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Zebra mussels found in Tuttle Creek Reservoir

 

The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has confirmed the presence of invasive zebra mussels in Tuttle Creek Reservoir in Pottawatomie and Riley Counties. An alert fisherman found a rock with one adult zebra mussel attached and reported it to KDWPT staff in the Tuttle Creek State Park office. A subsequent search by KDWPT fisheries staff verified the presence of additional zebra mussels.

 

The 12,500 acre lake is located six miles north of Manhattan, KS on Hwy K-13. It is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE); KDWPT manages the fishery. The lake and surrounding areas are popular destinations for fishing, camping, swimming, hiking, and a variety of boating and other water-related activities.

 

While the zebra mussel population is currently small, there is no known method to completely rid a lake of this invasive species. The zebra mussels were likely introduced by “hitchhiking” with un-suspecting lake-goers. Adults are able to attach to boats or other equipment and the microscopic zebra mussels larvae (called veligers) may be present in any water originating from an infested lake or stream. Densities as high as 1,000 veligers per gallon have been recorded in KS waters. “Remembering to clean, drain, and dry boats and equipment before moving between waterbodies is the key to preventing the spread of zebra mussels and other aquatic nuisance species,” said Chris Steffen, aquatic nuisance species coordinator for KDWPT.

 

Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the connected downstream Tuttle Creek River Pond, and the Big Blue River downstream from the lake to the confluence with the Kansas River (including Rocky Ford) will be added to the list of ANS-designated waters in Kansas, and notices will be posted at various locations around the waterbodies. 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 about aquatic nuisance species in Kansas, report a possible ANS, or see a list of ANS-designated waters, visit ProtectKSWaters.org.

ABOUT ZEBRA MUSSELS

Zebra mussels are dime-sized mollusks with striped, sharp-edged, two-part shells. They can produce huge populations in a short time and do not require a host fish to reproduce. A large female zebra mussel can produce 1 million eggs, and then fertilized eggs develop into microscopic veligers that are invisible to the naked eye. Veligers drift in the water for at least two weeks before they settle out as young mussels which quickly grow to adult size and reproduce within a few months.

After settling, zebra mussels develop byssal threads that attach their shells to submerged hard surfaces such as rocks, piers, and flooded timber. They also attach to pipes, water intake structures, boat hulls, propellers, and submerged parts of outboard motors. As populations increase, they can clog intake pipes and prevent water treatment and electrical generating plants from drawing water. In 2012, two Kansas communities, Council Grove and Osage City, experienced temporary water shortages from zebra mussel infestations before water intake structures could be cleaned up. Removing large numbers of zebra mussels to ensure adequate water flow can be labor-intensive and costly.

Zebra mussels are native to the Black and Caspian seas of western Asia and eastern Europe and   were spread around the world in the ballast water of cargo ships. They were discovered in Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River in 1988 and quickly spread throughout the Great Lakes and other rivers including the Mississippi, Illinois, Ohio, Tennessee, Arkansas and Hudson. They were first discovered in Kansas in 2003 at El Dorado Reservoir. Despite public education efforts to alert boaters about the dangers of zebra mussels and how to prevent spreading them, the species continues to show up in new lakes every year. Moving water in boats and bait buckets has been identified as a likely vector.

For information about Tuttle Creek Reservoir, visit KSOutdoors.com, click on Fishing, then Where to Fish and select the Northeast region.

Youth dove hunting events provide high-quality experiences

 

Dove hunting can be a perfect opportunity to get a young hunter started in wingshooting. The weather is mild, action can be fast and shot opportunities numerous. It is safe and allows close supervision by a mentor as hunters sit quietly and wait for doves to fly into a feed field or water source. With a little pre-season shotgun practice, a young hunter can enjoy a fantastic hunting experience. And to improve the odds of success, a youth dove hunting event like those listed below offer limited access to fields specially managed to attract doves.

 

In northcentral Kansas, the Osborne County Pheasants Forever (PF) Chapter and the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) will host an opening weekend dove hunt. This hunt is expected to provide young hunters with plenty of shooting action as the birds flock to grain fields for morning feeding.

 

Youth between the ages of 10 and 16 who have had limited dove hunting experience are invited to register. Applicants who have not hunted before will be given preference to participate. Only the youngsters will be hunting, and each hunter will have at least one adult mentor at their side. All hunters must be strong enough to handle their guns safely.

 

The hunt will begin early Saturday morning, Sept. 2, on the Glen Elder Wildlife Area near Waconda Lake in Mitchell County. A managed crop field on the lake property will be reserved exclusively for this event. Hunters will meet before sunrise on the morning of the hunt at the Glen Elder Wildlife Area shop in Cawker City to organize and be paired with adult mentors before heading to the field. After the hunt, all participants will enjoy a free lunch provided by Osborne County Pheasants Forever where stories of the morning’s hunt can be re-lived and shared.

 

Young hunters who would like to participate in the hunt must pre-register by calling the Glen Elder Area Office at (785) 545-3345 (8 a.m.-4 p.m. weekdays). The sign-up deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Spots are limited, so hunters are encouraged to register early.

Shotguns can be provided for kids who do not have one. Twelve- and 20-gauge non-toxic shotgun shells will be provided. Hunters 16 and older must have hunting licenses and Harvest Information Program (HIP) permits.

 

For more information or if you would like to assist with this event, contact Chris Lecuyer (KDWPT) at 785-(545) 3345 or John Cockerham (PF) at (785) 346-6527.

 

In northeastern Kansas, the Jayhawk Chapter of the Quail and Upland Wildlife Federation (QUWF) and KDWPT will host the chapter’s 10th Annual Youth Dove Hunt on Sept. 2. Hunters 16 and younger are invited to register for the hunt, which will take place at Clinton Wildlife Area west of Lawrence and begins at sunrise. Mentors will accompany all participants, but non-hunting family members are encouraged to attend.

 

Non-toxic shells and eye and ear protection will be provided to participants, who are encouraged to dress in camouflage or dark-colored clothing. Shotguns are available on request. Participants age 16 must have a Kansas hunting licenses and HIP permits.

 

For more details and to register, contact Dr. John Hill at (785) 841-9555 or (785) 550-5657, or by e-mail at hills4ku@hotmail.com.

 

The Westar Energy Green Team is hosting its annual youth dove hunt at Jeffrey Energy Center near St. Marys Sept. 1-4. Early-morning and late-afternoon hunts will be offered.

 

Youth 16 and younger are invited to register. Hunters must bring their own shotguns and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Sixteen-year-olds must have hunting licenses and HIP permits. Non-toxic shells will be provided. Wheat and sunflower fields have been prepared to attract doves, so action should be lively.

 

Hunters will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To request an application, call Jeanine Heinisch at (785) 575-6355 by Friday, Aug. 25.

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission meeting date changed

 

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission has historically conducted its last public meeting of the year in October, and the 2017 meeting was scheduled for Oct. 19 at the Bryan Conference Center in Scott City. However, due to a scheduling conflict, the meeting has been rescheduled at the same location for Nov. 16, 2017.

 

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 commission will vote on variety of regulation amendments during the evening session of the meeting. The meeting agenda will be released in late October and be available online at www.ksoutdoors.com.

August is National Shooting Sports month

 

The National Shooting Sports Foundation has announced that August is National Shooting Sports Month, celebrating the passion millions of Americans have for target shooting. Recreational shooting is a safe and fun activity enjoyed by people of all ages, whether in competitive venues or target plinking just for fun. Target shooting is also great preparation for the coming hunting seasons.

 

To learn more about National Shooting Sports Month, go to www.shootingsportsmonth.org, where you’ll find listings of events and promotions by state, promotion type and location. You can also learn more about how to get involved in National Shooting Sports Month, whether you’re in retail, manufacturing, involved with a shooting range or organization or are a shooter.

 

To find shooting ranges in Kansas, go to www.ksoutdoors.com and click “Activities” then “Shooting Ranges”. There you’ll find a listing of all shooting ranges, which can be searched by county of location. Under “Archery” in the “Activities” drop-down menu, you’ll find a list of archery target ranges located on public land.

 

There are five Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) shooting ranges operated by friends groups within state parks or on wildlife areas: Fancy Creek Range in Tuttle Creek State Park, Hillsdale Range and Training Facility in Hillsdale State Park, Cheney Shooting Range on Cheney Wildlife Area, Hollister Shooting Range on the Hollister Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Fishing Lake Hunter Education Range and a soon to open range at El Dorado State Park. KDWPT ranges offer handgun and rifle lanes, and some offer skeet and trap ranges.

 

There are also archery target ranges on the following KDWPT areas: Byron Walker Wildlife Area, Clinton State Park, Eisenhower State Park, El Dorado State Park, Glen Elder State Park, Hillsdale State Park, Historic Lake Scott State Park, Lovewell State Park, Olathe Prairie Center, Prairie Dog State Park, Pratt Operations Office, Tuttle Creek State Park and Webster State Park.

 

Recreational shooting is a lifelong activity that not only gets you outdoors with family and friends but it also supports state wildlife agencies, which receive funding derived from excise taxes on firearms and ammunition through the Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) program. WSFR provides match funds to state wildlife agencies to be used for fish and wildlife programs, as well as public shooting range development.

 

Make time to visit a shooting range near you this month and if you can, take a youngster or new shooter with you: #letsgoshooting.

Ready or not, hunting seasons are coming

 

September 1 marks the opening of hunting seasons in Kansas, and the date is approaching fast. Once September gets here, the hunting season floodgates open with dove, teal, deer, greater prairie-chicken, and snipe seasons opening in quick succession. And while September can’t get here quickly enough for most hunters, there is much to do before it does.

 

First, go to www.ksoutdoors.com where you can apply for Special Hunts, which offer limited hunter access to areas not normally open to hunting. The application deadline for hunts that occur in September and October is 9 a.m., August 14. The application deadline for hunts in November, December, January and February is 9 a.m., Sept. 25. More than 400 hunts are being offered through a lottery drawing, all of which ensure hunters enjoy high-quality hunting experiences.

 

While you’re at ksoutdoors.com buy all your licenses and permits. You can also download the 2017 Kansas Hunting and Furharvesting Regulation Summary and 2017 Kansas Fall Hunting Atlas. Printed versions of each will be available by Sept. 1 at all Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism offices and hundreds of licenses vendors statewide. You can also request mailed copies by calling (620) 672-5911.

 

Once you have our licenses and permits, it’s time for some pre-season preparation and practice. Of course all your gear needs to be collected and examined before the seasons open. And more importantly, get out and practice shooting. Not only will pre-season practice make you more proficient but it will also help ensure that shotguns, bows, and rifles are in safe operating condition.

 

The best part about preparation is that it’s almost as fun as actually hunting, and it amps up anticipation of coming seasons. They’ll be here before you know it, so get out and get ready now.

Youth outdoor festival in Hays August 19

 

If you’re interested in introducing your child to the world of shooting sports, hunting, fishing and other outdoor-related activities, head out to Hays on August 19 for the 20th Annual Youth Outdoor Festival. Hays area businesses, conservation groups and shooting sports groups have teamed together to offer a free day of target shooting and outdoor activities for youth 17 and younger and your family is invited to attend. The event will be held Saturday, August 19 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hays City Sportsman’s Club, located 1/4 mile north of I-70 Exit 157.

 

Youth will learn the ins and outs of trap and skeet shooting, archery equipment, air rifles and BB guns, muzzleloaders, small-bore rifles, and more. There will also be a casting competition, paintball target shooting, and a furharvesting demonstration.

 

Youth will be closely supervised at each station by experienced volunteer instructors, and all equipment will be supplied. Hunter Education certification is not required, however, youth are required to be accompanied by an adult.

 

There is no cost to attend and families can register onsite the day of the event.

 

A free lunch will be provided courtesy of Eagle Communications and the Hays Chapter of Pheasants Forever. Youth will also have chances to win prizes, including guns, fishing tackle and other outdoor equipment.

 

For more information, contact Kent Hensley at (785) 726-3212 or Troy Mattheyer at (785) 726-4212.

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.