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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Unit No. 11 of Mined Land Wildlife Area to reopen to fishing April 9

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will reopen Unit No. 11 of the Mined Land Wildlife Area to fishing on Saturday, April 9 at 6 a.m. The unit has been closed to all access in recent months, and closed to fishing for several years, due to an on ongoing reclamation project that has recently been completed.

 

The $184, 233 reclamation project was funded through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment Surface Mine Section in an effort to create safer interior roadways, a new improved parking area, native grass plantings for wildlife, improved angler access and improved fish habitat.

 

For the past three years, KDWPT staff has heavily stocked the strip-mined lake with channel catfish and have implemented a fish feeding program. Other fish that have benefited from the closure include largemouth bass, spotted bass, black and white crappie, red-eared sunfish, bluegill, and green sunfish.  The creel limit on bass and channel catfish is five per day, and channel catfish have a 15-inch minimum length limit and largemouth bass 13 inches to 18 inches long must be released.

 

Unit No. 11 is located a one-quarter mile west of the NW Coalfield Road and 7 Hwy intersection. The entrance to the area is located on the south side of the road.

 

For more information, contact the Mined Land Wildlife Area main office at (620) 231-3173.

 

Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership program grants available

 

The Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) is a part of the National Park Service’s Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which is administered in Kansas by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT). ORLP awards substantial one-to-one matching grants to help urbanized communities provide outdoor recreational opportunities for their residents.

 

The goal of ORLP is to support land acquisition and development projects in neighborhoods or communities that will create or reinvigorate parks and other outdoor recreation spaces in ways that encourage people, especially youth, to connect or re-connect with the outdoors. Priority will be given to projects located in communities that are economically disadvantaged and are underserved in terms of outdoor recreation resources. Put simply, the program strives to help create new opportunities for outdoor recreation where there are a lot of people, particularly children, with no place to play. Selected projects may receive acquisition and development grants of $250,000 to $750,000 each, and planning grants of up to $75,000.

 

To qualify, applicant communities must be named as one of the 497 urbanized areas delineated by the Census Bureau or be a jurisdiction that lies geographically within one of the urbanized areas. An urbanized area is defined as being densely settled with 50,000 or more people.

 

Applications are available at KDWPT’s website, www.ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-info/Grants. For more information on requirements and the application process, call Kati Westerhaus, LWCF grant coordinator, at 620-672-5911. Deadline for submission is April 22.

 

Turkey Permit and Game Tag combos discounted through March 31

 

Now through the end of March, spring turkey hunters can save by buying their combination turkey permit/game tags before the start of the season. Discounts range from $2.50 to $20, depending on the combo purchased. Spring turkey permit/game tag combos are offered at the following rates through March 31:

Resident Youth Combo (2 birds): $12.50 – save $2.50

General Resident Combo (2 birds): $37.50 – save $7.50

Landowner/Tenant Combo (2 birds): $20.00 – save $12.50

Nonresident Youth Combo (2 birds): $22.50 – save $2.50

Nonresident Combo (2 birds): $87.50 – save $7.50

Nonresident Tenant Combo (2 birds): $45.00 – save $20.00

After March 31, hunters must purchase permits separately at the regular price. A turkey permit or game tag is valid for one bearded turkey

 

Any individual who has purchased a spring turkey permit is also eligible for one spring turkey game tag. Spring game tags are valid for Units 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6. Youth permits are valid statewide, including Unit 4.

 

Hunters who drew a Unit 4 (southwest Kansas) spring turkey permit earlier this year may also use their Unit 4 permit in adjacent Units 1, 2 and 5.

 

The 2016 Kansas spring turkey season will kick off with the youth and disabled season April 1- 12, followed by the archery season April 4-12, and regular firearm season April 13-May 31.

 

During the youth/disabled/archery season, hunters 16 and younger and hunters with disabilities may hunt with any legal equipment, including shotguns, bows and crossbows. Youth hunters must be supervised by an adult during the youth season.

 

For more information, consult the 2016 Kansas Spring Turkey Hunting Atlas, or visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Hunting,” then “Turkey.”

 

Commission to consider 2016 deer regulations

 

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct a public meeting in Topeka at the Kansas Historical Society History Center, 6425 SW 6th Ave. on March 24, 2016. The afternoon session of the meeting will begin at 1 p.m. and recess at 5 p.m. The evening session will convene at 6:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend both sessions and time is set aside at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.

 

The afternoon session will begin with Secretary Robin Jennison’s report on the agency and state fiscal status and a review of the 2016 Kansas legislative session. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include reports on the Lesser Prairie Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan, iSportsman daily permit program, a new Walleye Initiative, commercial guiding on public lands, and potential changes to threatened and endangered species regulations.

 

The afternoon will conclude with a Workshop Session that will cover 2016 migratory bird seasons and regulations. Waterfowl hunting regulations are usually discussed at the June and August meetings. However, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has changed its regulation cycle and released waterfowl regulation frameworks for the 2016 seasons in December. Waterfowl regulations and seasons will be voted on at the Commission’s April meeting. Deer hunting regulations on Fort Riley will also be discussed during the March Workshop Session.

The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Public Hearing. Items to be discussed and voted on by the Commission include the Public Lands Regulations reference document, as well as regulations for antelope, elk and deer hunting. Secretary’s Orders for deer permit quotas will also be presented.

 

Time will be available during 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., March 25, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the March 24 meeting agenda and Briefing Book can be downloaded from the KDWPT website: http://ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Upcoming-Commission-Meetings

 

Live video and audio streaming of the meeting will be available at 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.

 

Low doses of pesticides found to harm wild bees

 

Researchers discover that bumblebees feed on less nutritious flowers after being exposed to small amounts of a neonicotinoid insecticide

 

Emily J. Gertz

TakePart

 

As bee colonies have continued to collapse around the world, wild bees have received less attention than their domesticated cousins.

 

But wild bees are important pollinators for both agricultural crops and wild plants, and a new study suggests they can be harmed by the same pesticides affecting honeybee colonies.

 

The study is the first to look at how small amounts of neonicotinoid pesticides affect bees as they feed on wildflowers, said Nigel Raine, an ecologist at the University of Guelph in Canada who focuses on pollinator conservation.

 

Bumblebees had a harder time foraging for nectar and pollen from wildflowers after being exposed to a sublethal 10 parts per billion concentration of a widely used neonicotinoid insecticide called thiamethoxam, according to the research, which was published Monday in the journal Functional Ecology.

 

The dosage was based on the pesticide levels bees would encounter on or near farms where neonics are used.

 

A recent study in Poland found that bees from collapsed colonies carried low-level residues of dozens of pesticides, including neonics.

 

Raine and ecologist Dara Stanley conducted the research while both were at the Royal Holloway University of London.

 

“The most significant thing we found was that the pesticide-treated bees chose different flowers among two species we know bumblebees really like and can usually handle,” said Raine.

 

Bees exposed to thiamethoxam foraged more often from bird’s foot trefoil than from white clover, a more sugar- and amino-acid-packed wildflower.

 

All things being equal, you would expect the bees to prefer the more nutritious flower,” said Raine.

 

The two groups of bees also showed different learning capacities. “The untreated bees took significantly fewer visits to learn how to handle the same wildflowers successfully compared to the pesticide-treated bees,” Raine said.

 

If exposure to neonics changes how bees forage from wildflowers, it could also change how they handle flowering food crops. “There are more and more studies suggesting that the diversity of visitors to crops is important, and that the visits by these wild pollinators are undervalued economically and practically,” Raine said.

 

He said the study’s findings were consistent with recent research showing that bees were less effective at pollinating apple trees after being exposed to low concentrations of pesticides.

Wild plant biodiversity is also at risk.

 

“Most people think of honeybees in a hive—it’s about honey production and commercial pollination,” Raine said. “We need to start looking at solitary bees, which make up the vast number of bees, and start looking at other pollinators.”

 

Emily J. Gertz is an associate editor for environment and wildlife at TakePart.

The right to hunt, fish and trap heads to November ballot

 

On March 17th, House Concurrent Resolution 5008, the Right to Hunt, Fish and Trap Wildlife, was unanimously passed by the Kansas Senate—meaning, this November, Kansans will have the opportunity to vote on this state constitutional amendment to create permanent protections for sportsmen and conservation.  The Right to Hunt, Fish and Trap Wildlife ensures that wildlife conservation and management decisions continue to be based on sound science in order to preserve Kansas’ hunting heritage for generations to come and to protect it against future attacks from well-funded, anti-hunting organizations.

 

HCR 5008 proposes an amendment to the Kansas Constitution that will affirm that it is a right of the public to hunt, fish, and trap as such:

 

The people have the right to hunt, fish and trap, including by the use of traditional methods, subject to reasonable laws and regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management and that preserve the future of hunting and fishing. Public hunting and fishing shall be a preferred means of managing and controlling wildlife. This section shall not be construed to modify any provision of law relating to trespass, property rights or water resources.

 

Hunting, fishing, and trapping are not only cherished American traditions, but paired with science, are an integral part of wildlife management and conservation.  This year alone, Kansas received $12,833,780 of Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Funds thanks to

excise taxes paid by Kansas sportsmen and women on firearms, ammunition and archery equipment.  Pittman-Robertson funds fuel important conservation efforts such as the acquisition and improvement of wildlife habitat, wildlife species introduction, wildlife research, public access programs, and hunter education programs.  Furthermore, sportsmen and women are an essential part of the Kansas economy.  According to the latest data, they spend more than $629 million annually and support 9,331 jobs.

 

Misguided extremists have been trying for decades to incrementally or outright ban hunting, fishing, and trapping.  Now is the time to safeguard your outdoor heritage.

Kick off Spring with 21 crazy fun ideas for you and your kids

 

Try these clever, creative, cool, and crafty ways to get the season going

 

By Mary Sears

Highlights for Children

Spring has sprung. Somewhere birds are chirping. Is it still chilly in your neck of the woods? Try these activities and the temperature won’t matter.

 

  1. Spruce up your footwear. Decorate plain white sneaks. Using paint pens, doodle your own designs or paint blue skies, wispy clouds, green trees, and lavender flowers.

 

  1. Watch nature in action. Tour your town or an area park looking for budding leaves, early blooms, and robins.

 

  1. Fashion a kids-only clubhouse with blankets tossed over a circle of lawn chairs. Serve lunch outside.

 

  1. Tie-dye T-shirts in soft pastels or wild primary colors.

 

  1. Collect rocks, paint them sky blue, leaf green, sun yellow, and cloud white. Display them indoors on the kitchen table, or outdoors around your mailbox or ringing a favorite tree.

 

  1. Tap your inner forester. Collect leaves from local trees, identify them, and make rubbings.

 

  1. Hang a bird feeder. Then keep it stocked with goodies for feathered guests.

 

  1. Spring clean to music to finish faster. Reduce your clutter by 30 odds and ends.

 

  1. Go fake camping. Grill veggie or turkey burgers outdoors, sing songs, and feast on s’mores. Sleep inside in a makeshift tent, or a sleeping bag, on the family room, living room, or basement floor.

 

  1. Learn birdcalls online. Instead of words, use your personal chirps to say hi to other family members.

 

  1. Play catch with water balloons (outside) . . . and keep a stack of beach towels handy for the inevitable explosions.

 

  1. Host a tea party outside on a blanket. Serve Rice Krispies treats in pastel colors (dye the marshmallows with a few drops of food coloring).

 

  1. Make a spring bouquet with tissue-paper flowers. Fold tissue paper back and forth in a fan effect; fold in half and secure with a chenille-stick ‘stem.’

 

  1. Anticipate the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer. Hose down your swing set, hammock, or porch swing now.

 

  1. Fly a kite, row a boat, or take up archery.

 

  1. Support your local Little League teams. Attend their games, wear the team colors, and donate oranges and water as refreshments.

 

  1. Decorate planters, using pinwheels instead of flowers, for an instant garden—no watering necessary!

 

  1. Organize a neighborhood stroller-wagon-bicycle parade on a Saturday morning. All wheels welcome!

 

  1. Satisfy a sweet tooth. Make springtime sundaes with vanilla ice cream, pastel sprinkles, and lots of whipped cream.

 

  1. Do your community a favor. Pick up trash in the park or join forces with your neighbors on spring clean-up day.

 

  1. Celebrate spring as they do in other cultures. The Russians eat pancakes; the Swedes light bonfires; the Japanese picnic when the cherry blossoms bloom. You can, too!

 

Mary Sears writes about homes, gardens, and families. She and her husband have one daughter

Kansas reaches $1 million in state grants to Canada habitat program


Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KWPT) was recognized March 18th for its cumulative $1 million in contributions supporting wetlands protection and restoration on the Canadian breeding grounds, which are important to Kansas’ waterfowl populations. The ceremony took place at the 81st North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference in Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Ducks Unlimited is very pleased to recognize Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism for its commitment to making wise investments in habitat important to the birds that migrate through Kansas each year,” said Paul Schmidt, DU chief conservation officer.

For 25 years, Kansas has helped fund nesting habitat in prairie Canada through the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ (AFWA) State Contributions to Canada program.

“Conserving this vital habitat takes state and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and others working collaboratively to ensure waterfowl populations are there for future generations,” said KWPT Assistant Secretary Keith Sexson. “The science tells us that waterfowl predominantly nest in Canada, so we need to make our investment in habitat conservation there.”

The AFWA program, which funds North American Waterfowl Management Plan habitat projects in Canada, started in 1965 as one of the very first international public/private partnerships to support migratory bird conservation and is funded primarily by hunting license sales. Through this program, states help fund long-term partnerships that conserve and restore breeding habitat for waterfowl that migrate through, and winter in, their own states.

“The importance of state contributions to Canadian habitat conservation and restoration projects cannot be overstated,” said Pat Kehoe, DU Canada’s director of international partnerships. “Ducks Unlimited’s programs in the U.S. and Canada are consistent with the North American Waterfowl Management Plan, and our prairie programs are structured to protect native, highly productive habitat while also improving waterfowl production in working agricultural landscapes.”

As with all states that contribute to the program through Ducks Unlimited, Kansas’ contribution will be matched by DU and funds from the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. Habitat conservation efforts focus on habitats important to waterfowl migrating through Kansas each spring and fall.

“We are very pleased to have Kansas as a partner in waterfowl habitat conservation in Canada,” Schmidt added. “They have reached the Gold Award level, and their commitment to wetland conservation continues to build.” 

Small towns Readers’ Choice semi-finalists named

 

In January, KANSAS! Magazine asked readers to nominate their favorite small town for the second annual Readers’ Choice edition. Over the last two months, entries have poured in from across the nation, and 129 communities were nominated.

 

The 15 small towns with the most nominations have been named as semi-finalists, and they are Atwood, Chapman, Clearwater, Council Grove, Greensburg, Inman, Lecompton, Lindsborg, Little River, Lucas, Marysville, Norton, Scott City, Seneca, and Wamego.

 

To vote for the finalists, visit KANSAS! magazine’s Facebook page and click the Vote tab, or go to www.kansasmag.com. Votes can be entered once daily through May 31st. The final five small towns will be unveiled with the winter issue of KANSAS! in November.

KDWPT and KS BASS Nation recognized for fish habitat improvements

 

The Kansas BASS Nation (KBN) has been working with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism (KDWPT) to place artificial fish attractors in local waters in an effort to improve fish habitat and increase angler success. KBN Conservation Director Jesse Jordan and KDWPT Fisheries program specialist David Breth, who oversee the program, set a goal to assemble and place 300 PVC and tubing structures called “Georgia Cubes” in 2015. They not only met that goal, but are currently working towards tripling that number. Three-hundred additional cubes are already on the ground and will be placed in the coming months.

 

“Local B.A.S.S. clubs have been instrumental in this project, assembling the cubes from kits onsite, and then placing them using their own boats and GPS units,” Breth said. “They’ve been a great help.” In addition to the KBN, KDWPT has also received assistance from The Bass Federation and several local organizations throughout the state.

 

Not only have their efforts caught the attention of anglers, some of whom have already reported catching largemouth bass near the structures, but they’ve also garnered national recognition from

The Berkley Conservation Institute (BCI), of Berkley Fishing. On March 5, Jordan accepted an award from BCI on behalf of KBN and their partnership with KDWPT.

 

Modeled after a design originally implemented by the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, the cube-like structures are comprised of a four-foot-by-four-foot-by-three-foot PVC frame. This is woven with more than 50 feet of corrugated pipe, maximizing surface area for the growth of periphyton, a mix of algae, fungi and bacteria, which attracts invertebrates and small fish, which then draw bass and other predator species. Not only are the cubes cost-effective, but they last more than three times longer than natural brush piles; and based on their use in other states, attract as many fish as natural cover without affecting water quality.

 

Kansas licenses fees and federal funds from the Sport Fish Restoration Program have financed the components used to assemble the cubes, but Breth said that without the help of Kansas B.A.S.S. Nation affiliated clubs, the placement process would be much slower.

 

To date, cubes have been added to Milford, Wilson, Melvern, Perry, El Dorado, Tuttle Creek, and Horsethief reservoirs; as well as Butler, Clark, Pottawatomie No. 1, Pottawatomie No. 2, and Meade state fishing lakes. They have also been placed in Yates Center’s South Owl and Eureka City lakes. Fisheries field staff will collect sonar and video images on how fish populations and species are using the cubes in relation to natural structures

 

For information on how to locate these attractors, as well as access locations of natural structures, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Fishing,” then “Where to Fish in Kansas.”