge to keep wolves protected. The amendment returning wolves to the state management, which has been advocated for and supported by the Alliance, passed on a voice vote.


The committee also rejected an attempt by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) that would have stripped language preventing the EPA from regulating lead in ammunition. Ammunition for hunting is already regulated at the state level, and by the Fish and Wildlife Service where appropriate. The amendment was defeated 9-11. Sen. Boxer also tried to remove language allowing polar bear trophies that were taken prior to their listing on the Endangered Species List from being brought into the United States. The amendment was rejected by the same 9-11 margin.


“This moves us one step closer to passage of the Sportsmen’s Act,” said Evan Heusinkveld, Sportsmen’s Alliance interim president and CEO. “These bills include the most critical items for the hunting and conservation community. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It’s a hunting and conservation issue. We’re hopeful that the Senate will look past partisan differences and take up the full package in the near future.”


Sen. Cory Booker (D- New Jersey), also threatened to include a ban on trapping on the 150-million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, but failed to attract support and ultimately withdrew the amendment.


The Senate will now take up the entire package. Included is a major priority of the Sportsmen’s Alliance known as “Open Until Closed.” For decades, anti-hunting organizations have used the courts to block the opening of public lands that could, and should be, open to hunting. Language in the Sportsmen’s Act would mandate that federal public Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service Lands be open to hunting unless federal wildlife managers find cause to close them. The language will protect hunting and increase hunting access on millions of acres of public land.


Sen. Boxer, a regular opponent of pro-hunting measures, committed to publicly fight the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act on the floor, and is seeking to organize a filibuster. Sportsmen calls are needed immediately.


Take Action: Call both Senator Roberts ((202) 224-4774) and Senator Moran ((202) 224-6521) today. Ask them to support the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act.

Monsanto sues to keep weed killer off California’s list of carcinogens


The state will soon require glyphosate to bear a warning label declaring that it’s known to cause cancer.


By Willy Blackmore



Monsanto has been on the defensive since last year’s announcement from the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm that its best-selling weed killer glyphosate is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” That defense took a new step on Thursday, when the agrichemical giant took legal action in California to halt the state from adding glyphosate to a list of cancer-causing chemicals, based on WHO’s findings, under a law known as Proposition 65.


California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment announced in September that it would add glyphosate to the Prop. 65 list in light of the announcement from WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer. On Thursday, Monsanto officially took legal issue with that plan, filing a lawsuit against OEHHA and Lauren Zeise, its acting director, in California state court seeking to block the move.


The lawsuit contends that listing glyphosate essentially outsources regulation to an “unelected, undemocratic, unaccountable, and foreign body,” Reuters reported.


However, Prop. 65, which was passed as a ballot initiative in 1986, looks to scientific research, not federal regulators, when deciding what to include on the list. The language of the law itself reads, “State government agencies have failed to provide them [California residents] with adequate protection” from chemicals that can cause cancer or reproductive harm.


That’s not to say that Prop. 65 is a perfect system, and any observant California resident is accustomed to coming across signs that read “WARNING: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm” throughout daily life. If you’re driving into a parking garage, pumping gas, buying aspirin, or shopping for Chinese-style salted fish, there’s likely a warning posted somewhere. Some 900 chemicals are listed under Prop. 65. Even bacon, which the IARC also recently declared a carcinogen, could soon be labeled.


“Generally speaking, the lead agency in California takes the position that if IARC has listed a chemical as a human carcinogen, it has to be added to the Proposition 65 list,” Bruce Nye, a defense attorney who works with companies on Prop. 65 cases, told Capital Public Radio last year.


Apparently, that precedent did not factor into Monsanto’s legal calculations, which is not all that surprising—the company has vehemently defended glyphosate, which it sells under the brand name Roundup, against the IARC declaration.


“The IARC classification of glyphosate is inconsistent with the findings of regulatory bodies in the United States and around the world, and it is not a sound basis for any regulatory action,” Phil Miller, Monsanto’s vice president of regulatory affairs, told Reuters. One such finding could make California look hypocritical here: The OEHHA concluded in 2007 that glyphosate did not present a cancer risk.

Loss of Honey Bees


By Brad Guhr

Dyck Arboretum of the Plains

We are hearing a lot in the news about the loss of honey bees, which we know is a potential threat to our food systems. But before I address this topic further, allow me to say a bit about insect diversity. The world of flowering plants is diverse with an estimated 352,000 species worldwide, but its diversity pales in comparison with the insect world that is estimated to be 15 times more diverse, with a species count of somewhere around 5.5 million species. Approximately 20,000 new species of insects are discovered each year. It is estimated that we may currently know only about 20% of the world’s existing insects. I share this to say that topics related to insects are complex and that we are far from having all the answers about any topic related to pollinators.


Now, back to honey bees. A 2014 U.S. Department of Agriculture report states that honey bee colony loss has experienced an eight-year average loss of 29.6 percent per year. Recognized factors for this decline include viruses and other pathogens, parasites, problems of nutrition from lack of diversity in pollen sources, and sublethal effects of pesticides combining to weaken and kill bee colonies. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a name that was given about ten years ago to this population loss that is often seen suddenly in bee hives.


Pesticide contamination, and specifically the group of neurotoxic insecticides called neonicotinoids, is coming under increased focus as a possible cause of CCD. The insecticide is applied to the seed coat of many common crops, taken up by plant roots, and translocated to all parts of the plant, including flowers and pollen. Neonicotinoid use in crop protection has increased dramatically in the last 20 years and significant financial investments have been made to implement this effective group of insecticides.


Whether or not neonicotinoids that are showing up in beehives are causing CCD is not something I can answer here. Some European countries think there is a connection and have begun to ban the use of neonicotinoids. The validity of the connection between neonicotinoids and CCD is a complex issue that can only be answered with unbiased, scientific research. If chemical producers feel strongly that neonicotinoids are not contributing to CCD, I think that they would want to be pouring money into reputable research to clear their products from blame.


The viability of natural ecosystems and healthy food systems relies on both native pollinators and honey bee populations. Local farmer and beekeeper, Deborah McSweeney, has invested significant time researching and living this topic and also knows a lot about bee population collapse. She will be the featured presenter next Tuesday evening, January 26 as part of Dyck Arboretum’ Winter Lecture Series. Join us to learn more about this topic.

Look for El Niño surprises during the Great Backyard Bird Count



From The Outdoor Wire



With the El Niño weather phenomenon warming Pacific waters to temperatures matching the highest ever recorded, participants in the 2016 Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), may be in for a few surprises. The 19th annual GBBC is taking place worldwide February 12 through 15. Information gathered and reported online at will help scientists track changes in bird distribution, some of which may be traced to El Niño storms and unusual weather patterns.


“The most recent big El Niño took place during the winter of 1997-98,” says the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Marshall Iliff, a leader of the eBird program which collects worldwide bird counts year-round and also provides the backbone for the GBBC. “The GBBC was launched in February 1998 and was pretty small at first. This will be the first time we’ll have tens of thousands of people doing the count during a whopper El Niño.”

“We’ve seen huge storms in western North America plus an unusually mild and snow-free winter in much of the Northeast,” notes Audubon chief scientist Gary Langham. “And we’re seeing birds showing up in unusual places, such as a Great Kiskadee in South Dakota, as well as unseasonal records like Orchard Oriole and Chestnut-sided Warbler in the Northeast. We’re curious to see what other odd sightings might be recorded by volunteers during this year’s count.”

Though rarities and out-of-range species are exciting, it’s important to keep track of more common birds, too. Many species around the world are in steep decline and tracking changes in distribution and numbers over time is vital to determine if conservation measures are needed. Everyone can play a role.

“Citizen-science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count are springing up all over the world,” says Jon McCracken, national program manager at Bird Studies Canada. “More and more, scientists are relying on observations from the public to help them gather data at a scale they could never achieve before. The GBBC is a great way to get your feet wet: you can count birds for as little as 15 minutes on one day or watch for many hours each day at multiple locations-you choose your level of involvement.”

Learn more about how to take part in the Great Backyard Bird Count at The GBBC is a joint project of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society with  partner Bird Studies Canada and is made possible in part by sponsor Wild Birds Unlimited.

Sign up for women-only workshop to Become an Outdoor Pro


If you’ve ever wanted to pick up a bow and hit a bullseye, pitch a tent without any help, clean a fish you caught, or start a fire in no time flat, sign up for the 2016 Spring Becoming An Outdoors-Woman (BOW) workshop May 13-15. Participants of BOW will spend a weekend away at Camp Wood YMCA in Elmdale learning anything and everything they want to about the outdoors. And the best part is, there’s no pressure.


Offered through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, BOW is designed to teach women outdoor skills in a fun, friendly, and laid-back atmosphere. With 27 different classes to choose from, participants can have fun mixing and matching the topics they learn about.

Cost for the three-day workshop is $235, which includes lodging, meals and class supplies. Three $100 scholarships are available to first-time participants based on financial need.


Early registration will be open to first-time participants through March 27. If spots still remain, past participants may register beginning March 28. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as the spring workshop is limited to 40 participants. To register, visit and click “Education,” then “Becoming an Outdoors Woman.”


For questions, call or email Jami McCabe at (785) 845-5052 or


To learn more, and view pictures of past workshops, visit the BOW Facebook page found under “Becoming an Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”


Youth identifies 225 bird species in Kansas


Cardinals, sparrows, bluejays and doves might be the extent of your bird identification knowledge, and that’s okay, but wouldn’t it be neat to know what kind of bird is plucking those bugs off your bumper? Or what kind of bird is building a nest in your favorite tree out back? For birders, keeping a running tally of the species they identify is an ongoing challenge. And for Sam Schermerhorn, Wamego, who competed in the youth category of the 2015 Kansas Birding Big Year contest, that tally was 225 species observed during the year. Schermerhorn won his category, comparing respectably to the overall winner, Andrew Burnett, who observed 317 species, an outstanding total for the state.


For three years running, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism has hosted a Birding Big Year contest where participants join in a friendly competition to see who can identify the most bird species in a calendar year. The competition is divided into three age categories: youth (17 and under), adult (18-64), and senior (65+), with the adult category being broken down into three skill levels.


The results for 2015 were spectacular:




1st – Matt Gearheart, 288

2nd – Pete Janzen, 262

3rd – E.J. Raynor, 259

4th – Brett Sandercock, 256

5th – Carol Morgan, 231


1st – Andrew Burnett, 317

2nd – Sue Newland, 283

3rd – Malcom Gold, 277

4th – Nick Varvel, 275

5th – Tom Ewert, 245


1st – Don Merz, 287

2nd – Jennifer Hammett, 252

3rd – Todd Becker, 172



1st – Sam Schermerhorn, 225

2nd – Ella Burnett, 194

3rd – Joshua Keating, 142

4th – Jacob Keating, 137

5th – Emma Littich, 91


1st – Mick McHugh, 267

2nd – Dan Larson, 241

3rd – John Row, 208



1st – Andrew Burnett (Erie) - Adult, Intermediate, 317 species

2nd – Matt Gearheart (Lenexa) - Adult, Advanced, 288 species

3rd – Don Merz (Horton) - Adult, Novice, 287 species

4th – Sue Newland (Wakarusa) - Adult, Intermediate, 283 species

5th – Malcom Gold (Overland Park) - Adult, Intermediate, 277 species


Apart from bragging rights, winners of the 2015 contest will receive prizes donated from several sponsors, including Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s, The Coleman Company, Acorn Naturalists of Tustin, Calif., and the KDWPT Education Section.


The winners of each category will also each receive matted and framed original ink drawings of native Kansas bird species, drawn and donated by Dr. Robert Penner of Ellinwood, as well as a signed copy of Penner’ book, Birds of Cheyenne Bottoms. Dr. Penner is the land steward and avian projects coordinator for the Nature Conservancy at Cheyenne Bottoms.


If you’re interested in participating in the 2016 competition, visit for details.


Whether it’s time spent outdoors, or time spent with the ones you love that will get you out the front door, consider making birding an item on your to-do list this year. And take a kid with you.