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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Elk and Either-species deer permit applications due July 8

 

The application period for two of Kansas’ most coveted big game permits is open and will close at midnight on July 8, 2016. Kansas residents are eligible to apply online for the 10 Any-elk permits and 15 Antlerless-only Elk permits allocated for Units 2 and 3 (Unit 2 includes Ft. Riley). And resident hunters who want to hunt mule deer with a firearm can apply for limited Either-species Deer permits valid in the East and West Either-species zones. A hunter who does not wish to hunt this year may purchase a preference point that will count toward a firearm Either-species/Either-sex deer permit in a future drawing or a bonus point for limited elk permits. Unsuccessful applicants automatically receive preference or bonus points.

 

For more information on season dates and to make application, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click on “Hunting,” then “Applications and Fees,” or call (620) 672-0728.

 

PERMIT FEES

Deer Firearm Either-species/Either-sex permit (white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn): General Resident – $52.50; Resident Landowner/Tenant – $32.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger): $22.50; Nonresident Tenant – $97.50 Preference Point – $11.50

 

Elk Firearm Either-sex: General Resident – $302.50; Landowner/Tenant – $152.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger) – $127.50; Nonresident Tenant – $152.50.

Elk (antlerless): General Resident – $152.50; Landowner/Tenant – $77.50; Resident Youth (15 and younger) – $52.50; Nonresident tenant – $77.50

 

The fee to apply for an elk permit or purchase a bonus point is $12.81.

Be safe on the water

 

Summer fun at Kansas state parks usually means being near, in or on the water. Twenty-three of our 26 state parks offer convenient access to lakes, reservoirs and rivers, providing a great way to enjoy the outdoors and beat the heat. However, fun on the water requires some common-sense safety precautions.

 

Remember that state park beaches do not have lifeguards. Parents should keep a close eye on youngsters and it’s a good idea to strap little ones into a properly-fitting life jacket. A toddler can disappear in an instant on a crowded beach. Older kids love to play on inflatable water toys but care must be exercised under windy conditions. A stiff Kansas wind blowing out from the beach can sweep floaters away from shore surprisingly fast.

 

Over the holiday weekend, reservoirs will be busy with pleasure boaters, skiers, personal watercraft, sail boats and anglers. Before boaters get to the ramp, they should be familiar with boating regulations and safety requirements, especially those concerning life jackets. Children age 12 and younger must wear a properly-fitting life jacket while on the boat, and there must be a serviceable life jacket readily accessible for everyone older than 12 onboard. The best safety precaution is to have everyone wear a life jacket while onboard. For more information on boating safety and regulations visit www.ksoutdoors.com.

 

While boating accidents aren’t common on Kansas waters, they do have a common theme: alcohol. Unfortunately, many boaters associate being on the water with drinking alcohol, and most boating accidents are alcohol related. Sun, waves and heat can exacerbate the effect of alcohol on judgment and coordination. Anyone planning on driving a boat should know that boating under the influence (BUI) is against the law. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism boating officers can administer sobriety checks with breathalyzers. Anyone operating a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or greater will receive a citation and lose boating privileges. To learn more about BUI enforcement, watch this video: http://ksoutdoors.com/Boating/Boating-Legally/Alcohol-and-Boating

 

Watching the weather forecast should also be part of preparing for a boating outing. Summer thunderstorms or high winds can make boating hazardous. Knowing the forecast and using a smartphone for weather updates while at the lake could prevent being caught in a sudden storm miles from a boat ramp.

 

Water recreation at Kansas state parks is safe and getting safer, but there is always some risk. However, if you make just a few precautions routine, you can ensure that your family has fun and stays safe.

Register for youth and disabled hunter deer hunt at Tuttle Creek

 

Youth and disabled hunters have until July 21 to apply for an assisted deer hunt at Tuttle Creek Lake. This event is limited to 25 hunters. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Riley County Fish and Game Association and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Tuttle Creek Lake are partnering to conduct the 2016 Tuttle Creek Youth/Disabled Assisted Deer Hunt on Sept. 10-11. The hunt is free and open to resident youth ages 11-16 and anyone with a certified disability interested in hunting Kansas whitetails.

 

An experienced hunting guide will assist each participant, and hunters will be provided with accessible hunting blinds, transportation to prime field locations and hunter orange hats and vests. Area meat lockers will provide basic processing of harvested deer free of charge. Applicants will be notified following the July 21 deadline. All hunters must have a deer permit and those ages 16-74 must also have a Kansas hunting license.

 

Successful applicants are required to attend a firearm safety presentation and firearm sight-in at the Fancy Creek Shooting Range, Sunday, Aug. 21 at 4 p.m. Scholarship assistance for the purchase of licenses and permits is available, and rifles and ammunition are also available on request.

 

For more information, call Steve Prockish, Tuttle Creek Lake natural resource specialist at 785-539-8511, ext. 3167, or Stephen.E.Prockish@usace.army.mil.

 

This event is made possible by Friends of Fancy Creek Range, Kansas City Chapter of Safari Club International, Kansas State Rifle Association and the Tuttle Creek Lake Association.

Conservation easements conserve Flint Hills vistas, wildlife

 

The Nature Conservancy of Kansas (TNC) has protected 3,285 acres of Flint Hills tallgrass native prairie with a conservation easement in Chase and Lyon counties. The landowners, Bill and Maggie Haw of Shawnee Mission, are firm believers in conservation easements, having previously donated to TNC easements on other land they own and manage in the Flint Hills. This recent easement brings their total land protection contribution to more than 17,000 acres, including 16 scenic miles of highway frontage along the Kansas Turnpike (I-35) and the Flint Hills National Scenic Byway (K-177).

Tallgrass prairie is the most altered major habitat type in North America in terms of acres lost. Yet, in Kansas, a significant swath of tallgrass prairie – the Flint Hills –remains intact. TNC views conservation easements as a golden opportunity to help landowners conserve this intact and fully functioning tallgrass prairie ecosystem.

A conservation easement is a legally recorded agreement between the granting landowner and a land trust. The agreement permanently restricts uses of the property that would damage its conservation values. Conservation easements do not interfere with traditional uses of the land, such as grazing and prescribed fire, but it may restrict incompatible activities, including many types of development. Public access is generally not required by a conservation easement, and, like all other easement provisions, it must be agreed to by the landowner. An eased property may be sold, transferred or inherited, and the easement conditions transfer to each subsequent landowner.

“By placing these acres under the protection of a conservation easement, the property’s ranching legacy, as well as its economic and ecological integrity, will endure,” said Brian Obermeyer, director of the TNC’s Flint Hills Initiative.

“Maggie and I are committed to the idea of preserving not only the pristine views but also the wonderful cattle culture of this area where generations of same-family cowboy caretakers have learned to operate the best yearling grazing operations in the world,” said Bill Haw. “It is the perfect convergence of an important food-producing activity that maintains the ecosystem, which developed with bison grazing over thousands of years. The Nature Conservancy is the perfect partner to recognize and enforce those two compatible goals for many generations to come.”

The recent Haw easement takes TNC over the 100,000-acres-preserved mark in Kansas.

For more information about The Nature Conservancy and conservation easements, contact Shelby Stacy at sstacy@tnc.org or (785) 233-4400.

From the Annual Meeting straight to Congress

The following is correspondence NWF delegates received shortly after returning from the NWF Annual Meeting held June 16-18 at the YMCA of the Rockies at Estes Park, Colorado. It summarizes what was accomplished at the meeting.

 

It was great seeing so many of you at the National Wildlife Federation Annual Meeting in Colorado last week – what an amazing meeting, from the caucuses to the breakout sessions to the incredible presentations to the major decisions you made to strengthen our Federation and align us together – a new vision statement, bylaws changes, resolutions, election of the Federation Board of Directors’ Chair-Elect, and more. I’ve never been to an Annual Meeting where the affiliates worked harder, got more done and had more impact. As Alabama Wildlife Federation’s Rebecca Pritchett told us, “Our Federation is back!”

 

For those of you who couldn’t make it, I’ll do a quick recap below – but first I wanted to share a remarkable development.

 

The affiliates on Saturday passed a resolution calling for Congress to enact a wildlife funding bill of at least $1.3 billion annually. Tomorrow – Thursday, five days later (drum roll, please) — Representatives Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Don Young (R-AK) will introduce a wildlife funding bill for $1.3 billion annually.

 

WOW.

 

All that didn’t happen overnight, of course, and many affiliates have been working with the national staff for the last few months to line this up. But still – wow. Talk about resolutions that matter. And that was just one of twelve.

 

The others are equally impressive and we expect them to be similarly impactful. The affiliates passed a resolution calling for expanding Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in Hawai’i to become the largest national marine monument ever – and thanks to the work of the Conservation Council of Hawai’i, we expect President Obama to take action on that soon. Last Thursday, affiliates held a news conference at the start of the Annual Meeting calling for state and federal lawmakers to keep public lands in public hands; two days later the affiliates passed a resolution condemning the Malheur occupation and calling for support of law enforcement. Ten affiliates and the national organization debuted their new public lands short film entitled “This Land is Your Land” (soon to be a box office sensation!). We continue to battle attempts at public lands seizures in state legislatures and in Congress and we continue to win.  In 2016 alone, we’ve beaten back 13 bills and demonstrated unwavering opposition to transfer bills in Congress.

Those are just a few of the breaking issues our Federation addressed through our resolutions at the Annual Meeting. We have a news release link below that describes all the resolutions as well as the other major events at the AM. (The links to the resolutions in the news release aren’t live yet; in another day or so they will be and you can click them then to get to the full text of the final resolutions).

 

Here are a few more highlights of the Annual Meeting:

 

The affiliates’ unanimous adoption of a new We Envision statement that calls on our Federation to reverse the species decline in the U.S., mobilize a conservation army of 75 million people, and build a nationwide public that supports a conservation ethic. Through the general session and an overflow breakout session, the affiliates made numerous changes to improve the initial draft;

 

The affiliates’ approval of amendments to the Federation’s bylaws, including insertion of last year’s We Believe statement into the Bylaws as a preamble, and a new mission statement: “Uniting all Americans to ensure wildlife thrives in a rapidly changing world.” The complete bylaws amendment can be found on the Annual Meeting website; the proposed bylaws on the website were adopted without changes.

 

The affiliates’ election of NWF’s Board of Directors and the Board’s Chair-Elect, Kathy Hadley of the Montana Wildlife Federation. Kathy and the other remaining candidate, Board member Nicole Wood, engaged in a spirited, positive and constructive campaign; we are lucky they have chosen our Federation in which to invest their inspiring talents, expertise and passion.

 

Exceptional, moving, and informative presentations from Brenda Richardson on the Washington, D.C. affiliate Earth Conservation Corps’ work to save both at-risk young adults and the Anacostia River (as featured on a “60-Minutes” TV episode); Jason Baldes on the return of sacred bison to Eastern Shashone and other tribal lands; and Vanessa Braided Hair, co-founder of Eco-Cheyenne. You’ll be able to see these presentations in their entirety on the NWF website soon.

 

Awards to deserving individuals and organizations, including the staff of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge for building bridges to the local community that withstood the armed occupation of the Refuge, and our Affiliate of the Year, the Oregon’s Association of Northwest Steelheaders.

Conservation priority caucuses that affiliates used to map out campaigns and joint actions on water, public lands, captive cervids, climate and energy, youth engagement, conservation funding and sportsmen’s issues;

 

Breakout sessions that covered topics ranging from diversity/equity/inclusion to fundraising to advocacy campaigns; and

 

A whirlwind speech by Collin, delivered at warp speed without notes, that described the affiliate’s and NWF’s work in each one of the 52 states and territories, the state of national policy, and our Federation’s vision, and brought all of us to our feet – in just 45 minutes. That too will be available online, and I’d recommend sticking close to the “pause” button to make sure you can take it all in.

 

There’s so much more – the beautiful setting, a wild elk calf kicking a soccer ball, Doug Inkley on a zipline — but this email is long enough. Thank you for your hard work, passion, and commitment to our Federation. You give us hope for wildlife.

 

Here’s the news release that includes a summary of all the resolutions:

 

http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/Media-Center/News-by-Topic/General-NWF/2016/06-21-16-NWF-Commits-to-New-Vision-For-Wildlife-Conservation-80th-Annual-Meeting.aspx

 

Andy Buchsbaum

NWF VP of Conservation Action

WAFWA Kansas land acquisition protects Lesser Prairie-chicken habitat

 

The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has finalized the purchase of approximately 30,000 acres of high-quality lesser prairie-chicken habitat in southwest Kansas. The permanent protection and long-term conservation of lesser prairie-chicken habitat is an important goal of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan. Funding for this acquisition comes from the voluntary contributions of industry partners that are enrolled in the range-wide plan.

“The acquisition of Sunview Ranch is a significant positive development to conserve the lesser prairie-chicken,” said Alexa Sandoval, director of the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish and chairman of the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative Council. “This transaction involved a willing seller of land that contains prime lesser prairie-chicken habitat and furthers our goal of providing a stronghold of at least 25,000 acres in each of the ecoregions where the lesser prairie-chicken is still found. We commend all of our partners for their continued commitment to conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken.”

            The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. It was developed to ensure conservation of the lesser prairie-chicken through voluntary cooperation by landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

            The Sunview Ranch (formerly Tate Ranch) is in the sand sagebrush ecoregion, which covers portions of Kansas, Colorado and Oklahoma and once contained the highest density of lesser prairie-chickens in the country. The dominant vegetation on rangelands in the region is sand sagebrush, which is a native shrub typically associated with deep sandy soils in dune landscapes. Livestock grazing is the primary land use on rangeland throughout the sand sagebrush region, and through grazing leases, it will continue to be used as a management tool on the Sunview Ranch.

            “This property is one of the largest remaining contiguous tracts of sand sagebrush prairie in the region,” said Jim Pitman, Conservation Delivery Director for WAFWA. “Conserving this property in perpetuity ensures that it will remain a working ranch and continue to provide habitat for the lesser prairie-chicken in the portion of its range where the population has declined the most.”

            For more information, contact Bill Van Pelt at (602) 717-5066 or bill.vanpelt@wafwa.org, or visit www.wafwa.org.

Zebra Mussels found In Hillsdale Reservoir

 

The presence of invasive zebra mussels has been confirmed in Hillsdale Reservoir in Miami County. On Wednesday, June 15, an alert angler found an adult zebra mussel at the Wade Branch of the reservoir and took it to the Hillsdale State Park Office. Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) aquatic nuisance species staff subsequently found more zebra mussels on rocks and trees in the same area. The population appears to be low density at this time, however, there is no known method to completely rid a lake of zebra mussels.

 

“Since zebra mussel larvae, or veligers, are microscopic and undetectable to the naked eye, all users of Kansas lakes need to be aware that transfer of water between lakes can lead to further infestations,” said Jeff Koch, KDWPT Aquatic Research Biologist.

 

Prevention is the best way to avoid spreading Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS). They often travel by “hitchhiking” with unsuspecting lake-goers. “We encourage anyone who recreates on Kansas lakes to clean, drain, and dry their boats and equipment before using another lake. Additionally, don’t transfer lake water or live fish into another body of water, as this is a main transport vector of all aquatic nuisance species,” Koch added.

 

Hillsdale Reservoir and Bull Creek from the reservoir south to the Marais des Cygnes River will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the reservoir. Live fish may not be transported from ANS-designated waters.

 

The sharp-shelled zebra mussels attach to solid objects, so lake-goers should be careful when handling mussel-encrusted objects and when grabbing an underwater object when they can’t see what their hands may be grasping. Visitors should protect their feet when walking on underwater or shoreline rocks.

 

Zebra mussels are just one of the non-native aquatic species that threaten our waters and native wildlife. After using any body of water, people must remember to follow regulations and precautions that will prevent their spread:

▪ Clean, drain and dry boats and equipment between uses

▪ Use wild-caught bait only in the lake or pool where it was caught

▪ Do not move live fish from waters infested with zebra mussels or other aquatic nuisance species

▪ Drain livewells and bilges and remove drain plugs from all vessels prior to transport from any Kansas water on a public highway

 

For more information, to report the presence of a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit ProtectKSWaters.org.

 

For information about Hillsdale Reservoir, visit www.ksoutdoors.com.

Ladies, Become an Outdoors Woman in just one weekend

 

Long gone are the days where you simply “like” other women’s Facebook posts of their latest catches, never posting your own. Gawking at the gals of the outdoor hunting shows with admiration? A thing of the past. Never again will you peruse the hiking boots section unsure of what to get. This year is the year you become outdoorsy. This is the year you sign up for the Becoming An Outdoors Woman (BOW) workshop, Sept. 16-18 at the Rock Springs 4-H Center in Junction City.

 

Each spring and fall, the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism hosts a women-only workshop designed to give ladies age 18 and older a crash-course in outdoor life. BOW classes are taught by friendly and experienced instructors who pride themselves on providing a low-pressure atmosphere, and the best part is, participants can pick and choose which classes they attend. Sessions are provided on a multitude of topics, including archery, fly fishing, camping, rifle shooting, wild game cooking, canoeing, outdoor photography, geocaching, wilderness survival, and more.

 

The cost to attend is $235 per participant and includes seven meals, two nights of lodging, instruction, supplies, and use of equipment. Registration will be open to first-time participants only through July 10. After July 10, the registration period will be open to all.

 

No experience is necessary to attend. Three $100 scholarships are available for first-time participants, based on financial need.

 

For more information, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Education,” then “Becoming an Outdoor Woman,” or visit the BOW Facebook page at “Becoming An Outdoors Woman KANSAS.”

Great Outdoors Day celebration and Governor’s Campout coming up

 

A Great Outdoors Day celebration and the Governor’s Campout are set for Saturday, June 18 at El Dorado State Park, Walnut River Amphitheater Area. Governor Brownback is not scheduled to attend either event.

 

Great Outdoors Day is free and open to the public and will be celebrated from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. See schedule below. There will be free activities and displays, including archery shooting, rescue boat demonstrations, the popular freshwater fish traveling aquarium, a demonstration by the Kansas Game Wardens K-9 unit and more.

 

The Governor’s Campout requires pre-registration and begins at 4:30 p.m. More activities are planned for the campers, including a live animal presentation, supper, a bison display, campfire lighting and camp stories and songs. Lights out is at 10:00 p.m. The campout concludes Sunday morning, June 19, after a hearty breakfast and closing ceremony with door prizes.

 

Interested families can pre-register for the campout by contacting Kati Westerhaus at 620-672-0740 or by email at kati.westerhaus@ksoutdoors.com. See schedule below.

 

Sponsoring participants include Coleman Factory Outlet, Kansas Golf and Turf, Sutherlands, Bicycle X-change, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Boys and Girl Scouts, Shady Creek Sales, John K. Fisher, Cabela’s, Butler County Extension Office and 4-H, the National Wild Turkey Federations, Butler County Rescue and EMS and Kansas Wildscape.

 

Saturday June 18th

 

Great Outdoors Day:

10:00 – 5:00    Free Activities & Displays

 

Boat displays                                                   Camper displays

Sutherlands; outdoor gear                                Water Safety US Army Corps

Cabela’s                                                           Air Gun shooting

Petting Zoo Four Points Ranch                         Catch a Crawdad KDWPT

Butler CO Rescue Boat demonstrations                       Tree ID Ks Forest Service

Archery Shooting                                             Horse Rides

K9 demo KDWPT                                           Fishing Clinic

Butler Co DARE                                              Fly a kite

Kayak paddling                                                           KDWPT Traveling Aquarium

Kansas Wildlifer Challenge                             LifeTeam Helicopter (at 11:00 am)

Skins and Skulls Wildlife ID                            Touch a Boat KDWPT boat

Bat Education                                                  Catch a Bug

 

 

Governor’s Campout:  (PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED)

4:30-5:30         Camper Check-in, Yard Games, Build a First Aid Kit, Pictures with Smokey

Bear

5:30                 Campers’ Welcome Ceremony

6:00                 Supper, and National Park Bison display

7:15                 Live Animal Presentation

8:00                 Campfire lighting

8:30                 Cowboy Campfire Stories and Songs

9:30                 Star Gazing (weather permitting)

10:00               Lights Out

 

Sunday June 19th

 

7:00                 Wake up

7:30                 Breakfast

8:30                 Campsite Pack-up

9:00                 Closing Ceremony- certificates, door prizes, etc.

KAWS celebrates 20 years of wetland conservation in Kansas

 

Last month, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) celebrated its 20th anniversary. Since its inception in 1996, KAWS has been collaborating with local communities, conservation organizations, wildlife agencies and local governments to promote conservation of the streams, riparian areas, playas and prairies of Kansas. They have brought together a broad range of partners—including Ducks Unlimited, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, Kansas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Unit, Kansas Water Office, The Nature Conservancy, University of Kansas, and Playa Lakes Joint Venture—to work on water and wildlife issues in Kansas.

 

“It is so gratifying to help via a capacity grant and then watch as groups like KAWS flourish into go-to partners on the landscape,” says PLJV Coordinator Mike Carter. “We wish KAWS another 20 years of successful wetland conservation!”

 

In 2002, KAWS received a six-year capacity grant from PLJV to help increase their ongoing ability to develop and deliver habitat conservation. The PLJV Capacity Grant Program is designed to remove roadblocks to habitat conservation— and can help new organizations get on their feet and move beyond current capabilities—rather than directly support any particular habitat project. During the grant period, KAWS influenced the conservation or restoration of about 5,000 wetland acres. A second six-year grant, which started in 2008, provided funding for a wetland coordinator who focused on playa conservation. Over the lifespan of the second agreement, nearly 2,500 acres of wetlands and buffer were restored or protected, and the number of acres have continued to increase in the years since the grant ended.

 

KAWS continues to build its playa conservation program under the leadership of Joe Kramer, who took on the wetland coordinator position in January 2015. Beginning next year, the organization will host an annual Playa Symposium, featuring tours of playas and demonstrations of innovative projects that integrate playas and native buffers into profitable yet ecological systems.

 

“Our priority is to set the stage with knowledge, innovation, entrepreneurship and local leadership,” says KAWS Executive Director Jeff Neel. “By working with our partners and local landowners, we hope to achieve ecological connectivity of playas that benefit migratory birds, wildlife ecology and recharge potential for the Ogallala while supporting the bottom lines and economies of farms and ranches.”

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