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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.

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

 

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.”

Aerial surveys to document Lesser Prairie-chicken population trends

 

Aerial surveys to count Lesser Prairie-chickens will begin March 16 and run through mid-May over five states containing Lesser Prairie-chicken habitat. The Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (WAFWA) conducts the surveys each spring when the birds gather at traditional leks, or dancing grounds. As part of the Lesser Prairie–chicken Range-wide Conservation Plan, the surveys are designed to document population trends and determine how birds are responding to the plan’s management strategies. The surveys will be conducted by helicopter in locations chosen randomly within Lesser Prairie-chicken range, which is part of the methodology strategy. In previous years, some of the fly paths prompted calls, which is why WAFWA is getting the word out about the start of aerial survey work.

The range-wide plan is a collaborative effort of WAFWA and the state wildlife agencies of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. It was developed to ensure conservation of the Lesser Prairie-chicken with voluntary cooperation of landowners and industry. The plan allows agriculture producers and industry to continue operations while reducing impacts to the bird and its grassland habitat.

“We’ve established a consistent methodology for these aerial surveys, working closely with the wildlife agencies of each of the states involved,” explained Roger Wolfe, WAFWA’s Lesser Prairie-chicken Program Manager. “We’re documenting population trends over time that will allow us to see how various management strategies for the bird are working on the ground.”

Results from this year’s surveys will be available on July 1 via www.wafwa.org.

Fall hunting seasons to be voted on March 23

 

The Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission will conduct its March public meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2017 in Topeka at the Capitol Plaza Hotel, Emerald Rooms I and II, 1717 SW Topeka Blvd. 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 recognition of Tuttle Creek State Park’s Blue Chip Award, a Blue Cross Blue Shield parks support update, and an overview of the agency’s new consolidated licensing/reservation system.

 

The Workshop Session will include reviews of webless migratory bird and waterfowl season recommendations, as well as threatened and endangered species regulations. Regulations concerning hunting on Glen Elder and Marion wildlife areas and the deer season dates on Fort Riley Military Reservation will also be discussed.

 

The evening portion of the meeting will convene at 6:30 p.m. for the Public Hearing. Commissioners will hear proposals for, and vote on, the 2017 fall seasons for antelope, elk, turkey and deer. Deer permit allocations will be set by Secretary’s Orders.

 

If necessary, the commission will reconvene at the same location at 9 a.m., March 24, to complete any unfinished business. Information about the Commission, as well as the March 23 meeting agenda and briefing book, can be downloaded at ksoutdoors.com/KDWPT-Info/Commission/Upcoming-Commission-Meetings.

 

Live video and audio streaming of the March 23 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 Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Commission secretary at (620) 672-5911.

 

The next Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism commission meeting is scheduled for April 20, 2017, at the KDWPT Headquarters, 512 SE 25th Ave., in Pratt.

Kansas boat taxes affordable

 

If you’re a Kansas boat owner or are thinking of buying a boat, you should know that property taxes on recreational boats have gone down as much as 75 percent since 2013. Before that, Kansas boat owners paid property taxes based on an assessed value that was 30 percent of the boat’s market worth. So if you owned a $30,000 boat, the assessed value was $9,000, and depending on the mill levee in the county you lived in, you could have paid more than $1,000 in annual property taxes.

 

Boats must be registered with the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) to operate on public waters, and that registration fee is just $32.50 for three years. Since counties use KDWPT’s registration lists to assess property taxes, many Kansans opted to register their boats in neighboring states where the property taxes were much less. In fact, according to the Oklahoma Department of Conservation, more than 5,000 Kansas boats were registered there in 2013.

 

Reducing the tax rate on Kansas boats required an amendment to the state’s constitution, and the Kansas legislature put that question on the ballot in November 2012. Voters approved the amendment and a new law took effect in 2013, reducing the assessment rate in phases – 11.5 percent in 2014 to 5 percent in 2015 where it remains.

 

The result has been a significant reduction in property taxes on boats. Take that $30,000 boat for example. If you own that boat in Pratt County, where the mill levee is 120, you’ll pay just $180 annually.

 

To get the word out, KDWPT began a campaign titled: “Own It Here, Use It Here, Register It Here.” The idea is to encourage Kansas boat owners to voluntarily register their boats locally, but KDWPT law enforcement officers will also step up enforcement of the law, which requires boats to be registered in the state of principal use. Boat registration fees fund boater education programs, construction and enhancement of boat access facilities, as well as other recreational boating programs. And Kansas counties depend on property taxes to fund county services.

 

Remember: Own It Here, Use It Here, Register It Here.

Kansas Wildlife, Parks and Tourism gets new licensing system

 

In late February, the computer license sales and reservation system the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism (KDWPT) has used for many years will be no more. A new and improved system, provided by Active Network, will go into full operation. Active Network has provided the software and point-of-sale hardware for 11 years that allowed KDWPT to accept campsite and cabin reservations and sell licenses online, maintaining all license records electronically. That contract expired and a new contract, with some changes, is now in place.

 

License buyers and campers won’t notice a big difference; however, the current license sales system will shut down at 9:45 p.m. on Feb. 18, and the new system will be online at 8 a.m. on Feb. 22. No license or permit sales will be available through the system for roughly three days. The campsite and cabin reservation system will shut down at 12:01 a.m., Feb. 20 and go back online at 6 p.m., Feb. 21.

 

While it may be inconvenient for anyone who tries to buy a license or make a reservation during the downtime, this time is important to allow data to be transferred, configurations to be completed and to ensure everything is working properly before going live. The new system will retain the KDWPT numbers of everyone who purchased a hunting or fishing license in the old system, and there will be no changes in pricing.

 

The new system will provide some advantages to users, including allowing customers to purchase hunting and fishing licenses at the same time they make camping or cabin reservations. It will allow customers to reprint licenses within 48 hours if they were unable to print during the transaction. Other features include allowing customers to browse available licenses and permits before they make a purchase, buy licenses or permits for multiple years when available (such as buying a 2017 hunting license and a 2016 HIP stamp) and logging in with an email address to edit personal information on record such as address and phone number.

 

One significant change with the new system involves permits that have carcass tags attached, such as deer, turkey, elk, and antelope, which could have been purchased from home and printed out on a desktop printer under the old system. This caused many issues for Law Enforcement since there was no way to prohibit someone from printing multiple carcass tags with one permit. In the new system, permits with carcass tags will have to be purchased and issued through a license agent or over the phone, in which case the permit/carcass tag will be mailed to the customer.

Kansas Bowhunters to meet in Hutchinson

 

The Kansas Bowhunters Association invites you to join them for their 44th Annual State Convention and Banquet in Hutchinson Feb. 24-26. If you have a passion for bowhunting, bowfishing, archery, outdoor gear, photography, paintings, arts and crafts, custom made knives, bows, antlers, wildlife or taxidermy, make plans to attend this fun-filled weekend. The Atrium Hotel and Conference Center, 1400 North Lorraine, will host the event. Rooms can be reserved at a discounted rate by calling 620-669-9311 by Feb. 17.

 

Friday evening will feature an informal gathering with Colorado-based bowhunter and writer Lou Phillipe, who has 45 years experience bowhunting big game. Saturday morning events include exhibitor displays, as well as a ladies’ get-together.  Saturday afternoon and evening include an informal question and answer period with staff from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, an awards ceremony and banquet with guest speaker presentation, fundraising auction, raffle drawings and kids pizza party. Sunday morning events include a worship service and guest speaker presentation.       

 

For more information and to purchase admission tickets, contact Barry at 316-299-8845 or e-mail kbasec@gmail.com.

KDWPT biologists discuss bobwhites In new TV series

 

“Bobwhites on the Brink,” a five-part film series by the syndicated television conservation news magazine, This American Land, examines the reasons for the nationwide decline of the bobwhite quail and the efforts being made to reverse the trend on the American landscape. In the fourth segment (#604) of the series, viewers are brought to Kansas in large part due to the success of the state’s Conservation Reserve Program in providing species habitat. The segment explores how agricultural operations in the U.S. have morphed from small field/multi-farm set-ups, to giant corporate expanses of row crop acreage, and how Kansas is leading the country in demonstrating how bobwhite habitat can be successfully integrated on working lands.

 

Some Kansans may have viewed the series on Smoky Hills Public Television and on the Kansas Topeka Washburn University PBS stations late last year, but for those who missed it, there’s still time to tune in. “Bobwhites on the Brink” will air on KTWU Channel 11, Topeka, Sundays at 3:30 p.m., beginning January 15. However, the last two shows of the series (#604 and #605) will air at 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. on February 5 in a 1-hour block. The series will also be available online on the This American Land website, www.thisamericanland.org/Episodes/season-six; on NBCI’s YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/user/BringBackBobwhites; and on the KDWPT website, ksoutdoors.com/Hunting/Upland-Birds/Bobwhite-Quail.

 

The National Bobwhite Conservation Initiative (NBCI), in partnership with select states, worked over a period of several months to help develop the story. The Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism worked directly with NBCI to demonstrate how the expansion of mechanized clean-farming techniques in row crop agriculture have effected bobwhite quail, among other grassland birds and wildlife species.

 

In addition to Kansas, film crews visited South Carolina, Texas, and Kentucky to document how a decline in active forest management and the conversion of livestock grazing operations from native grasses to exotic fescue across millions of acres, combined with changes in row-crop agriculture, have decimated habitat range-wide for bobwhites and related wildlife over time.