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Daily Archives: June 22, 2016

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.”