Monthly Archives: September 2016

Flint Hills stream the subject of holistic watershed management plan


Funding from Kingsbury Family Foundation supports conservation research


A project to develop and implement a holistic watershed management plan for a heritage stream in the Flint Hills recently received additional funding support from the Kingsbury Foundation in Kansas.  The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams (KAWS) has been working through partnerships for a decade to build technology that can find and show the largest issues affecting our streams, rivers, wetlands and water bodies.


The project has been ongoing, but the new funding will assist with further research and validation of the existing tools, which include GIS, online mapping and flood analysis. This phase of the project will be completed by the end of 2018.  Scientists at KAWS will be looking at stream bank erosion, barriers to fish migration, watershed health and floodplain connectivity in the Cottonwood River Basin, but the resulting tools can eventually be used across the entire state.


“During rain events and flooding, the water runs off the land and into our water supply - taking with it small pieces of the way we use our lands,” said Jeff Neel, Director of Applied Research and Restoration at KAWS. “By addressing the cause of the problems - land management that causes more runoff as opposed to increased infiltration and retention - rather than the result, we can more effectively address potential issues before they start, increase baseflow during droughts and minimize ongoing problems before they get worse.” 


KAWS will be using these tools to present easy-to-understand results and planning options to communities and landowners to help preserve habitat and support biodiversity across the state. Assessments of streams, wetlands and adjacent (riparian) areas will also be used as a part of this project.


The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization working to achieve a healthy balance of economics, conservation and community to support sustainability of the natural ecosystems and working lands of Kansas.


The Kingsbury Family Foundation funds conservation research and related efforts in Kansas. By limiting the scope of philanthropic giving, the Kingsbury Family Foundation has made a significant impact on conservation in the state. Since its inception in 2001, the Foundation has funded research and conservation efforts related to water quality, habitat quality, biodiversity, and species preservation throughout the state.  

Trail run at Wilson’s Switchgrass Trail Oct. 2


Slide on some shorts, lace up your shoes, and throw on a hat because you’re invited to the “Wild Within You” trail run Oct. 2 at Wilson State Park. Held on Wilson’s famous Switchgrass Trail, runners of all skill levels can participate in either a 5k, 30k, or 50k race (with a team relay option). Day-of registration will open at 8 a.m., followed by a brief racer meeting at 8:45 a.m. The race starts at 9 a.m.

Runners will be met by aid stations along the trail offering water and assorted energy-packed snacks. Restrooms are available at the trailhead.

After the event, preregistered runners can enjoy some free race goodies, as well as enter in several drawings for prizes.

Register online at (enter Hell Creek on Heels in the Search box), in person at the Hays Recreation Commission, 1105 Canterbury Dr, Hays, or by mailing an entry form to Wild Within You, 101 W. 3rd, Liebenthal, KS 67553. Cash or check payments are accepted and race fees are non-refundable.

Entry forms and additional information, including 50k team relay rules, is available at

Have an adventure on us October 1


The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas, are partnering to pick up your Kansas State Park entrance tab in celebration of Healthy Trails Adventure Day. On October 1, enjoy free admission to any of Kansas’ 26 state parks where you can unwind from the work week and make some new family memories.

Parkgoers can freely explore Kansas state parks by foot, bike, horse, or even canoe or kayak. Visit prior to your trip to see what each state park can offer you.

When you’re ready to put up your feet, consider doing it fireside at a Kansas state park campsite or cabin, and skewer a marshmallow or two while you’re at it. For information on camping availability, amenities, and pricing, or to reserve a campsite or cabin, visit

For more information about Healthy Trails Adventure Day, including how to find a state park near you and how to share your experiences, visit

Find yourself on a fall turkey hunt


Spring turkey season in Kansas is hugely popular given the seasonably comfortable temperatures and flurry of breeding activity taking place, but the little known secret that fall turkey hunters already know is that the action doesn’t stop come the end of the year.


The 2016 fall turkey hunting season, open Oct. 1 - Nov. 29 and Dec. 12 - Jan. 31, 2017, is the perfect opportunity to put a memorable holiday bird on the table at a fraction of the hunting pressure sometimes experienced earlier in the year.


Kansas is divided into six turkey hunting units, and all but one (Unit 4) are open to fall turkey hunting. Hunters who purchase a fall turkey permit, valid in units 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6, may also purchase up to three additional turkey game tags valid in Unit 2. Fall turkey permits and game tags are valid for both male and female turkeys.


All hunters must have a turkey permit and a valid hunting license to hunt turkeys in Kansas. Residents 15 and younger or 75 and older, and hunters hunting on land they own, are exempt from hunting license requirements.


Resident permits are $27.50 for hunters 16 and older and $7.50 for hunters 15 and younger. Resident turkey game tags are $17.50. Nonresident turkey permits are $52.50 and nonresident turkey game tags are $32.50.


For information on turkey hunting regulations, legal equipment, unit maps and public hunting areas, pick up a copy of the 2016 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulations Summary and 2016 Kansas Hunting Atlas, or visit


Fall turkey permits and game tags are available wherever licenses are sold and at

National Wild Turkey Federation Youth Camp Oct. 1-2


The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) will hold the 2016 NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp, October 1-2 at White Memorial Camp, 6 miles north of Council Grove, off highway K177. The camp is open to youth 17 and younger and features fishing, arts and crafts, BB gun shooting, trap and target shooting, 3D archery, canoeing, flint knapping, and turkey calling with turkey hunting legend Ray Eye. Youth participants can attend up to six programs on Saturday, and on Saturday evening JAKES members can participate in the annual NWTF Kansas Turkey Calling contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top three places in two divisions: JAKES, age 12 and under and Xtreme JAKES, age 13 to 17.  Later in the evening, wildlife impersonator Ralph Duren will entertain everyone with his “Calls of the Wild” program.


On Sunday, Pastor Gary Cargill will start the day with a sunrise service. Activities on Sunday morning include a presentation by Mick Bowman on predator calling and a program by Ray Eye on youth turkey hunting.


The cost is $20 for JAKES members, $30 for non-JAKES members (which includes a JAKES membership), and $20 for adults. Attendees may tent camp (bring your own tent) Saturday night or commute both days. Attendees also have the option to stay in a cabin with bunk beds and a shared bath for an additional fee. Boys and girls will have separate cabins. There are also a few RV hookups. The cost includes lunch and supper on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday, prepared by the White Memorial Camp kitchen staff. All youth participants will receive a commemorative t-shirt and win a drawing prize at the end of the event on Sunday. Some lucky youth will win a shotgun.


For more info and to register, contact Gib Rhodes at (620) 437-2012.


The NWTF Kansas State JAKES Camp was awarded the “Best State JAKES Event” in 2012, the “Best Special JAKES Event” in 2013 at the NWTF National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., and “Honorable Mention” in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

Johnson County Pheasants Forever to host family fun day


The Johnson County Pheasants Forever (PF) Chapter is hosting the Outdoor Family Fun Day/Youth and Women’s Hunt on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Eckman’s Hunting Preserve, 988 E 1800 Rd., Baldwin City. Free activities include target shooting, wingshooting instruction with NSCA Level III Instructor John Francis, a casting challenge, archery, and pellet gun shooting. Lunch and snacks are provided and participants can win raffle prizes.


Hunting opportunities will be available for youth age 12-15 who have hunter education certification and are accompanied by an adult sponsor, and women who are novice hunters. All women participants must have a valid hunting license and be accompanied by a licensed mentor.


Hunters must reserve a spot in advance by calling (913) 636-3369 or emailing For more information, visit

National Hunting and Fishing Day celebrates hunters and anglers


National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD) is Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, to recognize the amazing contributions hunters and anglers have made to wildlife conservation over the past 100 years. Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a proclamation officially dedicating Sept. 24 as National Hunting and Fishing Day in Kansas, crediting Kansas hunters and anglers for their positive impact on wildlife conservation and the state’s economy.


The 2016 Honorary Chair is Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, and the theme of this year’s nationwide celebration is “Hunt. Shoot. Fish. Share the pride.” Since the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act was passed in 1937, hunters have provided more than $7 billion to state wildlife conservation programs through excise taxes on hunting and shooting equipment. Currently, hunters pay more than $371 annually into the federal program, and when you add the nearly $800 million they spend on licenses and permits and another $440 million they donate to conservation organizations each year, it’s evident that hunters fund wildlife conservation programs in the U.S.


On the fishing side, U.S. anglers and boaters have paid nearly $8 billion into the Sport Fish Restoration Program since it was established in 1950. That money is distributed to state agencies for fisheries conservation programs, aquatic resource education, boating access, and the Clean Vessel Act program. Annually, anglers pay nearly $400 million into the federal program, $657 million in license fees and more than $400 million in private donations annual for fisheries conservation programs.


In Kansas, hunters and anglers pump more than $600 million into our state’s economy annually, supporting 9,300 jobs and paying $69 million in state and local taxes.


While the money provided to wildlife and fisheries programs by hunters and anglers is impressive, the wildlife success stories are even more amazing. Species, such as white-tailed deer, pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, and giant Canada geese, that were on the brink of extinction around the turn of the century are now abundant and existing in healthy populations across the country. Today’s state fisheries programs produce a variety of quality angling opportunities that were unthinkable just 50 years ago. And while the focus is usually on game animals and sport fish, the conservation programs implemented benefit far more non-game species.


To learn more about the National Hunting and Fishing Day 2016, go to To learn more about the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration program, go to Contact your local Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism office to see if any NHFD events are planned near you.

Salina’s Lakewood Lake undergoing complete renovation


The fishery in the Salina’s 13-acre Lakewood Lake will be renovated this fall with a grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s (KDWPT) Community Fisheries Assistance Program. Owned and operated by Salina Parks and Recreation and located in Lakewood Park, Lakewood Lake will be opened for public fish salvage Sept. 11-30 during Phase 1 of the renovation. A public salvage allows anglers to harvest fish prior to the complete renovation. Creel and length limits will not be enforced during public salvage and additional means of take will be allowed.


On October 1, all angler access to fishing at Lakewood will be suspended and KDWPT staff will supervise fish removal through the end of the month. During this phase, no fish may be taken from the lake. All fish will be disposed of by KDWPT and park staff.


Once fish have been removed, the lake’s new life will begin with a fresh stocking of bluegill later in the fall. Largemouth bass and catfish will be stocked next spring. Pending water quality testing results, rainbow trout will be stocked for the trout season, which opens Nov. 1.


To learn more about the renovation and the factors that triggered the project, plan to attend the information night Sept. 27 at the Lakewood Discovery Center, beginning at 5 p.m. KDWPT district fisheries biologist Bryan Sowards will describe some of the techniques biologists use to sample and assess fish populations in Kansas lakes. He will also take questions about fisheries management programs.


Salina Parks and Recreation is also hosting a free trout fishing clinic at Lakewood Discovery Center on November 1, beginning at 5.p.m. To fish for trout, anglers age 16 and older must have a trout stamp, which can be purchased anywhere licenses are sold. Call Lakewood Discovery Center for more information, (785) 826-7335.

Lovewell State Park 3D shoot and free park entrance day Sept. 11


Lovewell State Park, in Jewell County, is sponsoring a 3D archery shoot on Sunday, Sept 11. Beginning at 9 a.m., participants can register at the state park archery range, located just north of Cottonwood Campground. All shooters must complete the course by 12 p.m. A $10 donation is suggested to enter and prizes will be awarded for the first place shooters in each of three divisions – Men, Women and Youth.


A Steel Deer Competition will begin at noon, with a $5 donation suggested to participate and cash payback to the winner. The challenging steel silhouette target rewards only those shots that put arrows into the vitals zone.


Sept. 11 is also a Free Park Entrance Day at Lovewell State Park. Vehicle permits are not required to enter the state park on that day, however camping permits are still required if camping overnight.


For more information, call Lovewell State Park (785) 753-4971.

Kansas Wetlands Education Center to host Butterfly Festival


The Kansas Wetlands Education Center (KWEC), 592 NE K156 Hwy, Great Bend, will host a Butterfly Festival from 9 a.m. to noon on Sept. 17.


From making milkweed seed bombs to tagging monarch butterflies, kids and adults will find plenty to do during this free event. In addition to old favorites – monarch tagging, insect zoo, crafts and door prizes – kids and adults can view a honey bee hive exhibit and add their “hand art” to the butterfly mural.


Nets and tags will be available for those who want to capture and tag monarch butterflies. Participants will receive information about the tagging process before heading out with a tagging leader to search for Monarch butterflies.


Last year’s tagging efforts resulted in the return of nine tags from winter roosts in Mexico. The tagged monarchs were found on Feb. 4, 24 and 26 and March 6 and 7 at El Rosario and Macheros Cerro Pelon.


Weather permitting, a honey bee hive will be on display in the insect zoo in addition to giant walking stick insects, hissing and peppered cockroaches, butterflies, caterpillars and chrysalises. Plan to spend the morning at KWEC as door prizes will be presented just before noon, along with free milkweed plants.


Kids, and adults who want to be kids again, can play in the mud and make a take-home seed bomb, composed of clay, compost, water and native flower seeds. Visitors can also get some practice in by slinging premade milkweed seed bombs into KWEC’s prairie area using giant slingshots.


Find your inner insect by taking your photo at monarch butterfly and caterpillar photo boards. Create a butterfly, then paint your hands in the pattern and apply it to the butterfly mural. Refuel with light refreshments and drinks. Temporary tattoos, games and other activities round out the morning’s activities.


Milkweed plants, with growing instructions, will be available free to those who would like to encourage monarchs to their yards and gardens. Information on butterfly-friendly plants and other attractants will be available and visitors may also walk through the wildflower/butterfly garden to view examples of butterfly-friendly plants.


For more information, contact KWEC at 1-877-243-9268 or visit