Tuttle Creek blue catfish tagged for research

If you catch a blue catfish from Tuttle Creek Reservoir this summer, be sure to check for a little yellow tag just below its dorsal spine. A blue catfish tagging project is underway to help biologists learn more about blue cats in Tuttle Creek. Biologists are collecting blue cats with an electrofishing boat, weighing and measuring all of them. Any blue catfish longer than 14 inches will receive a yellow tag with a unique number so it can be identified.

The blue catfish population at Tuttle Creek Reservoir is still fairly young. Most of the fish being tagged measure between 16 and 22 inches. The largest fish tagged so far was 27 inches long and weighed 8.3 pounds.

The yellow tags have information printed on both sides. On one side of the tag will be the tag number and a phone number. The other side of the tag will have an email address. Anglers who catch tagged blue catfish are asked to report them using either the phone number or email address, or in person at the Tuttle Creek State Park Office. Biologists want to know the tag number, the general location where the fish was caught, the length of the fish, and if it was harvested or released.

As tagged fish are recaptured over time, biologists will be able to determine how well the fish are growing. The tagging study will also provide a better understanding of how far fish are swimming upstream of the lake and how many fish are migrating downstream out of the lake.

Fisheries staff want to thank anglers in advance for taking the time to share tag information. With help from anglers, biologists will continue to enhance fishing opportunities at Tuttle Creek Reservoir.

For more information, contact the Tuttle Creek State Park Office at (785) 539-7941 or [email protected].

Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams announces new Executive Director


The Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, a non profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the natural heritage and resources of Kansas, is pleased to announce that Jessica Mounts of Cheney, KS has been named as its new Executive Director. Mounts will fill the vacancy left by Jeff Neel, who will continue his work with KAWS as Program Director of Applied Research, Restoration and Monitoring.


Mounts’ resume includes twelve years of experience in fisheries, water conservation and natural resources, as well as successful leadership building teams and programs. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology from Newman University, earned a miniMaster’s of Public Administration at Wichita State University, and is a graduate of the KU Emerging Leaders Academy.


“We are very pleased to announce this appointment,” says Brad Loveless, Board Chairman for KAWS. “Jessica’s experience involving the coordination of multiple partners, landowners, funding sources and volunteers to build and maintain successful projects will bring continued success to the mission of KAWS. I am confident that her energy, enthusiasm and skills will be an asset to KAWS as we move forward from our recent reorganization and continue to develop additional program areas.”


Most recently, Mounts was a key partner in working with the National Park Service to designate the Arkansas River as a National Water Trail, and campaigned for funding to build the first fish passage structure in Kansas on the Arkansas River in Wichita. Her diverse experience includes multiple conservation projects, public service and volunteering, serving on the Friends of the Great Plains Nature Center Board of Directors, and multiple publications, including “A Pocket Guide to the Stream Fishes of Kansas”.

Threatened birds recovering thanks to Endangered Species Act protection

But lack of resources puts Hawaiian birds at high risk

By Steve Holmer

American Bird Conservancy

A report released today by American Bird Conservancy contains some good news for U.S. mainland birds: 78 percent of the birds listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) have populations that are now stable, increasing, or have recovered enough to be delisted. The Endangered Species Act: A Record of Success analyzes population trends and recovery success for all U.S. listed birds, including those in the Hawaiian Islands and U.S. territories.

“Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, twice as many populations of listed birds are increasing as are decreasing,” said Steve Holmer, Senior Policy Advisor for American Bird Conservancy and the author of the report. “Meanwhile, species such as the Bald Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, and Brown Pelican have rebounded sufficiently to be taken off the list of endangered species.”

“This is a strong signal that the ESA works,” Holmer said.

But the report also shows the continuing problems for listed Hawaiian birds, many of whom face severe threats. Nine listed Hawaiian bird species are currently in decline. Overall, the ESA recovery success rate* for Hawaiian birds is 52 percent, only two-thirds of the recovery rate for mainland birds.

“The dire situation for Hawaiian endangered birds is in part a result of inadequate recovery spending. Hawaiian birds account for more than 25 percent of all listed birds, but received only 6.7 percent of federal recovery spending for birds in 2014,” said George Wallace, American Bird Conservancy’s Vice President for Oceans and Islands. “The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been working diligently to increase its recovery efforts in Hawaii, and is now spending 18.4 percent of its bird recovery funds on Hawaiian birds, but the population trends indicate still more needs to be done to reverse current declines.”

The report also reveals that both mainland and Hawaiian bird populations can recover when adequate resources are made available. The recovery status of the Bald Eagle, Brown Pelican, Western Snowy Plover, San Clemente Bell’s Sparrow, Golden-cheeked Warbler, Black-capped Vireo, Interior Least Tern, Southwestern Willow Flycatcher, Steller’s Eider, Millerbird, Hawaiian Crow, Hawaii Creeper, and Nihoa Finch have all improved since 2006, when ABC produced a similar analysis of the ESA’s effectiveness.

ABC staff are engaged in recovery efforts for Hawaiian birds, including Palila, a rare native honeycreeper that was among the first species to be listed under the ESA. “To prevent the extinction of Palila, we are working with the State of Hawaii to protect and restore habitat from non-native sheep that damage and kill the native trees used by the birds for food and nesting,” said Chris Farmer, American Bird Conservancy’s Hawaii Program Director. “And for the Millerbird, a successful translocation from Nihoa to Laysan Island was completed in 2012, increasing this species’ chances for survival.”

Even though the Endangered Species Act is working, it is under attack by some members of Congress.  In recent years, individual species such as the Greater Sage-Grouse have been targeted for listing exemptions to prevent ESA protection.

“Instead of undermining this effective law, Congress needs to increase funding for species recovery,” said Holmer. “With so many listed bird species showing increased populations, there is hope that we will soon see more of these species no longer needing the emergency protections of the ESA.”


*The ESA recovery success rate is defined as the number of stable, increasing, and delisted species divided by the total of species extinct after listing, declining, stable, increasing, delisted, and unknown.

Aerial surveys document stable Lesser Prairie-chicken population trends

Biologists note annual population fluctuations, emphasize value of improved habitat

The latest lesser prairie-chicken survey shows bird population trends remain stable after five years of aerial survey data collection. The surveys indicated an estimated breeding population of 25,261 birds this year which scientists say is not significantly different from the 29,162 birds estimated in 2015 given the variability in the survey methodology. This spring’s breeding population remains significantly larger than the 17,616 birds that were estimated in 2013 following two years of severe drought.

Lesser-prairie chickens can be found in four ecoregions in five states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Wildlife biologists note prairie chicken numbers regularly fluctuate up and down from year to year due to changes in habitat conditions mainly influenced by rainfall patterns. The surveys this year indicated apparent population increases in the shinnery oak ecoregion of eastern New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle and the sand sagebrush ecoregion of southeast Colorado and southwest Kansas. The lesser prairie-chicken populations in these regions experienced the most decline as a result of the 2011-2012 drought. Population decreases were observed in the mixed-grass prairie ecoregion of the northeast Panhandle of Texas, northwest Oklahoma and south-central Kansas, and the short-grass prairie region of northwest Kansas.

“Just as with last year’s population increase, we shouldn’t read too much into short-term fluctuations over one or two years,” said Bill Van Pelt, WAFWA grassland coordinator. “The monitoring technique used for this survey is designed to track trends, and both the three and five-year trends still indicate a stable population. Lesser prairie-chickens inhabit a large geographic landscape with highly variable weather patterns, so we expect to see annual and regional population fluctuations. What these numbers show is the importance of maintaining good prairie habitat for long-term population stability. Populations have responded positively in recent years to increased and timely rainfall in portions of the bird’s range most affected by the 2011-2012 drought. Specifically, the population has significantly increased over the last three years in the sand sagebrush ecoregion. Voluntary conservation efforts like the range-wide plan help to ensure that suitable habitat is available so these population increases can occur when weather conditions are suitable.”

The Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure long-term viability of the lesser prairie-chicken through voluntary cooperation by landowners and industry. The plan allows industry to continue operations while reducing and mitigating impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat. Industry contributions support conservation actions implemented by participating private landowners. To date, industry partners have committed over $60 million in enrollment and mitigation fees to pay for conservation actions, and landowners across the range have agreed to conserve over 130,000 acres of habitat through 10-year and permanent conservation agreements.

“With continued improvement in nesting and brood-rearing habitat associated with good weather conditions and private landowner conservation actions, we are optimistic about the lesser prairie-chicken’s future,” said Alexa Sandoval, chairman of WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-Chicken Initiative Council. “Habitat conservation and species recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. We appreciate the continued commitment of all of our partners in our ongoing conservation efforts.”

WAFWA news releases available at

Lesser Prairie-Chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan can be found HERE


Since 1922, the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) has advanced conservation in western North America. Representing 23 western states and Canadian provinces, WAFWA’s reach encompasses more than 40 percent of North America, including two-thirds of the United States. Drawing on the knowledge of scientists across the West, WAFWA is recognized as the expert source for information and analysis about western wildlife. WAFWA supports sound resource management and building partnerships at all levels to conserve native wildlife for the use and benefit of all citizens, now and in the future.

Soil Health workshop

The following workshop is an opportunity to learn more about water quality benefits of soil health improvement.

The workshop agenda and description is provided through the link below. The recent Gail Fuller Building a Healthy Soil Community presentation informed participants that a major key to improving our landscapes (and producer’s true profits) is to improve the carbon content in our agricultural soils, which can be done via purposeful management of vegetative diversity and reduced chemical inputs. These discussions may be helpful in getting a buy-in of landowners on some additional benefits to currently less popular (but impactful for Water Quality) Best Management Practices (BMPs). These concepts are also key in efforts to reduce nutrient loading and sediment/erosion in our watersheds. Similar concepts will be visited in the August 23rd workshop.

Among the topics: Ray Archuleta will present: Increased Soil Function Decreases Dependency on Chemical Inputs; and Dave Brandt will present Using Cover Crops to your Advantage. Other topics will include Livestock; Cover Crops and No-Till; non-GMO crops; and infiltration exercises.

The Soil Health workshop is scheduled for August 23rd at the Waverly Community Center in Waverly, KS. Registration is $50 (early bird date is July 31) or $75 at the door. Go to the following link for details and a registration form:

Check out FOK’s new Hydrocache locations!

Water Quality Hydrocaching is geocaching with a twist! Developed by Friends of the Kaw with the help of a Johnson County Stormwater Education grant and the Mid-American Regional Council (MARC), hydrocaching uses the geocache format to help you learn about water quality in the Kansas River.

Three caches are located at Kansas River boat ramps in metro Kansas City and ten caches are located at Best Management Practice (BMP)  sites in Johnson County that help prevent pollution from stormwater runoff. When you find the cache you will be asked to do a simple water quality test or answer a question about the BMP practice. Enter your data or answer in the cache’s log book. Earn a free canoe rental on one of our Educational Float trips after you find 10 hydrocaches!

Hydrocache locations are also entered on – you can register for free on this site and use your smart phone to help you find the caches. You can also report to us when you find the cache from this application. Hydrocaches coordinates:

Kaw Point Boat Ramp Hydrocache: N 39° 06.977 W 094° 36.793

Edwardsville Boat Ramp Hydrocache: N 39° 03.015 W 094° 48.987

De Soto Boat Ramp Hydrocache: N 38° 59.090 W 094° 58.481

Turkey Creek Hydrocache (Merriam) – N 39° 00.450 W 094° 41.954

Little Mill Creek Hydrocache (Shawnee) – N 38° 59.668 W 094° 44.649

Wet Pond Hydrocache (Shawnee) – N 39° 01.365 W 094° 46.900

Clear Creek Hydrocache (Shawnee) – N 39° 00.949 W 094° 50.399

Hydrodynamic Separator Hydrocache (Shawnee) – N 38° 59.958 W 094° 51.982

Retention Basin Hydrocache (Lenexa) – N 38° 58.553 W 094° 52.343

Pervious Pavement Hydrocache (Lenexa) – N 38° 57.250 W 094° 50.880

Wetland Hydrocache (Lenexa) – N 38° 57.544 W 094° 50.890

Little Cedar Creek Hydrocache (Olathe) – N 38° 52.924 W 094° 50.313

Rain Garden Hydrocache (Olathe) – N 38° 51.712 W 094° 50.716

We have already had over 130 hydrocache finds!  Have fun and be safe!

Fishing’s Future/KDWPT Fish Kansas instructor certification class

Lakewood Discovery Center

205 Lakewood Drive

Salina, KS

Saturday, August 20th

Most of us have had a mentor at some point in our lives that inspired us, taught us, and delighted in our successes. It’s a wonderful thing, but not everyone is so lucky, especially when it comes to having an outdoor mentor. By becoming a volunteer certified angler instructor through the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism’s Angler Education program, you’ll not only have an avenue for sharing your passion for angling with others, but you too, could be someone’s mentor. To get you started, a certification course will be held from 9:00am to 12:00pm at the Lakewood Discovery Center, 205 Lakewood Drive, Salina Kansas 67401, on Saturday, August 2oth.

Topics Covered:

▪ Fishing Regulations

▪ Species Identification

▪ Fishing Ethics

▪ Equipment

▪ Knot-tying

▪ Casting

▪ Fish Habitat

▪ Aquatic Nuisance Species

▪ Conservation Practices

In addition to becoming certified, anglers will also receive a sample curriculum and tips for preparing a class.


Participants must be 18 years old and pass a background check prior to certification.


Youth between the ages of 12 and 17 with a signed parental form can also take the workshop and gain Junior Assistant Angling Volunteer status. This age group must work with a certified instructor when hosting an aquatic education activity, clinic, derby or outreach.


To sign up please go to find the events page and scroll through till you find the Salina course. If you cannot sign up on line or have any questions please contact Stuart Scott by email at [email protected], or phone at (316) 648-9847.

Pokemon GO going wild at Kansas state parks

Elusive Pokemon GO characters have been spotted at many Kansas state parks and nature centers, and there’s no better time to join the chase. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) welcomes Pokemon hunters stalking the virtual critters that have popped up at some of the most picturesque and educational places in Kansas. The game is an exciting new way to get outdoors and enjoy all that natural Kansas has to offer.

“Pokemon GO is both fun and distracting, so we encourage players to use common sense and follow certain safety precautions while on a Pokemon quest,” said Linda Lanterman, State Parks Director.

Some of the basic safety rules include:

  • Be aware of your surroundings, especially along trails, roads, cliffs, stream banks and lakes. It is important to watch where you place your feet to avoid a fall, poison ivy or a venomous snake.
  • Stay on trails and don’t drive off roads into unauthorized areas.
  • Don’t trespass on private property which may be adjacent to park boundaries, and don’t enter someone else’s campsite or recreational vehicle.
  • Don’t operate a vehicle or boat while distracted by the game. Watch for pedestrians, bicyclists and wildlife along roads, around boat docks and in parking areas.
  • State park entrance fees still apply. Any vehicle entering a Kansas state park must have either an annual entrance permit or a daily entrance permit. The daily entrance permit is $5 and is available at the entrance gatehouse or kiosk. All state parks are open 24 hours, except for Kaw River State Park, which is open from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and Prairie Spirit Trail, which is open during daylight hours only. Players can use the self-pay stations if a park office is closed.

KDWPT sports 26 state parks and six nature centers where visitors can enjoy the outdoors and learn about the natural history of Kansas. For information about the state parks and nature centers, visit and click on either State Parks or Education.

Sportsmen encourage party platforms to support America’s public lands

More than thirty sportsmen organizations sent a letter to the RNC and DNC encouraging them to support America’s public lands

By Casey Skeens

National Wildlife Federation

More than thirty national and state-level sportsmen organizations, representing millions of hunters and anglers, sent the following letters to the Republican and Democratic Platform Committees encouraging them to support America’s public lands:

July 11, 2016

310 First Street SE                                                       1900 Market St, Suite 300

Washington, D.C 20003                                             Philadelphia, PA 19103

Honorable Reince Priebus                                         Honorable Shirley Franklin

Chairperson, Republican National Comm.            Honorable Daniel Malloy

Republican National Committee                              Co-Chair, Democratic National Comm.

Dear Mr. Priebus:                                                          Dear Mrs. Franklin & Governor Malloy:

Our organizations collectively represent millions of hunters, anglers and other outdoors enthusiasts. Our members, and tens of millions of other Americans, depend on our national forests, parks, wildlife refuges and other federal lands to provide fish and wildlife habitat and access to places to hunt, fish, and enjoy the outdoors. The iconic landscapes of America’s public lands also sustain our economy by supporting an outdoor recreation industry that generates $646 billion in economic benefit annually and supports 6.1 million jobs—and attracting tourists from around the nation.

Our national tapestry of public lands is the product of more than a century of leadership by both Republicans and Democrats. Several of the world’s first national forests, monuments and wildlife refuges were set aside by Republican President Theodore Roosevelt. Democratic President Franklin Roosevelt expanded our National Wildlife Refuge System and National Park System and put millions of Americans to work during the Great Depression restoring and maintaining public lands.  Over the years, presidents of both parties worked with bipartisan leaders in Congress to craft the laws that govern the activities of the U.S. Forest Service, National Wildlife Refuge System, National Wilderness Preservation System, and the Bureau of Land Management.

America’s public lands provide important value for all Americans, whether they live in rural or urban areas. These benefits include improving air and water quality, sustaining local water supplies, producing timber, providing grass for grazing, bolstering local tourism economies, enhancing agricultural production through pollination, and supporting a range wildlife and biodiversity.

America’s hunters and anglers have a special interest in our public lands.  Some of our most treasured big game animals depend on the secure habitat and migration corridors that are provided by public land.  Many sportfish species depend on cool, clean waters that originate on public lands.   Federal public lands also provide free access for tens of millions of Americans to hunt and fish every year.  These lands sustain our hunting and fishing heritage and fill our freezers. While all of America owns these lands, their wise stewardship is of particularly vital concern to us.

Managing hundreds of millions of acres of federal land for the public benefit requires a careful balancing of many different uses.  It is also essential to ensure that current activities do not impair the ability of future generations to benefit from our public lands.  There are no easy answers, but the value of public lands to the American people makes finding common-sense solutions worth the effort.

Your 2016 party platform presents an opportunity to explain to the American people how you will satisfy competing interests and protect our public lands for future generations.  Healthy debate about how to manage federal lands is an important part of the democratic process.  Your platform can advance that democratic debate by explaining how your party proposes to sustainably develop natural resources, protect wildlife habitat, ensure public access, and maintain our public land heritage for future generations.

At the same time, we do not believe it would be constructive to include broad directives to transfer federal lands to state or local control, sell federal lands to private interests, or otherwise liquidate the national interest in federal land management.  These kinds of directives do a disservice to the American people and especially to America’s hunters and anglers. These proposals do not advance the goal of finding meaningful ways to balance competing interests and preserve our national public land heritage for future generations.

Thank you for your commitment to the sound management and conservation of our public lands, which provide so much benefit to all Americans. If you would like to discuss this with us, please contact Collin O’Mara, President and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation, at [email protected], 703-438-6046.


The National Wildlife Federation

Boone and Crockett Club

Dallas Safari Club

Ducks Unlimited

National Wild Turkey Federation

Pheasants Forever

Quail Forever

Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Trout Unlimited

Wild Sheep Foundation

Wildlife Management Institute

Alabama Wildlife Federation

Arizona Wildlife Federation

Association of Northwest Steelheaders

Colorado Wildlife Federation

Conservation Federation of Missouri

Florida Wildlife Federation

Georgia Wildlife Federation

Idaho Wildlife Federation

Indiana Wildlife Federation

Kansas Wildlife Federation

Michigan United Conservation Clubs

Minnesota Conservation Federation

Montana Wildlife Federation

Nevada Wildlife Federation

New Mexico Wildlife Federation

North Carolina Wildlife Federation

North Dakota Wildlife Federation

South Carolina Wildlife Federation

South Dakota Wildlife Federation

Tennessee Wildlife Federation

Wisconsin Wildlife Federation

Wyoming Wildlife Federation

How to land summer bass

It’s hard to think about fishing on a sweltering summer day, but when the sun sinks toward the western horizon, everything changes. Warm water and direct sun make the bass sluggish during the day, but as evening temperatures cool, the fishing can get hot. Now it’s time to grab your bass rods and find the nearest farm pond, state fishing lake or community lake.

Pick a shady shoreline and look for brush, docks, vegetation – anything that provides dark hiding places for bass. Start out with a weedless plastic bait that can be flipped right into the cover. Fish slow and thoroughly, hitting every visible bass lair. Bass are ambush hunters and a slow meal dropped right in front of them can be irresistible.

As daylight fades and the breeze dies, tie on a topwater bait just for fun. There’s nothing like the thrill of a bass exploding on a surface lure. Fish will be more spread out now, so cast along the shore and any weedbed edges. Land the bait as close to the edge as possible, then let it sit for several seconds. Twitch it tantalizingly several times before beginning to retrieve. And it’s a good idea to pause several times during the retrieve. A brief pause can sometimes be too much for a bass watching from below, triggering an explosive strike. The anticipation can also be too much for a bass angler. When fishing topwater, wait until you feel the strike before setting the hook. If you rear back as soon as you see and hear the topwater strike, you’ll pull the bait right out of the fish’s mouth.

There are thousands of farm ponds tucked away all across Kansas’ countryside, and many have great bass fishing. Anglers need landowner permission to fish private ponds except for those leased by the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism and opened to public fishing through the F.I.S.H. program. To find them, download the 2016 Kansas Fishing Atlas at The atlas contains maps of all F.I.S.H. waters, as well as all other public fishing lakes and reservoirs. You’ll also find the 2016 Kansas Fishing Forecast, which will tell you which public waters have the best bass populations.

Don’t just dream about fishing this summer, take advantage of the cooler evenings and explore a Kansas farm pond, local community lake or state fishing lake. The bass are waiting.