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Monthly Archives: July 2017

Tell Secretary Zinke not to dismantle Sage-Grouse conservation plans

 

The Department of the Interior is considering weakening or eliminating habitat protections for Greater Sage-Grouse;

comments due Friday, August 4

 

By David O’Neill

Chief Conservation Officer

National Audubon Society

 

 

Once numbered in the millions, the Greater Sage-Grouse has declined precipitously due to widespread habitat destruction. To help save this iconic bird, many stakeholders’ states, ranchers, conservationists, industry, scientists, and federal agencies’ collaboratively developed a balanced conservation plan to protect 67 million acres of habitat for the sage-grouse and 350 other species. These plans also ensure sustainable economic growth for communities across the West.

 

Now, the Department of the Interior is considering weakening or eliminating these vital habitat protections by ordering a review of the plans. You can help by weighing in with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. Tell him to maintain the Greater Sage-Grouse protections. The deadline to comment is Friday, August 4. From court challenges to backdoor attempts to put harmful language in must-pass Congressional bills, anti-conservation interests have been working to tear apart the conservation plans since they were adopted. Each time, Audubon members have raised their voices and succeeded in defending this historic conservation effort.

 

The birds need your help today.

 

The Department’s review raises concerns that habitat protections could be weakened or eliminated by exploring “creative approaches” that are alternatives to protecting habitat, such as captive breeding and setting population targets state by state. Neither approach is supported by applicable science nor experts in the field. The order also emphasizes eliminating burdens on energy development on public lands, not on the conservation of sage-grouse. However, recent studies have shown that very few of the protected areas overlap with high-potential places for oil and gas development. Tell Secretary Zinke that prioritizing energy development over conservation or including scientifically unsupported approaches in conservation plans would spell disaster for these incredible birds. He needs to let the existing plans work.

 

Put your cursor on either of the colored sections above and it will take you to a site that will help you respond to Secretary Zinke.

Cheney to host upcoming Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting

 

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Commission will conduct their next public meeting on Thursday, August 10, 2017 at the Ninnescah Sailing Club in Cheney State Park. The afternoon session 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 will be set aside for public comment at the beginning of each for discussion of non-agenda items.

The afternoon session will begin with a report on the agency and state fiscal status and an update on the 2017 Kansas legislative session. The General Discussion portion of the meeting will include a review of big game regulations, Tourism update, Mined Land Wildlife Area project review, and an update on current Walleye Initiative efforts.

The Workshop Session will include reviews of turkey regulations for 2018, park regulations, privately-owned cabin permit fees, boating registration fees, license expiration dates, and threatened and endangered species regulations.

The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m., during which time the Workshop Session will continue with a review of fishing regulations. No items will be voted upon at this meeting.

If necessary, the Commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., August 11, 2017, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the August 10 meeting agenda and briefing book, can be downloaded at ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Upcoming-Commission-Meetings.

Live video and audio streaming of the August 10, 2017 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 KDWPT Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.

The next KDWPT Commission meeting is scheduled for October 19, 2017 at the Bryan Conference Center, 101 S Main, in Scott City.

Sign up for Hunter Ed before fall seasons start

 

Taking Hunter Education has never been more convenient thanks to Internet-assisted courses designed to allow students to complete their classwork at home. After a student completes their Internet work, they can attend a field day to complete their final test and certification. Field days typically include live-fire, a trail-walk and safe gun handing exercises. Students must register for an Internet-assisted course (field day) before completing the online portion.

The easiest way to find a class that meets your schedule is to visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click Hunting, then Hunter Education. Students must be 11 or older to be certified. However, hunters 15 or younger may hunt without hunter education certification provided they are under the direct supervision of an adult 18 or older. Otherwise, anyone born on or after July 1, 1957 must be certified by an approved course before they can hunt in Kansas.

Those who prefer to learn in a classroom setting may sign up for a traditional hunter education course. Traditional courses are usually held over two to three days, totaling 10 hours of class time. To access a list of traditional courses currently being offered, visit www.ksoutdoors.com and click Hunting, then Hunter Education.

Classes fill up quickly, so register early and make sure you’re Hunter Ed certified before fall seasons start!

Soil Health Workshop set for August 22 in Bucklin

A soil health workshop will take place August 22nd to help growers understand and implement modern practices in caring for the land.

 

No-till on the Plains, a farmer-led soil health leadership organization, will host a field day on Fiekert Farms and at the American Legion Hall, 101 S. Nebraska Ave., Bucklin, Kan. Registration begins at 8 a.m. A full day of activities is planned in the Bucklin area designed to inform new producers and enhance current methods used to protect and produce agriculture products.

 

There is no charge for the event and lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is encouraged to ensure enough meals are available.  Visit http://www.notill.org or call Steve Swaffar at (785) 210-4549 for more information.

 

Registration for the Bucklin field day is available on the No-till on the Plains website, http://notill.org/events/soil-health-workshop-0

 

This educational event is funded through a grant to Oklahoma State University Extension from the Natural Resources Conservation Service and support from Green Cover Seed.

Blue-green algae information

 

Blue-green algae look much like other, more common algae but they’re really a type of bacteria called “cyanobacteria.” The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) samples recreational bodies of water for blue-green algae when they are alerted to a potential algae bloom. Contact with high concentrations of the cyanobacteria can cause illness. KDHE issues a Public Health Watch or Public Health Warning based on either the presence of certain toxins, the number of cyanobacteria cells in the water or a combination of the two.

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT); the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USCE); and the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) cooperate with KDHE when a Watch or Warning is issued to alert the public about potentially harmful algae blooms.

 

To see the current KDHE blue-green algae watches and warning, go to their website at: http://www.kdheks.gov/algae-illness/index.htm.

Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever announces job vacancies

 

These positions will be located within USDA Service Centers, and will provide conservation technical assistance and conservation program delivery to private landowners within their assigned districts and other priority areas as appropriate.  The incumbent will work in a joint capacity with USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and other State and Federal partners to promote, accelerate enrollment, coordinate and implement the conservation provisions of the Federal Farm Bill and other wildlife related conservation programs. Position locations are Oberlin, Burlington and St. John, Kansas. Apprilation deadline is August 11, 2017.

 

To apply visit the PF/QF website at: www.pheasantsforever.org/jobs

 

ONLY ON LINE APPLICATIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED. Please include your cover letter, resume and 3 references as a single Microsoft Word document or PDF file on the Recruitment website.

Contact:  Chris McLeland, South Region Director, cmcleland@pheasantsforever.org or (573) 355-6530

 

Cedar Bluff fisheries biologist to host public meeting July 27 on walleye length limits

 

Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) Fisheries Division staff invite anglers to attend a public meeting on Thursday, July 27 to discuss walleye length limits at Cedar Bluff Reservoir. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the community room of the Western Electric Cooperative Association, 635 S 13th Street, WaKeeney (north of the I-70 and exit 128 interchange).

Staff will provide information regarding a proposal to change the minimum length limit for walleye at Cedar Bluff Reservoir from 18 inches to 21 inches. If approved by the KDWPT Commission, the 21-inch minimum length limit would go into effect in 2018.

For questions regarding this meeting, contact David Spalsbury at (785) 726-3212 or Lynn Davignon at (785) 628-8614.

Over-The-Counter Kansas Deer Permits Available August 1

 

From Outdoor Daily News

Resident hunters and hunters purchasing deer permits available over the counter can obtain their 2017 permits beginning August 1. Deer permits available over the counter for the 2017 season include:

Resident Any-Season White-tailed Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used statewide in any season, using equipment legal for that season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Archery Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used statewide with archery equipment only during archery season.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Resident Muzzleloader Either-species/Either-sex Deer permits – valid for one white-tailed or mule deer buck, doe or fawn – may be used either in the East Zone (3, 4, 5, 7, 16) OR the West Zone (1, 2, 17, 18) during the early muzzleloader season and the regular firearm season. Hunters may use muzzleloading equipment only with this permit.

$42.50 General Residents

$22.50 Resident Landowner/Resident Tenant

$87.50 Nonresident Tenant

$12.50 Resident Youth (15 and Younger)

Hunt-Own-Land Deer Permits – valid any white-tailed or mule deer only on land owned or operated by the landowner or tenant during muzzleloader, archery, and firearm seasons using equipment legal for that season – are $22.50. These permits may only be obtained by individuals who qualify as resident landowners or tenants, including family members living with the landowner or tenant.

Resident Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits – valid for any white-tailed deer without a visible antler protruding from the skull – are available to any hunter who has first purchased a resident deer permit that allows the taking of an antlered deer, unless the antlerless permit is purchased on or after Dec. 30.

$22.50 General Residents

$10.00 Resident Youth (15 and younger)

Hunters may obtain up to five Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits; the first is valid in Deer Management Units 1 thru 17 and 19, including lands managed by the Department. Additional Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits are valid in units 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 10A, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 19, on private land with landowner permission, Walk-In-Hunting Areas, and Glen Elder, Kanopolis, Lovewell, Norton, Webster and Wilson Wildlife Areas and Kirwin National Wildlife Refuge.

No Antlerless White-tailed Deer permits are valid in Unit 18, and Either-Species Antlerless-Only permits are not available for 2017.

For more information, visit ksoutdoors.com or call (620) 672-5911.

State monarch plan

To help bolster monarch habitat, and subsequently monarch numbers, agencies and organizations across the state came together June 7-8 for a two-day summit in Topeka to formulate the Kansas Monarch Conservation Plan. This statewide plan with a targeted fall completion date along with other Midwest state plans will be presented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One Kansas approach under consideration is the possibility of incorporating milkweed – a plant necessary for monarch production – into the seed mixes used by the Kansas Department of Transportation along roadways. For information on how to get involved, visit www.fws.gov/savethemonarch/, www.monarchwatch.org/, or monarchjointventure.org/.

KDWPT: 30 Kansas deer reported for foot rot disease in 2016

 

Shawnee County had deer reported for disease

 

The Topeka Capital-Journal

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism recently released information regarding the testing of area deer for a rare type of potentially fatal foot rot disease.

 

Shawnee County had one report of a sick or dead deer thought to be afflicted with hoof disease in 2016-17, according to a map provided by the KDWPT. The hardest hit counties were in the southeast portion of Kansas — namely Bourbon, Butler and Anderson. Bourbon had between five and eight reports, while Butler and Anderson had between three and four apiece.

 

Lyon County, which is south of Wabaunsee County, had two reports of hoof disease. Reports also were made farther out west in Decatur, Phillips and Russell counties. In all, 25 cases were reported to the KDWPT by the public, making 30 total cases of suspected hoof disease in Kansas.

 

Beginning in January, the KDWPT began shipping fresh hooves from deer thought to be afflicted with the disease to be studied at the Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, which is operated through the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

 

“Diagnostics showed the hoof disease story is more about trauma to the hooves with the onset of secondary bacterial infections,” Shane Hesting, wildlife disease coordinator for the KDWPT, said in an email. “The cause of the trauma is unknown. I hypothesize that several things are possibly causing the trauma, such as cut soybean stems at ground level, jagged frozen soil, barbed wire, locust thorns, stress fractures during fighting and chasing does, weakened bones due to poor physical condition (rut), etc.”

 

Hesting emphasized that the surge in reports of hoof disease in white-tailed deer can mostly be credited to increased awareness via social media posts and email blasts. He said the uptick in reporting may also be connected with the greater-than-normal amounts of rainfall the state saw during 2016. Parts of Shawnee County saw between 4 and 12 inches of precipitation more than average in 2016, according to the Midwestern Regional Climate Center. The averages are calculated based on annual precipitation measured between 1981 and 2010.

 

“Deer live with a plethora of bacterial species on a daily basis, and some of these bacterial species cause problems when injury and/or immunosuppression occurs, like we see when bucks are worn down from rutting,” Hesting said.

 

He said that some hooves had been damaged by hemorrhagic disease viruses during the summer months, which then progress to hoof infections in the fall and winter. He said bacterial species accumulate in the soil at deer feeders and other areas where deer congregate, and the thawing and freezing of soil at these spots often creates a jagged soil surface that can injure hooves.

 

Hesting added that this is another reason to limit the baiting and feeding of deer.

 

“In 2016, stressed and immunosuppressed post-rut animals in the population merged with an environment of wetter soil during a wetter-than-normal year, varying bacterial loads and other conditions leading to hoof infections,” Hesting said. “Even though hoof infections occur every year in Kansas, it is currently thought that these cases have not and will not affectthe overall deer population in the state.

 

“The current statewide average — based on 2016 distance sampling — of the Kansas deer herd is estimated to be approximately 636,000.”

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