A Plan for the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Strategic Plan Seventh Edition
“Equal opportunity to participate in and benefit from programs described herein is available to all individuals without regard to race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or handicap. Complaints of discrimination should be sent to the Office of the Secretary, Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, 1020 S. Kansas Ave, Suite 200, Topeka, KS 66612-1327. Partially Funded by Pittman-Robertson / Dingell-Johnson Federal Aid
DEPARTMENT OF WILDLIFE AND PARKS
KATHLEEN SEBELIUS, GOVERNOR
The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks is mandated to protect and conserve Kansas’ wildlife and habitats, and to provide the public with opportunities to use and appreciate those resources. The Department is further tasked with keeping the public informed as to the wellbeing of those resources. The challenges confronting the Department to succeed in balancing these responsibilities are numerous and complex. The Department provides access through our parks, wildlife areas, and lakes, and through leasing, creating easements or other agreements, taking into consideration the long term impacts on natural resources that can occur in attempting to meet the public’s demand for quality outdoor experiences. Significant issues must be addressed. Habitat loss and degradation continue to threaten our native wildlife populations. The acquisition of easements, leases or new public lands and waters, continues to be essential, especially near urban areas. Operating costs continue to rise while income from traditional sources (fish and wildlife licenses and Park fees) is declining. Our overall constituent numbers continue to increase as recreation trends, demands and desires continue to broaden on our public lands and waters. New funding sources associated with nontraditional constituent groups need to be investigated. Effective coordination among all the Department’s personnel, and other State and Federal agencies continues to be indispensable for effective natural resources and recreation management. The Department is establishing clear and easily accessible lines of communication with our constituents, other state agencies, legislators and private organizations. Meaningful communication between these groups is critical to successfully achieving the goals and objectives contained in this strategic plan. Education is also essential to understanding how conservation, protection and outdoor recreation management efforts interact in the formulation of natural resources and outdoor recreation policies. These policies and how they are implemented can affect generations to come. These challenges are not insurmountable. Comprehensive management planning, along with the input of dedicated Department personnel, can provide a framework for meeting these challenges. The 7th Edition of the Department’s Strategic Plan, A Plan for Kansas Wildlife and Parks, outlines the Department’s goals, objectives, issues and strategies for meeting these challenges head-on. I sincerely look forward to working with you, my staff and constituents, in the arduous tasks we need to accomplish during the next few years. Sincerely,
Secretary Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Office of the Secretary 1020 S. Kansas Ave., Ste. 200, Topeka, KS 6 Fax 785 - 296 - 6953
Phone 785 – 296 - 2281
TABLE OF CONTENTS Mission Statement........................................................................................................... 6 Commission Perspectives ............................................................................................... 7 Department Organization and Structure.......................................................................... 9 Strategic Planning ......................................................................................................... 11 Common Issues ............................................................................................................ 15 Providing for Outdoor Recreation .................................................................................. 25 Hunting.......................................................................................................................... 34 Hunting on Private Lands and Waters ....................................................................... 35 Species Management ................................................................................................ 36 Deer ....................................................................................................................... 36 Elk .......................................................................................................................... 37 Pronghorn (Antelope)............................................................................................. 38 Furbearers ............................................................................................................. 38 Tree Squirrels and Rabbits .................................................................................... 39 Ducks, Geese and Swans...................................................................................... 39 Migratory, Shore and Upland Birds ........................................................................ 40 Ring-necked Pheasant........................................................................................... 40 Quail....................................................................................................................... 41 Prairie-chickens...................................................................................................... 41 Wild Turkey ............................................................................................................ 41 Fishing........................................................................................................................... 51 Streams and Rivers ................................................................................................... 52 Reservoirs ................................................................................................................. 52 Lakes ......................................................................................................................... 53 Private Impoundments............................................................................................... 54 Aquatic Education...................................................................................................... 54 Boating .......................................................................................................................... 57 Watercraft Registration .............................................................................................. 57 Regulatory Responsibilities........................................................................................ 58 Watercraft safety awareness and compliance ........................................................... 58 Watercraft Law .......................................................................................................... 58 Conserving Habitat and Species ................................................................................... 64 Water Issues.............................................................................................................. 64 Wetlands.................................................................................................................... 65
Regulatory Authority .................................................................................................. 66 Exotic Wildlife ............................................................................................................ 67 Educational Efforts..................................................................................................... 67 Enforcing the Law.......................................................................................................... 74 Fish and Wildlife Resource ........................................................................................ 74 Public Lands Resource:............................................................................................. 75 Boating Resource ...................................................................................................... 75 General Enforcement................................................................................................. 76
Mission Statement To better execute the diverse responsibilities of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, the Department has adopted the following mission statement. Fish, wildlife and outdoor recreation are important to the quality of life for all Kansans and to the Kansas economy. As the public steward of the Kansas natural resources, the mission of the Department of Wildlife and Parks is to: Conserve and Enhance Kansas' natural heritage, its wildlife and its habitats to ensure future generations the benefits of the state's diverse, living resources; Provide the public with opportunities for use and appreciation of the natural resources of Kansas, consistent with the conservation of those resources; Inform the public of the status of the natural resources of Kansas to promote understanding and gain assistance in achieving this mission.
As a cabinet-level agency, the Department of Wildlife and Parks is administered by the Secretary of Wildlife and Parks and is advised by a seven member Wildlife and Parks Commission. All positions are appointed by the Governor with the Commissioners serving staggered four year terms. Serving as a regulatory body for the Department, the Commission is a non-partisan board advising the Secretary on planning and policy issues regarding administration of the Department. Regulations approved by the Commission are adopted and administered by the Secretary. The initial intent of the Secretary and Commission organization structure was to establish a department of highly trained, educated and motivated employees administered by a professional-level Secretary complimented by a Commission sensitive to the desires of the Department's constituency. With this structure, all involved must be sensitive to the needs of the constituency groups while protecting and enhancing the wildlife resources and state parks of Kansas. The Commission, and the role it plays, has overcome many obstacles, growing pains and negative perceptions. The driving force behind the Commission action has always been the goals and objectives of monitoring the wildlife and natural resources of our state and this must continue. With approximately 97 percent of the land in Kansas privately owned, the need to ensure constituent access for outdoor opportunities has become crucial. Guarding against the overuse of our public resources must be a priority consideration in all resources management planning conducted by the Department. While we encourage new generations of Kansans to experience the wealth of natural resources opportunities in this state, we must give priority to ensuring that access will be available in adequate quantity to safeguard against overuse. Attention must be given to addressing management planning needs for all aspects of the Department. Current levels of game species can be maintained and enhanced only through well-documented planning. Definite goals and objectives must be developed with input from the professionals and the public. The status and
safeguarding of threatened and endangered species belong to this Department and must be actively pursued. Our wildlife and waterways are a legacy we are entrusted with maintaining. This Commission values the public role in planning the future for our natural resources. This plan is only a beginning toward a future rich with possibilities. We invite you to join us as we embark on the journey. ____________________________ John R. Dykes, Chairman
____________________________ Gerald W. Lauber
____________________________ Lori Hall
____________________________ Dr. James Harrington
____________________________ Kelly Johnson
____________________________ Doug Sebelius
____________________________ Shari Wilson
Department Organization and Structure
The Secretary is authorized by state statutes (K.S.A. 1990 Supp. 32-701, et seq.) to establish policies and administer and regulate the use of the state's natural resources. The Secretary may organize, operate and govern the transaction of business and the administration of the Department as the Secretary deems most efficient, so long as the same is not in conflict with the provisions of the law. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks accomplishes these activities through five divisions: Administrative Services, Executive Services, Parks, Law Enforcement and Fisheries and Wildlife. The principal responsibilities of each division are as follows:.
The Administrative Services Division is responsible for providing support services to all divisions. Functions within the division are license and revenue services, management of the daily business of the Department and responsibility for compliance with state and federal government requirements.
This division consists of the Executive staff (Secretary, the Assistant Secretaries, their immediate staff, legal, legislative liaison, Planning and Federal Aid, and Natural Resources Coordination). Under the Assistant Secretary of Administration are Data Processing and Information Technology, Budget, Personnel and Engineering. Under the Assistant Secretary of Operations is the Education and Information Section (I&E), and Environmental Services. I&E is responsible for providing a comprehensive program of public education and information (except for Internet based information, which is under Information Technology). The magazine and the Department's marketing efforts are also responsibilities of this division. Federal Aid and Planning section is responsible for Pitmann-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson, Section 6 and SWG/WCRP Federal Aid, and strategic and operational planning. Environmental Services is the permitting branch of KDWP, and also conducts the Department’s Threatened and Endangered and non-game programs. The efforts of this division support programs of Fisheries and Wildlife and Parks Divisions.
Fisheries and Wildlife
The Fisheries and Wildlife Division is responsible for the management of fish and wildlife resources, research and analysis of technical data, and evaluation of fish and wildlife populations. The Division also assists in the assessment of statewide regulatory efforts and environmental concerns. Activities include producing and stocking of fish, providing private lands liaison services, and conducting surveys related to fish and wildlife population and harvest. In addition, the division provides
technical expertise concerning activities that may affect wildlife populations and protects and monitors environmental activities. Public Lands (State Fishing Lakes and Wildlife Areas) are also administered within this Division. These lands are managed for a diversity fish and wildlife habitats and related recreation. These areas are managed for fish and wildlife purposes with a low level of development to enhance accessibility to the public.
The Law Enforcement Division is responsible for enforcing laws and regulations pertaining to fish, wildlife, boating and the environment. The function of the Law Enforcement Division is to support the other divisions in protecting the state's natural resources and ensuring public safety. Division personnel also are responsible for assisting with educational efforts, including hunter, furharvester and aquatic education, boating safety and wildlife interpretive programs. Selective law enforcement operations, including investigating the illegal commercialization of wildlife resources, are conducted by a special investigations unit. The Operation Game Thief Program, which encourages citizen involvement in reporting wildlife law violations, is also administered by this division.
The Parks Division is responsible for State Parks under the control and management of the Department. Park lands are managed for a diversity recreation experiences and fish and wildlife recreation. Responsibilities include development and maintenance of public access and public use facilities. In addition, the Parks Division is responsible for administering local park grant programs, and cooperative agreements with COE and BOR as affects the State Parks.
The Seventh Edition of A Plan for Kansas Wildlife and Parks is part of the state's commitment to construct a framework for outdoor recreation and natural resources management within the constraints of the Department’s mission statement, and legislative and gubernatorial directives. The Department wishes to use its strategic planning process to define a process to conserve and enhance natural resources, provide outdoor recreation and educate and inform the public of these resources and opportunities. Strategic planning is an internal assessment to look at -- where we are, as a baseline and in terms of previous Strategic Planning, where we want to go, and how we get there. With this assessment, the Strategic Plan becomes the mechanism to articulate the Department's future in terms of its mandates. The 1991 Strategic Plan serves as a basis for the current 2004 Strategic Plan, and will guide the Department in natural resources and outdoor recreation management in Kansas for the period of 2004 to 2009. Through strategic planning the Department: Establishes Department goals and objectives. Identifies general issues and problems facing protection and management of natural resources and outdoor recreation. Formulates strategies to resolve these issues and problems. Identifies future opportunities and threats to natural resources. Alerts the public to Department direction and actions. Involves all personnel in Department planning. Encourages and maintains public involvement in Department planning. Provides documentation for Department direction and priorities.
Division level management plans provide the detailed objectives and strategies needed to more effectively manage a specific Department program, wildlife species or public land or water area. The process that converts the Strategic Plan and management plans into projects, personnel and funding needs is operational planning. Operational planning allows allocation of financial resources and personnel in a systematic and efficient manner consistent with the Strategic Plan and financial considerations. The 2004 Strategic Plan is based on previous strategic plans and identifies natural resources management and outdoor recreation issues. The issues in each chapter are grouped together by topic and do not necessarily reflect a priority. Prioritization will take place under a separate document, Focus 2004.
In addition to identifying goals, objectives, issues and strategies for the Department, formulation of the Strategic Plan is an objective the Federal Aid in Sport
Fish and Wildlife Restoration Programs and Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Grant FW-10-C, “to manage, direct and coordinate federal aid activities of the Department’s strategic and operational planning system.” The Strategic Plan will incorporate the SCORP plan for the Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan, as required by Congress in order to participate in the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program and State Wildlife Grant Program. The Federal Aid in Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, commonly referred to as the Pittman-Robertson (PR) and the Dingell-Johnson (DJ), have provided federal funding to state wildlife and fisheries agencies to aid in their management activities for wildlife and sport fish. These programs are supported by excise taxes collected on selected hunting and fishing equipment, including boats, and from a portion of the motorboat fuel tax. Funding from these programs typically constitutes over 20 percent of the Department's total budget. The Department received more than $6.5 million from these programs in 2004. Federal LWCF dollars, generated by a tax from off-continental shelf oil drilling, are used to finance state and local government land acquisition and recreation development programs. Since the program began in 1965, Kansas has received over $40.4 million; funding 540 acquisition and development projects for state and local outdoor recreation. The acquisition projects provided 9,320 acres of outdoor recreation areas. The development projects funded new recreation facilities, such as picnic areas, outdoor courts or fields and swimming pools, as well as, hiking, bicycling, walking and nature trails. In 2001, Congress provided an appropriation known as the Wildlife Conservation Restoration Program (WCRP). The purpose of WCRP is "to address the unmet needs for a diverse array of wildlife and associated habitats" for wildlife conservation, conservation education, and wildlife associated recreation. To be eligible for these funds, derived from the Land and Water Conservation Fund, each state must develop a Wildlife Conservation Strategy. In 2002, Congress provided WCRP funds, and in 2003 and 2004 State Wildlife Grant funds, both with the similar requirements.
Strategic Plan Preparation
To begin the strategic planning process a steering committee was formed, consisting of members from each of the Department's five divisions. The committee's primary purpose was to guide the development a new strategic plan for the Department. The first step was to determine if goals, objectives, issues and strategies previously identified in the 1991 Sixth Edition of the Strategic Plan were met, or if progress was made towards meeting them, and if they are still valid today. To accomplish that goal, an electronic bulletin board was established to gather in-house comments. Next, individual sections of A Plan for Kansas Wildlife and Parks Strategic Plan, Sixth Edition, 1991 – 1996 (as written by the Planning Section under Jack Lacey, Secretary and John Herron, Assistant Secretary, 1991) were given to appropriate personnel (e.g. fisheries section of the plan given to the Chief of Fisheries) to evaluate the applicable goals, objectives, issues and strategies.
The steering committee then reviewed a list of proposed chairmen for the various disciplines with the Strategic Plan. Chairpersons were contacted to coordinate and develop each major chapter or section with the assistance of knowledgeable and interested individuals from the Department and the public. The various chairpersons reviewed the existing established goals and objectives, issues and problems, and strategies from the 1991 timeframe for applicability to the new plan. Public input and participation was gained in a statewide survey on participation in outdoor recreation activities in 2002 by Responsive Management, and is incorporated into this plan. The SCORP plan, developed in 2003, is also used in this plan. In addition, review of the draft plan was announced to the public through the Kansas Register and the news media. National and other state surveys were also used to provide outdoor recreation data and trends. Comments received on the draft were considered and, where appropriate, incorporated into this final strategic plan. The strategic plan was prepared with the understanding that it is a dynamic, working document that represents the direction of the Department and establishes an ongoing management system. Strategic planning is a continual and ongoing process and is not intended to represent the final work of any Department program.
Department Operational Planning
Every year, the Department initiates the budget process in December, one and a half years prior to the fiscal year being planned. At the beginning of each budget planning cycle, the Secretary establishes Department priorities for that fiscal year planning cycle. Proposed projects that address those priorities are more likely to receive funding approval. The Secretary's priorities, and the instructions for submitting new projects or enhancements to Operation and Maintenance projects are sent to Division Directors in December via e-mail. In February, proposed new projects and enhancements are submitted on a one page short form to the Department Secretary. In addition, all Operation and Maintenance projects are rejustified upon request of the Assistant Secretary of Operations. This ensures that all ongoing projects are periodically evaluated for continued funding. All submitted short form project proposals are reviewed by the Assistant Secretaries. They select projects for further detailed budget development. These proposals are submitted back to the Assistant Secretaries by April for final budget consideration.
Between April to June each long form capital improvement project proposal is reviewed by the Engineering and Environmental Services Sections. These projects are then forwarded to the Secretary and Assistant Secretaries by June for approval to be included in the Department proposed fiscal year budget. During this time funding sources, including federal funding participation, are identified for each project. The Department budget is developed based on the new and enhancement project proposals approved by the Secretary and Assistant Secretaries along with the continuing operation and maintenance projects. The budget is submitted in two parts; the Capital Improvement Budget on July 1 and the complete Department budget document on September 15. The State Division of Budget reviews the Department's budget and makes their recommendations to the Governor. The Governor's recommendations are provided to the Legislature the following January and during the legislative session (January through April) the legislature and Governor give final approval of the submitted budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Final funding determinations of project proposals are not known until May, nearly a year and a half after the short form project proposals were first submitted.
Capturing and shaping public interest is becoming more and more critical in these times of shortage of funds. Two major public relations problems have surfaced. First, there are more options for leisure time than ever existed before. As people get more and more urbanized, values change, and outdoors as a setting for leisure pursuits is losing out to video, fine arts, and pursuits that can take place in a controlled environment. Contributing to this problem, People are less physically fit than ever before. In order to “capture” the public, it is imperative that KDWP listens to our existing constituency, and seeks out potential constituents to make our “product” appealing, then to provide what they want. Secondly, fewer dollars are available for leisure pursuits. KDWP needs to promote “once-a-year investment” forms of fish and wildlife recreation. (fishing, wildlife observation, annual park pass for families (all people in one vehicle are covered by the pass). Instead of “informing,” all KDWP employees need to redirect efforts towards communicating with the public, in an exchange of information, with KDWP identifying what is available, and the public feeding back what it wants.
Dollars for operating KDWP come from 4 major sources. They are, in order of magnitude, fees collected for wildlife licenses, federal aid, Park fees, State General Funds and boating fees. The balances in the recipient KDWP funds (Wildlife Fee Fund, Park Fee Fund, Boating Fee Fund, etc.) have shown a decline over the last 5 years because revenue has not kept up with rising costs. Other sources are donations, cooperation with outdoor organizations.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goal: Stabilize or increase existing funding sources, and develop new resources. Objectives:
• • • • Stabilize or increase existing funding sources at current levels Increase traditional uses (recruit more constituents) by 10% by 2009 Increase efficiency of operations to better utilize available funds Find new sources of revenue
Problem / Issue: In most cases, existing fund balances are declining Strategies: 1. Secure additional General Funds by educating legislators and other key decision makers. 2. Stabilize or increase license sales by maintaining traditional user base, and recruiting new users 3. Comply with all Federal Aid guidelines so as to validate all claimed expenses. 4. Use all Federal Aid available, including PR, DJ, LWCF, NRT, Americorps, SWG, BOR. 5. Find and use other funding sources. 6. Seek dedicated funding such as an excise tax on real estate, RV’s, outdoor equipment. 7. Cost share with groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Wild Turkey Federation, City and county entities, etc, or use their contribution in place of state match, where possible on grants. 8. Identify and consider products and services that are suitable for partnerships 9. Increase cost of licenses 10. Utilize appropriate, non-traditional, alternative labor forces (e.g. inmate labor). Issue / Problem: Urbanization and other sociological changes are reducing participation in outdoor recreation pursuits, resulting in reduction in fish and wildlife license sales and underutilization of parks. Strategies: 1. Expand efforts to develop and conduct outdoor recreation skills clinics and education programs, particularly in urban areas. 2. Continue and expand urban nature centers, nature trails, and wildlife and wildflower viewing opportunities for urban residents. 3. Develop and publish youth oriented information and education materials related to outdoor recreation pursuits. Issue / Problem: The Department needs to enhance support among existing and potential public lands constituent groups. Strategies: 1. Develop and implement programs involving constituent groups and community organizations in public lands issues and projects. 2. Encourage Department personnel to become involved in constituent groups. 3. Solicit public input through support groups to assist in planning for future operations and development. 4. Encourage Friends groups 5. Implement partnerships with colleges, universities, employee groups and other professional organizations to expand student internship opportunities and enhance entry-level recruitment
Issue / Problem: The Department is not collecting fees from all users of public areas. Strategies: 1. Develop methods for combining and simplifying permit issuance. 2. Designate new camping areas on a broader range of Department lands. 3. Install more self-pay stations where appropriate. 4. Develop strategies to collect revenue from secondary users on Wildlife Areas and State Fishing Lakes.
Resolving Conflicting Uses Goal: Evaluate uses on lands under KDWP control for optimal use balancing recreational use with conservation, preservation, and restoration of the state’s natural resources. Objectives:
• • Resolve conflicts, and clearly define use on all Department areas. Document results of conflict resolution.
Issue / Problem: Water levels most desirable for fisheries are not always attainable because of conflicting uses. Strategies: 1. Assess and promote the economic value of natural resource-related recreation compared to other uses. 2. Acquire water storage for special fisheries projects. 3. Document the impacts of existing water level plans on fish populations, recreational boating and park use and evaluate proposals to achieve desired water levels. 4. Advocate more flexibility among water management agencies in water level plans. 5. Develop techniques to supply lakes with water where needed. 6. Obtain more water rights. Issue / Problem: Department management and development projects sometimes have undesirable impacts on aesthetics, environmental quality, native plant communities, wildlife habitats and other natural resources. Strategies: 1. Incorporate management practices to protect and enhance natural resources when planning and developing Department projects.
2. Inventory, map and document the occurrence of rare native plants and unique geology on Department areas. 3. Continue to mitigate losses caused by development on Department areas. 4. Investigate clustering compatible facilities, or relocating facilities to lessen impacts. 5. Redesign areas or establish management practices to remove conflicts between adjacent incompatible uses. 6. Utilize the expertise and cooperative assistance of all KDWP divisions, as well as other public and private institutions and local entities in addressing resource management issues at public land areas and/or regional levels. Issue / Problem: On a given piece of property, unless fish, wildlife and other outdoor recreational purposes are established, management conflicts arise. Strategy: 1. Develop management plans with defined purposes and long range goals for all Department properties. Issue / Problem: Agriculture leases on some Department properties are not managed consistently with the Department's goals and objectives. Strategies: 1. Adopt agricultural management techniques commensurate with wildlife and recreational needs. 2. Improve and standardize Department agriculture leasing policies and procedures. 3. Use Department lands as education laboratories to demonstrate agriculture land management techniques that emphasize environmental stewardship. 4. Increase application and enforcement of agriculture leasing policies and procedures. Issue / Problem: Cultural and historic sites on Department lands need to be identified and protected. Strategies: 1. Cooperate with the State Historical Society and archaeologists in the inventory, protection and management of identified sites. 2. Identify, designate and promote cultural and historical sites on Department lands. 3. Complete GIS maps and analyze historical, cultural, and natural resource inventories for each public land. Issue / Problem: Demand for a diversity of recreation facilities and opportunities is growing, creating conflicts among users and between users and resources. Strategies: 1. Identify and prioritize the purpose for each recreation facility area.
2. Develop plans for diversified recreation facilities, with attention to separating conflicting activities and managing traffic flow. 3. Redesign areas or establish management practices to remove conflicts between adjacent incompatible uses. 4. Upgrade existing designs to accommodate current and future recreation uses. 5. Upgrade existing camp sites and other high impact use areas to clearly delineate them from other sites and areas. 6. Develop statewide literature explaining permissible activities on Department lands. 7. Use site specific signs and bulletin boards to inform users of regulations. 8. Improve public compliance with regulations through public education.
Providing Public Safety and Access Goal: To utilize existing technology and knowledge to provide for the safest and most accessible experience possible for KDWP constituency. Objective:
• • • Meet or exceed Federal accessibility requirements on all properties by 2009 Develop and implement a basic standard of safety features for all types of Department properties Reduce accident rates on public lands and waters by 20% by 2009
Issue / Problem: Improvements are needed to increase visitor safety and accessibility at Department facilities and lands. Strategies: 1. Provide public telephones and emergency number lists at intensive recreation facility development areas. 2. Implement a routine safety inspection program for all areas. 3. Develop and implement emergency and disaster response plans for all recreation development areas in conjunction with local, state and federal public safety organizations. 4. Develop a Department communication network to enhance public and personnel safety. 5. Develop an education program for park and public land visitors to enhance public health and safety. 6. Continue to enhance visitor safety and protection activities at state parks with special emphasis on parks with overnight accommodations near urban areas. 7. Continue ADA improvements with available funds. Issue / Problem: Strategies Public safety needs to be adequately addressed.
1. Review selective on-site enforcement practices in all areas of the state to provide for increased public safety. 2. Standardize Department permits, functions, reporting and inspection requirements. 3. Use public relations to explain the role of Department law enforcement personnel.
Coordinating with Other Agencies
With the economics of the time, and more competition for the dollar, it is important for efficiency to become a critical issue. Coordination with others will help KDWP to become more efficient. Too often there is repetition in government services, and different agencies are causing overlap and requiring actions that are in conflict with other agencies. Coordination between the permitting agencies, with the state coordination act, has smoothed problems out. Perhaps similar (but not permitting) agreements could be worked out which would likewise benefit the operations of KDWP Coordination with other agencies within the state, and with Federal government will enhance KDWP’s efforts in fulfilling the mission statement. Overlap of responsibility and duplication of effort occurs with such state agencies as Department of Water Resources, Travel and Tourism, Department of Transportation, Department of Agriculture, Health and Environment.
Goal: Create an atmosphere with other governmental agencies where coordination is an automatic, standard procedure. Objective:
• Create official channels of communication through MOA’s, etc with all other state agencies that have a vested interest.
Issue / Problem: Improve coordination with Department of Water Resources. Strategies 1. Explore and act on potential for federal grants dealing with water resources. 2. Continue to coordinate on minimum stream flows. 3. Continue to coordinate on conservation pools in reservoirs. 4. Report water use on existing water rights, and coordinate on enforcement. 5. Through the State Coordination Act, continue to coordinate on environmental permitting. Issue / Problem: Improve coordination with Travel and Tourism. (see also Communicating with the Public) Strategies: 1. Coordinate public information and promotion of Kansas State Parks. 2. Work together to develop an Information campaign on hunting and fishing in Kansas.
Issue / Problem: Improve coordination with Department of Transportation. Strategies 1. Continue coordination on paving park interior roads, and bridge work. 2. Work closely on environmental concerns on river crossings, coordinating early in the planning process where possible, and incorporating mitigation into initial plans. 3. Cooperatively work to address deer /vehicle accidents and deer travel corridors as they relate to highways. 4. Use native forbs and grasses for revegetation on highway right-of-ways. 5. Ensure that borrow and staging areas on highway construction are addressed in initial planning. Issue / Problem: Improve coordination with Kansas State Research and Extension. Strategies: 1. Expand involvement with County Extension offices, particularly 4H. 2. Coordinate and participate in noxious weed prevention 3. Coordinate on definitions and Introduction of exotic species Issue / Problem: Improve coordination with Health and Environment Strategies 1. Coordinate on environmental permitting 2. work together on toxic waste problems 3. Participate at early stages of facility construction Issue / Problem: State Wildlife Grant (SWG) funding requires coordination with Indian Nations, and other programs would benefit from the effort. Strategies: 1. Utilize contacts available through the SWG process to initiate contact. 2. Coordinate as appropriate.
Communicating with the Public
Effective communication with the public is essential to the Department's mission. Without public understanding and support the Department's programs and goals are unattainable. In Kansas, and nationally, outdoor recreation preferences are changing. The Department must meet the needs of hunters, anglers, trappers campers, bird watchers, water skiers, nature photographers, canoeists, target shooters, hikers, recreation vehicle users, windsurfers, field trialers, swimmers, naturalists, bicyclists, pleasure boaters and more. A greater variety of and demand for outdoor recreation is represented, resulting in increased need for information and education services.
A variety of media methods are used by the Department for providing information to the public. Among the resources available are: a weekly news release package, a bimonthly full color magazine (Kansas Wildlife & Parks), video production and editing capability, regulations brochures, special publications, still photography services, special events coordination, media liaison functions, and direct contact with constituents.
Goals: Achieve a timely, responsive flow of information to heighten public awareness and appreciation of Kansas' natural resources and the Department. Conduct information programs to enhance the safety and proficiency of Kansas outdoor recreation users. Communicate effectively with the public to promote appreciation of the natural resources of Kansas incorporating other state, federal, local government agencies, the news media, private organizations, special interest groups and interested individuals. Provide information and customer service that promotes recruitment of new hunters, anglers and park users, while also retaining current constituents. Objectives:
• • • • • • To produce and improve all atlases, user guides and regulation brochures for statewide distribution. To utilize video programs to assist with education and information efforts to reach and recruit new hunters, anglers and park users. To examine all publication and communication efforts and determine what changes, deletions, and additions must be made to better serve Department constituents. To incorporate evaluation and assessment tools to accurately measure effectiveness of informational/educational efforts. To investigate and use the Internet as an effective communication tool by creating a website which allows for interaction with the public. To form partnerships and other alliances with non-governmental organizations as a method of interacting special interest groups within the public.
Issue / Problem: Informing a majority of Department constituents about issues and events is difficult. Releases made to state news media may only be used regionally and intermittently. Strategies: 1. Broaden information made available by the Department to include a wider variety of outdoor recreation pursuits. 2. Increase special events, interpretive visitor centers and environmental, historical and cultural education programs. 3. Produce comprehensive recreation guides for hunting, fishing, boating, state parks and wildlife viewing. 4. Use media to provide information to the public regarding programs, projects and special events. 5. Produce brochures for Department properties and promote underused recreation resources and opportunities. 6. Distribute Department information at local, state and regional recreation shows. 7. Increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through mass media. 8. Enlist and train volunteers to inform the public about Department programs and facilities. 9. Provide basic information maps for all Department public areas. 10. Increase the use of news release packages. 11. Increase involvement of the outside media through more direct contact by Department staff. 12. Maintain communications with outdoor travel and sports writers and editors. 13. Solicit volunteers and free-lance professionals to assist in the production of media materials. Issue / Problem: Strategies: 1. Inform the public on how their management actions can contribute to the problem. 2. Provide increased training for those involved in animal control damage. Issue / Problem: Information required for determining constituent needs and expectations is often absent or incomplete, reducing the Department’s effectiveness and credibility. Many wildlife damage control problems could be avoided by informing the public about wildlife behavior.
Strategies: 1. Collaborate regularly with KDWP research and survey staff to discern pertinent issues and desires of specific user groups contacted as part of constituent sampling and survey efforts. 2. Benchmark customer awareness and marketing efforts of counterpart agencies in other states to assist similar efforts in Kansas 3. Regularly consult public opinion reports and surveys performed by national partner organizations, such as the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, to gain insights on constituent needs and expectations. 23
4. Encourage feedback from constituents by placing customer satisfaction postcards at all KDWP offices. 5. Increase contact with the public and ensure that personnel respond to public inquiries accurately, thoroughly, courteously and promptly. 6. Coordinate with Kansas Department of Travel and Tourism. Issue / Problem: Additional input on customer satisfaction and desires needs to be actively solicited, and information evaluated and applied.
Strategies: 1. Continue to solicit feedback in an effort to provide exemplary service to KDWP patrons. 2. Assess the expectations and demands of both existing and potential users. 3. Modernize selected current facilities in response to visitor feedback and increased demand, particularly in Parks. 4. Explore various campsite and facility reservation options and implement pilot programs to determine the most feasible options 5. Improve and expand educational and recreational programs, services and activites for families. 6. Consider the development of resorts on public lands. Issue / Problem: KDWP needs to broaden the customer base. Strategies: 1. Explore ways to make KDWP properties more accessible and desirable to nonusers 2. Utilize various approaches, including the Internet, to inform potential customers regarding the wide range of KDWP public land facilities. 3. Implement and evaluate new programs to serve school-aged youth, as well as attract non-users
Providing for Outdoor Recreation
NOTE: Hunting, Fishing and Boating, because of their prominence within the responsibility of KDWP, will be discussed in detail in separate sections. Kansans place a high value on the outdoors; it is central to the quality of their lives and the quality of their communities. Recreation in Kansas encompasses a wide range of indoor and outdoor activities, open-space areas and recreation facilities. Of Kansas residents, age 16 and over, approximately 88 percent of those surveyed participate in some type of outdoor recreation (Hardt, 1990). Outdoor recreation provides significant social, economic and environmental benefits. Because these benefits are difficult to assess in dollars; recreation and resources protection often suffer in competition with other programs for public and private funding.
Kansas Recreation Trends
In a 1989 survey of Kansas residents, outdoor recreation participation was greatest for wildlife observation, day use activities at state parks; fishing; walking, jogging or bicycling on trails; motor boating or jet skiing; and developed camping (Hardt, 1990). In 2001, a replicate survey was done, with participation greatest again for wildlife observation (a slight rise from 1989). In descending order, next was day use in parks (about the same), use of jogging/bicycling/walking trails (up from 1989), fishing, (about the same) developed camping (about the same), and camping at undeveloped sites (up from 1989) (Responsive Management, 2001). Two other areas showed a change - hiking/backpacking approximately doubled and power boating showed a slight decline from 1989 (Responsive Management, 2001). Growth in outdoor recreation pursuits increases the demand for public lands and waters and associated facilities and services. Visitation at state parks in 1990 was estimated at 4.1 million visitors. In 2001, visitation was 7.52 million. Demands for public lands and waters continue to increase for a variety of recreation pursuits. In 1985, of the people participating in wildlife observation in Kansas, 61 percent visited public lands (U.S. Department of Interior, 1988). In 2001, the percentage jumped to 80% (U/. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, 2001 p. 35). This large portion is supported on less than 3 percent of the total land area in the state. A number of factors limited participation by Kansans in outdoor recreation (Hardt, 1990, Responsive Management, 2001). The most common reasons were "not enough time", "not interested" and "physical limitations". For those who did not already participate, "needing more information" about particular activities was a critical limiting factor. The scarcity of outdoor recreation lands and facilities was also an important reason for reduced participation in activities. Participants also indicated that having to "travel too far" to reach an existing recreation area or facility reduced their activity level.
The expense of participating was also considered a barrier for some activities by both participants and non-participants. Canoeists, horseback riders and off-road vehicle users reported "lack of public facilities" as a major factor limiting their outdoor pursuits. The demand for outdoor recreation opportunities is further demonstrated by the fact that 30 percent of state park users drive more than 50 miles for access to existing public lands and waters (KDWP, 1989, unpublished). At least 50 percent of the visitors rated the following activities as high to medium in importance when at the state parks: camping, picnicking, fishing, sightseeing, motorboating, nature trail use, and hiking. Observing wildlife in the park was important to 83 percent of park visitors. Regularly scheduled nature programs were available in only four public land units in 1989, yet 21 percent of the total survey respondents attended these programs. Seventy-six percent said they would visit nature centers if such facilities were available on public lands in Kansas. In 1989, 70 percent of state park visitors surveyed indicated the following types of state park facilities were "good" or "satisfactory": developed campgrounds, restrooms, picnic shelters, showers, electric/water hookups and dump stations. In 2001, 91% were satisfied with their experience in State Parks (Responsive Management, 2001). During preparation of the last Strategic Plan, 39 public scoping meetings were held statewide to obtain input regarding management plans being developed for Department lands. Through recreation surveys and SCORP planning done in 2001 and 2002, these concerns were found to still be valid. A summary of the statements given by meeting participants indicates strong public support for: improving existing outdoor recreation services upgrading or replacing deteriorated facilities and equipment rehabilitating deteriorated lands providing a wider range of recreation opportunities on public lands increasing fish and wildlife populations on public lands
National Recreation Trends
Surveys since 1959 found common recreation activities pursued by Americans have remained fairly constant with swimming, bicycling, and fishing continuing to be favorite pastimes. A comparison of the 1960 and 1982 National Recreation Surveys indicates growing participation in canoeing, bicycling, attending outdoor cultural events, camping (all types), sailing, hiking or backpacking, attending outdoor sports, walking for pleasure and water skiing (U.S. Department of Interior, 1986). In 2000, highest percentages of outdoor use in 2000 was: walking (84%), gathering with family or friends in an outdoor area away from home (73%), sightseeing, driving for pleasure, ATV’s or motorcycles (63%), visiting an outdoor nature center, nature trail, visitor center or zoo (57%) picknicking (55%), viewing or photographing natural scenery (55%) (National Survey on Recreation and the Environment, USDA Forest Service and NOAA, 2000).
In Kansas recreation participation was greatest for persons aged 16 to 44 (Hardt, 1990, Responsive Management, 2001). Wildlife observation was the exception with participation greatest for those aged 45 and older. Females showed greater participation in wildlife observation, while males participated more in fishing, hunting, primitive camping, off-road vehicle riding and canoeing. Demographic data from a 1989 national survey showed swimming has a greater participation rate among higher income, higher-educated groups and is more prevalent outside the big cities (Gallup, Jr. and Newport, 1990). Data in 1997 shows a similar trend (Outdoor Recreation Trends and Market Opportunities in the United States, USFS, 1997). Bicycling is more popular among middle-class groups and those with college degrees. Fishing extends across class and status lines with few differences by income, education or occupational status. Golf is enjoyed by higher income groups with the greatest participation found among men in the $50,000 income bracket.
Intensive Development Areas
Intensive Development Areas are located within the Department's state park areas. Natural resources management on these areas is important because recreation use is intense at times, which can accelerate erosion, vegetation destruction or other disturbances. Environmental buffering and protection are essential. Facilities and activities most often associated with Intensive Development Areas include: modern campgrounds with hardened sites and utility hook-ups (electricity, water, sewer) comfort stations visitor centers marinas concession services swimming beaches playground equipment exercise trails handicapped accessible facilities (restrooms, campsites) multi-lane boat ramps with courtesy docks fish cleaning stations park offices or headquarters shelter houses interpretive displays and programs amphitheatres security lighting interpretive trails volunteer work stations (e.g. camphost camping sites) entrance gate houses and self-pay stations
Facilities and programs associated with Intensive Development Areas represent a major capital investment and require more maintenance than minimum or moderate areas. Recreation activities in these areas include camping, swimming, fishing, hiking, picnicking, motor and sailboating, waterskiing, bicycling, horseback riding and interpretive programs. As part of the SCORP planning process, all outdoor recreation facilities were inventoried and listed at www.oznet.ksu.edu/dp_hFrr/stevenson/inventory. The Kansas Geologic Survey hosts this inventory. In 2000, Kansas State Legislature gave Parks $10 million to renovate the parks. Work took place on all state parks, and included such facilities as 18 shower houses, 3 shelters, 11 restrooms, 1 playground, 19 campground renovations, 2 sewage systems, 4 parking lots, 3 offices, 5 beach renovations, and 3 waterlines.
Moderate and Minimum Development Areas
Primary use on most of these areas is hunting, with some facilities for fishing, and are addressed in the Hunting Section. However, secondary uses are gaining in importance. These outdoor recreation activities are supported on less than one percent of the total state land area. As public awareness of recreation opportunities, environment and natural resources issues increases, these properties will be in greater demand. Public land management emphasis for the coming years will be directed at controlling impacts on the environment and natural resources resulting from sometimes intense and diverse recreation uses. Moderate Development Areas occur on state fishing lakes and some portions of state parks and wildlife areas. Facilities, activities and habitats commonly associated with these areas include: native prairie and woodland areas for wildlife habitat fishing piers one or two-lane boat ramps vault toilets primitive and tent camping sites hiking and nature trails picnic areas with fire rings or ground grills grazing wildlife habitat demonstration areas unpaved all-weather road systems potable water shelter houses
Facility development in these areas is directed towards providing increased access, services and support for the recreation use of fish and wildlife resources. Moderate Development Areas offer activities, such as interpretive and angling events, public hunting, school field trips and recreation shooting. Other recreation uses include fishing, wildlife observation, hiking, primitive camping and picnicking. Since these areas are
relatively small, there may be occasional crowding, lower hunting and fishing success and competition between different wildlife recreation uses. The demand to upgrade facilities and services on these properties, such as shooting and archery ranges, swimming beaches, nature trails and concessions, exists but has not been quantified. Minimum Development Areas include wildlife areas and certain portions of state fishing lakes and state parks. These areas are maintained in a near natural state. A certain level of development and management is necessary to minimize the impacts of human use. Management may include range burning, grazing and other plant community manipulation practices. Facilities, activities and habitats most often associated with Minimum Development Areas include: native grasslands woodlands unpaved parking areas with few interior roads grazing firebreaks foot trails one and two-lane boat ramps wetlands with water control structures
Diverse recreation activities occur on Minimum Development Areas. Hunting is a major activity occurring on these areas. Natural areas with streams or reservoirs may also provide fishing opportunities. Anglers often choose natural areas to enjoy seclusion and aesthetic surroundings. Camping, often associated with hunting and fishing activities, has recently become a major activity on some Minimum Development Areas. Wildlife observation and hiking activities are also increasing on natural areas near urban areas.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goals: Manage and protect the state's public lands, waters, and associated wildlife and plant communities; and provide a diversity of quality outdoor recreation with special regard to natural resources protection. Provide excellent programs and services that respond to existing and new needs and expectations of recreational users (hunting, fishing and boating addressed elsewhere as specific activities). Provide a diversity of quality outdoor recreation with special regard to natural, historical and cultural resources while
managing, protecting and enhancing KDWP lands, waters, and associated wildlife and plant communities. Objectives:
• • • • • • • To provide quality and diverse outdoor recreation that meets measured public demand and increase public land user days by at least 5 percent over the current five year average by 2009. To improve the function and design of all public areas and facilities to meet established Department standards by 2009. To increase interpretive program participation on public lands at least 50 percent by 2009. To maintain facilities and programs commensurate with financial resources and public demand and safety. To protect and conserve natural resources on all Department areas. To develop and begin implementation of management plans for all Department properties by 2009. To improve finance and business management operations in Parks by increasing by 5 percent of the ratio of public land user fee income to operations and maintenance expenditures by 2009.
Issue / Problem: A large resource exists in the form of groups that have an interest in building partnerships, and needs to be cultivated. Strategies: 1. Continue to improve Kansas’ trail systems and explore opportunities for potential partnerships with other agencies and organizations to expand greenways and corridors. 2. Establish partnerships with outside groups to develop, promote and market recreational facilities and programs 3. Continue to build on Kansas’ strong volunteer base and enhance public services. 4. Cultivate Friends Groups. Issue / Problem: Due to the setting, Kansas’ public lands are highly suitable for outdoor educational programs, and opportunities for expansion of such programs exists. Strategies: 1. Expand access to nature through interpretation, education and exhibits. 2. Improve the scope and quality on interpretive and environmental education 3. Expand special events programming, especially during non-peak seasons that appeal to mid-sized groups. Issue / Problem: Many areas and facilities appropriate for special events and programs are underused.
Strategies: 1. Analyze visitation patterns and make necessary adjustments in land and lake utilization through marketing, facility placement and event planning. 2. Develop appropriate special programs for those sites that are underused to increase Department recognition, attendance and revenue generation. 3. Encourage special events in underused recreation facility development areas. 4. Promote underused sites through media, brochures and education efforts. 5. Develop and implement an appropriate marketing plan. Issue / Problem: Visitors at developed facility areas desire more interaction with wildlife and natural habitats. Strategies: 1. On State Fishing Lakes and Wildilfe Areas, minimize non-native vegetation management practices that do not enhance native plants and wildlife. 2. Where possible, establish native vegetation plots, such as shrubs, grasses and forbs that benefit wildlife. 3. Continue management practices that promote native natural habitats. 4. Monitor the impacts of visitation on natural resources and modify management practices appropriately. 5. Develop more nature trails and interpretive areas on Department lands. 6. Cooperate with colleges and universities in the development of outdoor recreation courses and student activities 7. Strengthen cooperative efforts with related organizations and programs to assist in the development of environmental learning opportunities among urban residents Issue / Problem: Maintenance and rehabilitation are needed for the Department's existing recreation facilities and infrastructure. Strategies: 1. Provide regularly scheduled facility inspections by field and engineering staff 2. Prioritize the replacement of land management equipment 3. Replace structures to meet Department standards 4. Seek financial leasing agencies 5. Consult with Kansas Department of Transportation and local road authorities in road system planning, maintenance, alteration and sign decisions. 6. Develop a plan to identify and prioritize needs for facilities renovation. 7. Upgrade existing campsites and other high impact use areas to clearly delineate them from other sites and areas. Issue / Problem: Development, operation and maintenance of newly acquired areas are often delayed or inadequate. Strategies: 1. Develop cooperating associations with local communities to assist with the operation of new properties and facilities. 2. Use a unit management approach to distribute workloads and resources. 3. Contract appropriate projects and operations to private vendors. 4. Use individual and community volunteer sources and inmate and work release labor programs where possible. 31
Issue / Problem: Opportunities for special populations to enjoy outdoor recreation experiences are limited. Strategies: 1. Increase accessibility for special populations on Department lands. 2. Ensure new developments and renovations of existing facilities meet state and federal accessibility standards. 3. Involve special population volunteers and representative groups in the design, review and testing of proposed new facilities. 4. Provide appropriate programs for special population users. Issue / Problem: Information regarding user characteristics, trends, demands and economic benefits of outdoor recreation in Kansas is needed. Strategies: 1. Increase and standardize methods of gathering recreation user and economic impact data of outdoor recreation. 2. Conduct surveys to measure demands and demographic information for various recreation users and the economic impacts of outdoor recreation. 3. Use public meetings to gather information from users and constituent groups and to keep the public informed of current and future activities on Department lands and waters. 4. Use available state and national studies to determine recreation trends in Kansas. 5. Develop a marketing plan for various outdoor recreation users. 6. Increase the use of public input to encourage staff awareness and to evaluate management suggestions.
Issue / Problem: Urbanization and other sociological changes are reducing participation in outdoor recreation pursuits. Strategies: 4. Expand efforts to develop and conduct outdoor recreation skills clinics and education programs, particularly in urban areas. 5. Continue and expand urban nature centers, nature trails, and wildlife and wildflower viewing opportunities for urban residents. 6. Develop and publish youth oriented information and education materials related to outdoor recreation pursuits. 7. Cooperate with colleges and universities in the development of outdoor recreation courses and student activities. 8. Strengthen cooperative efforts with related organizations and programs to assist the development of environmental learning opportunities among urban residents. Issue / Problem: The Department needs to enhance support among existing and potential public lands constituent groups. Strategies: 32
1. Develop and implement programs involving constituent groups and community organizations in public lands issues and projects. 2. Increase contact with the public and ensure that personnel respond to public inquiries accurately, thoroughly, courteously and promptly. 3. Encourage Department personnel to become involved in constituent groups. 4. Enlist volunteers to inform the public about Department programs and facilities. 5. Solicit public input to assist in planning for future operations and development. Issue / Problem : With changing society, recreational uses traditionally offered on KDWP lands, and potential new uses need to be evaluated at levels compatible with resource conservation. Strategies: 1. Evaluate, identify and prioritize potential new activities on Department lands commensurate with natural resources capabilities. 2. Plan and develop additional or improve existing facilities consistent with resources and demand. 3. Cooperate with local communities and the private sector to expand outdoor recreation opportunities statewide. 4. Develop recreation planning teams incorporating private groups and local, state and federal governments to evaluate regional needs for facilities and services. 5. Identify and maintain Department facilities and programs for more year-round use 6. Consider the development of resorts on public lands.
A diverse assemblage of wildlife inhabits the grasslands, prairies, woodlands, wetlands, croplands and waters of Kansas. Wildlife distributions extend into Kansas from the eastern hardwood forests, Ozark Plateau, Rocky Mountains and along the major flyways that extend from Canada to Central and South America. Migratory waterfowl, passerine and shorebird species, as well as some mammals and invertebrates, make stopovers during migration, while some species are permanent residents of Kansas. Historically, the Department primarily manages for "game" or harvested wildlife species. This management approach included purchasing land, developing, maintaining and operating wildlife areas (habitat based, which benefits all species), and conducting scientific research for the purposes of hunting and trapping. These activities are primarily funded through the sale of hunting licenses and reimbursements under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (PR). Eligible undertakings under the Act are “1) Projects having as their purpose the restoration, conservation, management, and enhancement of wild birds and wild mammals, and the provision for public use of and benefits from these resources; 2) Projects having as their purpose the education of hunters and archers in the skills, knowledge and attitudes necessary to be a responsible hunter or archer.” (50 CFR Section 80.5) Federal funds collected as excise taxes on hunting and recreation shooting equipment and ammunition are proportionately distributed back to the states. The Department reimbursement for PR projects is about $3,000,000 per year. Hunting expenditures also bring millions of dollars to the state's economy. According to the 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife Associated Recreation, expenditures in Kansas were $236 million for hunting. Quality of habitat is essential to the well-being of wildlife. Quality is determined by an area's ability to provide the vital needs of those wildlife species living on it. Juxtaposition of different habitat types is also key to providing wildlife needs. A high level of habitat quality enables wildlife populations to adjust to detrimental changes caused by such factors as severe weather and disease. The better the habitat quality present on large tracts of land, the more diverse and healthy all Kansas wildlife populations will be. If the Department is to maintain Kansas' current wildlife resource base, the quantity, quality of habitats must be protected, restored and enhanced on public and private lands. Twenty-seven percent of the 3.6 million days of hunting by licensed resident hunters (2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, US FWS, 2003); occurred on public lands. Ten percent of hunters reported difficulty in gaining private land access as a primary reason for not hunting more (Hardt, 1990, Responsive Management, 2001), and 2% of non-hunters cited lack of access as the reason for not hunting and 9% of respondents who did not hunt expressed interest in 34
hunting. In response to this problem, in 1995 KDWP developed the Walk-in Hunter Access program, using $150,000 to lease private lands for public hunting access. It has been very successful. This program has grown since its inception from about 10,000 acres to over 1 million acres available annually for hunting during the fall seasons and the spring turkey season. Hunting on Private Lands and Waters The vast majority of Kansas' wildlife resources are dependent on the quantity, quality and diversity of permanent vegetative cover on private lands. Much of the state's private lands are used principally for agriculture and livestock. Croplands are used by wildlife during portions of the year. These lands are frequently disturbed so wildlife populations use them cyclically, depending on what crops are grown. Other private land uses contributing to Kansas' loss of terrestrial habitat are housing, shopping centers, transportation systems, industrial complexes and public utilities. Cumulatively these land uses often reduce or destroy the quantity, quality and diversity of wildlife habitats on private lands. Because 97 percent of the land and water in Kansas is owned and managed by private individuals, a tremendous opportunity for improving terrestrial and aquatic wildlife habitats can be achieved through the Department's private land program. Private landowners are encouraged to consider incorporating wildlife enhancements as part of their land use management practices and projects. The Department is committed to providing private landowners with technical assistance, professional research and educational information on how to attract wildlife to their lands. The Department helps private landowners address public access concerns, wildlife management costs and wildlife damage control and prevention, and in many cases, provides incentives for development and maintenance of habitat, and for public access. Another important department interest is promoting the conservation title of the current farm bill. Through cooperation with NRCS and FSA the department assists in informing landowners of the conservation programs and the various practices and cost share available to them through such programs as CRP, CCRP, WHIP, WRP, EQUIP, GRP, and others. Through the promotion and assistance that these programs provide much funding that would not be available solely through the Department can be made available to create and maintain appropriate habitats throughout the state. The Department entered into a cooperative agreement with NRCS in 2003 for Department Wildlife Biologists to actually deliver the USDA WHIP program to landowners in Kansas. The Department also cooperates with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), by providing District wildlife biologists to work 3 days per week in the 5 NRCS area offices to advise landowners and NRCS staff on wildlife matters, and assisting in development of beneficial wildlife practices for private landowners.
Two species of deer occur in Kansas. Mule deer occur in the western third of the state with their relative densities being highest in the western portion of that area while white-tailed deer occur statewide with higher densities in the eastern part of the state than in the western areas. Deer were abundant when explorers entered the area of Kansas in the early 19th century. They were described as "more or less" common in Kansas until about 1884. However, by 1890 deer had all but disappeared from Kansas. Natural expansion in distribution and abundance of deer occurred during the first half of the 20th century. By the early 1950s, deer were once again seen frequently in Kansas. Their numbers steadily increased until the late 1990s when deer populations were stabilized in most areas of the state. The health and characteristics of the Kansas deer herd have resulted in the state being given high attention by deer enthusiasts. The number of deer in Kansas is small in comparison to eastern states. However, more trophy class deer have been entered into record books from Kansas than from all Atlantic coast states combined. Some of that notoriety may be due to the high nutritional plane that Kansas deer achieve due to the influence of agricultural crops in their diet. However, Kansas surpasses adjacent Midwest states in the number of trophy class deer that have been produced. It is that reputation that fuels the economic and social drive for people to hunt deer in Kansas. Health issues have dominated much of the deer management concerns during the previous decade. Chronic wasting disease has emerged from a relatively obscure disease that occurred in a small portion of deer habitat in Colorado and Wyoming to a dominating issue in many circles. Detection and monitoring of deer diseases are important not only for the information they provide on deer management but also because of their influence on human, and livestock health. Kansas deer herds remains free of bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, and chronic wasting disease. Interstate shipments and private herd management of farmed cervids adds a new dimension to the health concerns for wild cervids and requires strong cooperation among responsible agencies with oversight. Population control through hunting by citizen-hunters has been a foremost method used by the Department to control deer numbers. Since the mid-1980s the Department has created special units, extended seasons, increased permit quotas, created reduced fee tags and increased the proportion of those permits and tags that restricted the hunter to antlerless deer ("antlerless only" permits and Game Tags), thus increasing the harvest of female deer for population control purposes. Resident hunter demand for deer permits have stabilized. Both statewide archery deer permits and firearms permits for white-tailed deer are now available on demand rather than allocated on an application and drawing basis. An unlimited number of permits have been authorization for resident deer hunters and landowners since 2000. While the number of permits may be unlimited, the number of hunters and their desire for more than one permit is limited. As the limit to hunter demand was approached it became difficult to control deer populations with citizen-hunters. 36
Not all hunter demands are being met with the current deer population and management system. Deer hunter demand for permits that allow the take of mule deer and demand by nonresidents to hunt in Kansas currently exceed supply. The relative vulnerability to hunters and population growth potential of mule deer compared to whitetailed deer creates special management attention. That has been addressed in Kansas with permits that restrict hunter to only white-tailed deer. Hunter satisfaction levels have been monitored. Many hunters have few days of opportunity when they may pursue deer during the open seasons. Their demand is not merely for a permit and a place to hunt or even a deer population with certain age and sex characteristics. Many hunters desire a naïve deer herd and few hunting competitors. They may measure their satisfaction in terms of how many deer they have an opportunity to pass-up or in terms of how few hours it takes them to fill their tag, and those are influence by the activities of other hunters. Competition among hunters for hunting space can become intense. Hunting opportunities are limited and have been decreasing in size and affordability in recent years. The vast majority of hunters in Kansas use private property. Competition among hunters leads to hunting privileges being leased. Kansas residents fear that further competition between resident and nonresident hunters will reduce their opportunities and/or the quality of their experience. Landowners exploiting the wildlife values on their property pressure for more opportunities to market those values without a thorough knowledge of the factors and limitations that led to the development of demand by nonresident deer hunters to pick Kansas as their deer hunting designation. Social and economic issues have become major factors influencing deer management decisions.
Elk occurred throughout Kansas prior to the arrival of European settlers with individual herds numbering over 1,000 occurring during the winter months. During the mid-1800s, large elk herds were still recorded throughout the state, particularly in prairie and woodland edge habitat. Since the turn of the century, the only elk in Kansas are confined to preserves. In 1981 elk from the Maxwell Game Refuge were released on the Cimarron National Grasslands in Morton County. In 1986, elk were also released onto Fort Riley military reservation in Riley County in an attempt to establish a free ranging herd in the tall grass prairie region of Kansas. While these reintroductions successfully restored a major wildlife species to its native rang, they have not been without conflict. After an initial population expansion, the Cimarron herd was significantly reduced in number to alleviate damage on privatelyowned irrigated cropland. Much of the harvest pressure took place in neighboring states after the elk expanded their range off the Grassland. In 1995, the Cimarron elk hunting season was discontinued due to insufficient harvest opportunity and has not been reinitiated. This herd currently numbers around 50elk, which continue to seasonally inhabit neighboring states. With a much larger contiguous block of public land on and around Fort Riley, this free ranging herd has fared better. While conflicts on private lands resulted in dramatic herd 37
reductions in 1999 and 2000, this herd is doing well. It currently numbers over 100 animals, and continues to provide viewing and limited hunting opportunities.
Historically, the western two-thirds of Kansas was pronghorn range. Conversion of rangeland to cropland reduced the amount of range capable of supporting pronghorn, but pronghorn did exist in Kansas when the first supplemental stockings took place in western Kansas in 1964. Actual reintroductions soon followed, and pronghorn had been released into seven Kansas counties by 1992 when the final supplemental stocking into Chase county occurred. Stockings into the westernmost counties were successful, and pronghorn numbers in Kansas generally increased through the early 1990’s. The population has fluctuated in recent years at around 2,000 animals. Suitable pronghorn habitat is presently limited to widely distributed blocks of rangeland, and Wallace, Sherman, and Logan counties in west central Kansas remain the stronghold of the Kansas population. Most of the remainder of the population is found in or near the other westernmost two tiers of counties in the state, though small populations still exist in the Barber/Clark county area and in the Flint hills in Chase County. Limited pronghorn firearm seasons have been held since 1974 with an archery season added in 1976 (see Figure 6), and a muzzleloader season in 2001. Demand for pronghorn hunting has become increasingly greater than what the resource can support; around seven times as many firearms and muzzleloader applications are received annually as there are permits available. Archery permits are allocated on an unlimited basis, but take little toll on the resource. Kansas pronghorns have other recreation values, such as providing wildlife viewing opportunities.
A variety of furbearer species occur throughout Kansas, such as beaver, bobcat, raccoon, and opossum. These diverse species vary in their habitat requirements, life history, geographic distributions and population densities. But most are highly secretive and nocturnal, and usually occur at low densities or in scattered distributions. Furbearers can create habitat conditions favorable for other wildlife species and can sometimes control biological populations. Some furbearer species have the ability to cause considerable economic damage to property. With changing furbearer populations and market interests, the composition of furbearer species harvested of the years has changed significantly. In the mid-1960’s, beaver, raccoon, and a combination of mink and muskrat each accounted for about 30% of the total value of all furbearer pelts harvested, while bobcats accounted for less then 1% of this value. Today, raccoon is by far the most important furbearer species in terms of harvest and economic value, accounting for 55-65% of the value of all pelts harvested. Bobcats account for about 20% of the value, whiled beaver account for only around 5%, and mink and muskrat only about 1% combined.
The rate of exploitation of furbearers is often influenced by economic factors and is controlled at the upper limits by regulations. In 2002, 4483 fur harvesters were licensed in the state. Fur harvesters spent approximately 44,000 days trapping, 44,000 days hunting and 27,000 days running furbearers during the 2001-2002 season. Trends in the number of pursuit days are correlated to pelt prices, control of which is outside the realm of the Department. Consequently, furbearer management often consists of monitoring harvest activities rather than attempting influence them (beyond standard season and harvest limitations).
Tree Squirrels and Rabbits
Six species and ten subspecies of small mammals are hunted in Kansas. The most abundant species are the eastern cottontail and fox squirrel. Although both species are now found all the way to the Colorado border, both occur at their highest densities in the eastern one-third of the state. Both species are popular among hunters (see Figure 11 and 12). Many of the squirrel and rabbit species in the state also provide considerable wildlife viewing opportunities in rural and urban areas.
Ducks, Geese and Swans
Most of the 27 species of ducks frequenting Kansas breed in Canadian provinces and states to the north. Only fourteen species of ducks are known to have nested in Kansas. The major portion of the resident breeding population is estimated at about 20,000 pairs of wood ducks, blue-winged teal and mallards. Four species of geese occur in Kansas; white-fronted, Ross’, Mid-Continent Snow (white and blue phase) and Canada geese. The population of white-fronted geese is within population objectives established by the management plan for that species, and currently is estimated at about 500,000. The breeding range of white-fronts is relatively secure and the population is not threatened. Mid-Continent Snow and Ross’ Goose Populations are approximately double the management plan objectives, and are causing severe habitat degradation on their breeding areas. The three primary Canada goose populations occurring in Kansas are all at, or above, population objectives, and face no immediate threat to their long-term welfare. One problem area involves resident Canada geese which reside within or near the major metro areas of Wichita and Kansas City. Without management controls, these birds increase rapidly and often come into conflict with human residents of these cities. Overall, the future of geese looks bright, and the numbers of geese moving into and through Kansas, while fluctuating due to weather patterns, should continue to increase. The availability of these birds to hunters and other Kansas citizens will be dependant on the management of our public lands, particularly the sanctuary portion of our federal and state public areas. Trumpeter and tundra swans are seen occasionally in Kansas along their long migratory paths. Exotic mute swans are found sometimes in small ponds and lakes.
Swans provide easy and enjoyable viewing opportunities for both novice and experienced birdwatchers. During recent years most populations of ducks have been at, or near, record levels due to consecutive years of above average rainfall combined with grassland habitat established through the Conservation Reserve Program. However, should the Conservation Reserve Program be reduced or discontinued, the future of our duck populations would be threatened, due to degradation and inadequate breeding habitat. The number of ducks occurring in Kansas is dependent on several factors, including the total size of the fall flight; quality and amount of wetland acres available during the migration and wintering period; invasion of timber on the shallow areas of reservoirs; reservoir water level management capabilities; and agriculture practices that affect the type, amount and distribution of grain available to waterfowl.
Migratory, Shore and Upland Birds
Mourning doves are one of the most abundant and widely distributed species in North America and Kansas has some of the highest dove population densities in the nation. Doves nest successfully in urban and rural areas, in trees or on the ground. As a result, doves are one of the most popular hunted birds in Kansas (see Figure 16). Sandhill cranes have been hunted in Kansas since 1993. Population estimates for the mid-continent population of sandhill cranes have been stable since 1982, despite increasing harvests in the U.S. However, U.S. harvest of the mid-continent population has leveled off since 1995. Mid-continent sandhill cranes have a widespread breeding range extending from northwest Minnesota to eastern Siberia. During fall migration, some of the highest densities occur in central Kansas at Quivira National Wildlife Refuge and Cheyenne Bottoms Wildlife Area.
Ring-necked pheasants are an exotic species, first introduced into Kansas in 1906. At that time, farming practices were relatively primitive and potential pheasant habitat was abundant. Presently, pheasants occur from relative abundance in the northwest to absent in the southeast portion of the state. Marked population fluctuations result in annual changes in relative densities across the state. Kansas typically sells 40,000 to 50,000 nonresident small game licenses, largely due to pheasant hunting. Kansas is usually among the top 3 states in pheasant harvest in the nation. As a result, pheasant hunting is considered one of the most popular tourist activities in Kansas and of major economic importance to many communities in the central and western portions of the state.
Northern bobwhites generally occur throughout the state from relative abundance in the east to sparse in the west. In contrast, scaled ("blue") quail are limited to the extreme southwest portion of the state. The interspersion of grasslands, hedgerows, shelterbelts and woodlands with croplands in Kansas provide the framework for excellent quail habitat. Kansas has one of the most stable populations of bobwhites in the United States. Resident hunters spend almost as much time hunting quail as pheasants. Kansas frequently leads the nation in the harvest of bobwhites. Watching coveys in winter and listening to "whistling" in summer in rural areas are popular activities also associated with quail.
Two species of prairie-chicken occur in Kansas. The lesser prairie-chicken generally inhabits the southwest portions of the state and the greater prairie-chicken is found statewide. The majority of lesser prairie-chickens are precariously associated with the sand-sage prairies south of the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers. Where large contiguous tracts of this prairie remain, lesser prairie-chickens are abundant. In contrast, populations of greater prairie-chickens appear relatively stable to slightly increasing throughout much of their range. Populations of greater prairie-chickens in the Flint Hills, however, are the highest in the state. The distribution and abundance of prairie-chickens are primarily determined by the quality and quantity of suitable habitat on private lands. Kansas is one of the two prairie-chicken strongholds on the Great Plains, especially in the extensive rangeland of the Flint Hills. Prairie-chickens bring national attention to Kansas with distribution; abundance and total harvest of greater prairiechickens far exceeding those of any other state (see Figure 19). The early season for greater prairie-chicken has served to increase and diversify prairie chicken hunting opportunity. The lesser prairie-chicken is hunted in far less numbers (see Figure 20). Both greater and lesser prairie-chickens congregate in flocks of 10 to 50 birds for spectacular courtship displays (breeding leks) in the spring. Kansan's interest in viewing prairie-chicken displays continues to grow in popularity.
During pre-Columbian times over 250,000 wild turkeys existed in Kansas; but habitat destruction and hunting eventually extirpated the species. Restoration of the wild turkey to Kansas began in the mid-1960s with the introduction of some Rio Grande subspecies. During the 1970s the population increased by more than 12 percent annually. Both flock size and population distribution increased during this period. In 1975 wild eastern turkeys were released in two locations in eastern Kansas. The expansion of the Linn County flock allowed some of these birds to be trapped and transplanted into other areas of eastern Kansas. Eastern-Rio Grande crosses were also established in suitable habitat in 1978 - 1979 in north central and northwest
Kansas. All of these releases have established viable populations and now provide surplus birds for harvest and transplant elsewhere (see Figure 21). A turkey hunting season was established in 1974 and approximately 75 percent of the state is now open to unlimited spring season permits for both residents and nonresidents. Restoration efforts have resulted in viable populations that now support hunter harvest and justify continued release efforts.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goals: Manage wildlife populations at levels consistent with a healthy environment; to conserve, enhance and protect habitats on public and private lands; and to provide wildlife recreation opportunities for Kansans. Objectives:
General • To maintain wildlife populations consistent with habitat characteristics and public tolerances. • To maintain trend databases on wildlife populations. • To improve interagency coordination of statewide wildlife habitat protection and enhancement. • To promote positive public attitudes about the benefits of wildlife conservation. • To increase by 10 percent the area available for wildlife recreation by 2010. • To improve interagency coordination and cooperation on wildlife disease monitoring and management, including planning and training for foreign animal disease and emergency response duties. • To reverse the trend of declining number of hunters Private Lands and Waters • Promote Wildlife friendly provisions of the Conservation title of the Farm bill • Increase hunting access to private lands through programs such as WIHA • Continue Department partnerships and coordination with USDA agencies. • To increase the quality and quantity of wildlife habitat on 200,000 private acres annually. • Enhance habitat programs beneficial to private landowners by providing incentives to landowners for enhancing, developing and retaining wildlife habitats through development of habitat partnerships with conservation organizations, USDA agencies, US Fish and Wildlife Service and other Federal Agencies. • Increase support for wildlife habitat enhancement programs on private lands. Deer 42
To stabilize the statewide deer population at a level that will provide a deervehicle collision reporting rate of 400 deer or less per billion vehicle miles and 8,500 reported accidents per year. To provide an annual deer harvest (approximately 70,000) that is sufficient to maintain a stabilized population level. It is anticipated that the harvest will be comprised of approximately 55% of the deer being antlerless and less than 50% of the adult male deer taken each year will be yearling. To preferentially manage mule deer in nine deer management units. Expansion of the mule deer population will be initiated in five of the western deer management units DMU 1, 2, 3, 17, & 18). To maintain deer hunter opportunities that result in at least 55% of the hunters being successful in harvesting a deer and approximately 65% of the hunters categorizing their deer hunt experience as either “extremely satisfied” or “satisfied”.
Elk • To increase the Cimarron National Grasslands elk population to more than 75 and to provide at least two elk hunting permits annually by 2010. • To maintain the Fort Riley elk population at the maximum number within habitat and sociologic limits and to provide 40 elk hunting permits annually by 2010. Pronghorn • To provide a statewide population of 2,500 pronghorns by 2010. • To provide for 700 pronghorn hunter use days of recreation by 2010. Furbearers • To maintain annual archery deer hunter indices of 5.0 for bobcat, 25.0 for coyote, 14.0 for raccoon, and 8.5 for opossum. • To promote the opportunity to harvest furbearers such that over 5000 fur harvester licenses are sold annually by 2010. Small Game Mammals • To maintain squirrel populations at an October Rural Mail Carrier (RMC) index of 1.3, daily bag limit at 1.7 and hunter use days at 200,000. • To maintain cottontail populations at an April RMC index of 1.0, daily bag limit at 2.0 and hunter use days at 250,000. Migratory Game Birds • To provide an annual duck harvest of 215,000 at a rate of 1.9 ducks per hunter day. • To provide an annual dark (Canada and white-fronted) goose harvest of 92,000 at a rate of 0.7 geese per hunter day. • To provide an annual light (snow) goose harvest of 45,000 at a rate of 0.7 geese per hunter day. • To provide 73,000 dove hunters with an annual harvest of 1,400,000 mourning doves.
To provide 500 sandhill crane hunters with an annual harvest of 1,000 sandhill cranes.
Turkey • To provide an annual 150,000 wild turkey hunter use days. Small Game Birds • To maintain pheasant populations at an October RMC index of 3.5, mean daily bag at 1.1 and hunter use days at 750,000 • To maintain bobwhite populations at an October RMC index of 3.3, mean bag at 2.6 and hunter use days at 900,000. • To maintain prairie-chicken populations at an average of 4 leks/20 sq. mile survey area, mean daily bag at 0.5 and hunter use days at 80,000 for greaters and 2,000 for lessers. Issue / Problem: Lack of, or degradation of habitat on public and private lands inhibits reaching wildlife goals.
Strategies: 1. Evaluate and improve management of wildlife through habitat preservation and manipulation on state, local, federal and privately owned lands. 2. Develop a statewide habitat inventory and monitoring system. 3. Reduce habitat losses associated with state, local, federal and private activities. 4. Develop procedures for restoring degraded habitats, especially crucial habitat on public and private lands. 5. Increase opportunities to fund more habitat enhancement programs for public and private landowners 6. Increase cooperative habitat enhancement efforts between the Department and conservation organizations Issue / Problem: Information is limited on wildlife populations and habitat requirements, impacts and changes. Strategies: 1. Obtain data on population dynamics, habitat requirements, disease and carrying capacity for wildlife. 2. Determine population statuses and range expansions. 3. Study long-term population responses to changes in land use, habitat quality and harvest levels. 4. Use state of the art methods for estimating wildlife populations and harvest. 5. Detect trends in wildlife populations on local and statewide levels by comparing historic to current records. 6. Develop strategies for maintaining genetic variability in wildlife populations. Issue / Problem: Some wildlife species no longer occupy all potential habitat in Kansas.
Strategies: 1. Determine available habitat to support targeted wildlife species with consideration for T&E species.
2. Encourage private landowners to create and maintain quality habitat that will attract and hold wildlife. 3. Determine the appropriate management techniques and genetic quality of the wildlife, prior to reintroductions. 4. Use management techniques to assist in wildlife population and distribution. Issue / Problem: More information is needed to determine socio-economic interaction between Man’s activities (recreation, livestock, exotic wildlife, agriculture, etc) and wildlife populations. Strategies: 1. Assess local and statewide economic impacts on existing and potential wildlife recreation opportunities. 2. Determine the impacts of recreation, agriculture activities and livestock competition on wildlife populations and habitats. 3. Define wildlife user groups and determine their demands and needs. 4. Obtain more information on the impacts of exotic species on native wildlife and habitats. 5. Assess impacts of domestic cervid farming on native wildlife. Issue / Problem: The public is finding it increasingly difficult to locate and access areas for hunting.
Strategies: 1. Pursue opportunities to obtain more lands for public hunting 2. Continue Walk-in Hunting Access program, and publication of atlas. 3. Publicize areas throughout the state known to have high concentrations of wildlife resources. 4. Support programs that increase access to private lands through better landowner and user relationships. 5. Develop incentives for private landowners to retain, enhance and develop natural habitat areas for public recreation access. 5. Encourage cooperation between wildlife recreation users and private landowners to reduce conflicts and violations. Issue / Problem: More coordination with local, state and federal agencies and the agriculture community is necessary to promote wildlife considerations in land use management. Strategies: 1. Encourage the agriculture community to incorporate wildlife considerations in land use management. 2. Support incentives and benefits for land use wildlife management practices. 3. Seek support that strengthens the use of agriculture practices which sustain wildlife habitat in the National Farm Policy. 4. Develop and improve relationships with agriculture lobby groups and their resolutions committees. 5. Increase Department involvement in the state and national decision making processes of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Farm Services Agency, and Kansas State University Extension Service.
6. Assist development of demonstration farms to show wildlife benefits without sacrificing production. 7. Develop and distribute information on the advantages of diversified farm operations. 8. Cooperate with KDOT on studies to reduce deer related vehicle accidents Issue / Problem: Information materials and demonstration aids addressing wildlife management techniques for public and private lands are not adequate.
Strategies: 1. Use state and local government lands and waters to test and demonstrate wildlife management techniques. 2. Publish a newsletter for landowners focusing on the benefits of wildlife on private and public lands. 3. Produce and distribute videos and publications illustrating wildlife management techniques landowners can implement without additional assistance from the Department. 4. Participate with county extension personnel in local education events. 5. Distribute information on how local zoning decisions affect wildlife. Issue / Problem: Statewide hunting demand is not always consistent with quotas, harvest objectives or population levels. Strategies: 1. Use special seasons to distribute hunters and meet harvest quotas set by the Department. 2. Consider unit boundary adjustments to improve hunter distribution and meet harvest quotas. 3. Study options for changes in limits and season lengths. Issue / Problem: Wildlife can cause significant damage to private and public properties.
Strategies: 1. Provide landowners and homeowners with information on identifying wildlife that are damaging their property 2. Improve Department permits, procedures and skills in animal damage control. 3. Assist landowners and communities by making animal control information available. 4. Develop alternatives to lethal methods of controlling wildlife damage. 5. Inform private landowners how their management actions can contribute to wildlife damage problems. Issue / Problem: The percentage of Kansans who hunt has declined in recent years, and the population shift to urban centers has reduced the Department’s constituency. If this decrease continues, the Department will lose the social, political and financial support necessary to manage the state’s wildlife.
1. Promote hunting as a valued heritage that must be passed down from one generation to the next, and provides quality time between parents and youth. 2. Produce information that attracts potential new hunters and promotes Kansas opportunities. 3. Promote Department private land access programs and make finding and using the areas easier 4. Support outdoor skills training events with literature, videos, and other teaching aids. 5. Disseminate quality, timely information through media, telephone inquiries and the internet that will help retain current constituents.
Hunting on Public Lands and Waters
The lands and waters managed by the Department are diverse in terms of both use and resources. These Department properties offer some of the best in outdoor recreation and natural resources experiences in the state. The natural areas managed by the Department are diverse and range from semi-arid shortgrass prairies in the west, to oak/hickory woodlands in the east and the wetlands and tallgrass prairies in between. Properties under Department jurisdiction fall into three categories of management authorization: - properties licensed from federal agencies (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Bureau of Reclamation) - properties purchased and owned by the Department - properties under easement or lease agreements Other recreation opportunities on public lands include fishing, canoeing, field trials and interpretive education programs. Many of these areas were acquired, and/or are managed with USFWS Restoration dollars. Primary intended use is hunting and fishing. KDWP has the responsibility to manage these areas for wild birds, mammals and sport fish consistent with guidelines promulgated by the USFWS. Other (secondary) activities are allowed until they conflict with the primary use of managing for fish and wildlife. Wildlife Areas and State Fishing Lakes represent about ½ of 1 percent of Kansas’ land area. Visitation estimates are over 4 million trips annually. The 2002 Kansas Public Land hunter survey showed 25% of hunters in Kansas spent 250,000 days hunting on these areas. The lack of publicly held land in Kansas, increased pressure from primary users, and secondary use makes managing the natural resource difficult. Increase in users on these properties is inevitable with decline of access to private land and water and urbanization of the eastern 1/3 of the state. In 1972, 53% of upland bird hunting, 30% of waterfowl hunting and 2% of deer hunting occurred on public lands. Over the past 30 years habitats, private land use and demographics have changed, and hunting for the major species groups has shifted to 30% for each on State Wildlife Areas.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Habitat protection Goal: Manage, enhance and protect KDWP’s public lands, waters, and associated wildlife and plant communities Hunting Goal: Provide hunting opportunities, accompanied by a diversity of quality outdoor recreation opportunities with special regard to natural resources protection. Objectives:
• • • • To provide quality and diverse outdoor recreation, emphasizing hunting, as measured in public demand, user days, wildlife populations and habitat integrity. To establish Department standards, then improve the function and design of all public areas and facilities to meet them by 2009. To maintain facilities and programs commensurate with financial resources and public demand and safety. To develop and begin implementation of 5-year management plans for all Department properties that exceed 1000 acres by 2009. Because of the scarcity of public lands in Kansas, hunting pressure in those that exist is high, resulting in need for managing to high standards.
Issue / Problem:
Strategies: 1. Maintain attendant facilities (parking lots, camping sites, restrooms) to high standards. 2. Plan and implement strategies to attract and maintain wildlife such as feeding and resting areas, and travel corridors. 3. Maintain balance through management plans between hunting, fishing and other recreational use. 4. Improve environmental monitoring to ensure that areas maintain their integrity. 5. Monitor wildlife populations associated with public lands. 6. Monitor hunting use. 7. Restore and/or maintain vegetative buffer strips along stream courses. 8. Monitor and maintain water quality. 9. Use vegetative management techniques to maintain high habitat quality. 10. Develop soil conservation measures with assistance from NRCS. 11. Improve/enhance marsh management capabilities and develop additional wetland areas where desirable and possible. 12. Promote use of sustainable agriculture techniques as a means of reducing pesticide and fertilizer use. 13. Acquire more lands. 14. Intensify terrestrial and aquatic habitat management.
Issue / Problem: Development, operation and maintenance of newly acquired areas are often delayed or inadequate. Strategies: 1. Develop cooperating associations with local communities to assist with the operation of new properties and facilities. 2. Use a district management approach to distribute workloads and resources. 3. Contract appropriate projects and operations to private vendors. 4. Use individual and community volunteer sources and inmate and work release labor programs where possible. Issue / Problem: Development of interior roads eliminates use of some areas by wildlife, or, at minimum, make it less suitable.
Strategies: 1. Develop perimeter parking and transportation systems to support walk-in use on appropriate areas of Department lands. 2. Improve existing infrastructure to handle additional use and aggressive habitat management practices.
Hunter and furharvester education are mandated programs, funded through monies collected from the excise tax levied on the sale of sporting firearms and archery equipment. All persons born on or after July 1, 1957 are required to complete a tenhour course before they can purchase a hunting license. Similarly, persons desiring a furharvester license and born on or after July 1, 1966 are required to complete a furharvester education course. Classes are conducted at the local level by volunteer instructors. The hunter education program focuses on hunter responsibility, primitive hunting equipment, wildlife management principles, wildlife identification, first aid, survival, boating safety, drug and alcohol abuse and traditional firearms safety. Hunter education records list more than 438,000 course graduates since the program began in 1973. Each year, approximately 400 courses are taught statewide by approximately 1,500 volunteers. Annually approximately 12,000 Kansans complete the course. A measurable effect of the hunter education program has been the decline in the number of firearms related hunting accidents. The current annual accident rate is about 13 a season. The furharvester education program, primarily a correspondence course, was implemented in 1983. Student enrollment has steadily declined since its inception. The total number of graduates was approximately 9,300 with 300 graduating in 2003. The Department's efforts are limited to maintenance rather than expansion of this program, due to low demand.
Goal, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies
Goal: Conduct education and information programs to enhance the safety and proficiency of Kansas hunters. Objectives:
• • Conduct a comprehensive evaluation to determine the effectiveness of the Hunter Education Program. Enhance safety of the hunting experience, and reduce hunting-related accidents by 10%.
Issue / Problem: The Department's hunter and furharvester education programs lack consistency. Strategies: 1. Evaluate both programs and improve the quality and quantity of materials made available to volunteer instructors. 2. Improve communications and expand training opportunities for volunteer instructors. 3. Develop advanced hunter and furharvester courses. Issue / Problem: The hunter and furharvester education programs are not meeting the public's needs.
Strategies: 1. Encourage participation in these programs to reach a broader market. 2. Coordinate with conservation groups to provide additional hunter and furharvester education opportunities. Issue / Problem: Number of hunters is declining; average age is rising.
Strategies: 1. Continue and enhance programs like “Pass it On.” 2. Create programs that will appeal to the urban hunter. 3. Formulate “package deals” that provide information on licenses, hunting locations, lodging, restaurants, guide services, other attractions, game processing, etc.
Changes in red from Kyle 9/10/04 Permanent standing and flowing waters in Kansas cover about 359,000 acres. This acreage comprises 27 reservoirs covering 166,000 acres; 9,806 miles of streams amounting to 65,000 acres; over 80,000 private impoundments contributing an estimated 100,000 acres; and over 300 "lakes" of 25,000 acres. Reservoirs are operated by federal agencies or utility companies, while lakes are owned and operated by the Department, counties or cities. Although water-based recreation, particularly fishing, is not the primary benefit for most of these waters, in 2001 $193 million was spent on fishing in Kansas (U.S. Department of Interior, 2002). A total of 404,000 anglers 16 years of age or older fished in Kansas. Of those, 88 percent were residents of the state;(75% in 2001). A national survey conducted in 1985 (U.S. Department of Interior, 1988) has established that anglers in Kansas average about 20 fishing trips annually. The 1995 Licensed Angler survey (Burlingame, 1997) results were that lifetime anglers averaged 24 one-day fishing trips and 4 overnight trips; residents made 22 one-day trips and 4 overnight trips; and non-residents made 16 oneday trips and 4 overnight trips. Kansas supported an estimated 7.8 million fishing trips by adult anglers in 1989 (including unlicensed residents. The 2001 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation (USWFS, 2002) estimated that 5,662,000 angler days were expended by all fishermen in Kansas. Since 1974, the types of waters that anglers use in Kansas have changed (Central Research Corporation, 1975; National Analysts, 1975; Hartmann, 1984; U.S. Department of Interior, 1988). In 1987 Department survey of resident licensed anglers, lakes supported 31 percent of the state's total fishing pressure; private impoundments, 26 percent; reservoirs, 23 percent; and streams, 20 percent. In 1995, preference had changed to federal reservoirs most preferred, private lakes and ponds second, and State fishing lakes third (Burlingame, 1997). The types of fish preferred by anglers have also changed since 1974 (Central Research Corporation, 1975; Hartmann, 1984; Licensed Angler Survey, 1987, KDWP unpublished data). Catfish (channel catfish, flathead catfish and bullhead species) declined in popularity, perhaps relating to declines in stream use. This group of fish was the most popular in the state in 1990, but had declined to fourth in the last angler survey in 1995 (Burlingame, 1997). Black bass (largemouth bass, spotted bass and smallmouth bass) ranked second in 1990, but took the number one spot in 1995 (Burlingame, 1997). Non-resident anglers have expressed a preference for crappie (second among all types of anglers) while walleye have increased in popularity to third (Burlingame, 1997). Many of the Department's fishery related management and operations are funded by the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act (see Strategic Planning Section of
Introduction Chapter). In 2002, the Department was reimbursed $4,837,091 from the program. These monies are derived from an excise tax on fishing equipment and motor boat fuels. Income to the Department also came from the sale of 252,000 resident fishing licenses. Forty-one percent of 1987 licensed anglers used state fishing lakes, which comprise only one percent of the state's total water surface acres (Licensed Angler Survey, 1987, KDWP unpublished data). The 1995 survey originally did not include this question, but 1987 data, a 1995 report, and the 1995 Licensed Angler survey all indicate that the percentage was the same or slightly higher, indicating that the importance of State Fishing Lakes may be increasing. Streams and Rivers Kansas streams represent diverse systems ranging from the sand bottom prairie streams typified by the historic Kansas and Arkansas Rivers, to the Ozark streams found in the southeast. Streams are dynamic ecosystems that change throughout their courses in response to the characteristics of the watersheds which feed them. The diversity of wildlife and habitats in stream ecosystems depend on the floodplain characteristics and surrounding land use practices. Because of the intricate relationships between these factors, an ecosystems approach should be used for effective stream management. A Department assessment determined that a reduction or severe impairment of 900 stream miles has occurred. This loss of streams was caused by widespread dewatering in the Arkansas, Smoky Hill, Solomon and upper Republican river basins. Reduced and regulated flows from impoundments, interception by land treatment practices, and irrigation have all contributed to reduced stream flows. Dewatering of streams has not only caused a loss in fisheries habitat, but also a loss of overhead stream cover and riparian habitat. Dewatering is most noticeable in the western third of Kansas, but is expanding eastward. Three other concerns that affect the conservation of diverse fish populations and recreation uses of Kansas streams are: Degradation of water quality. Water quality in streams is reduced due to excess nutrients, pesticides and herbicides from croplands and urban areas; Recreation access and use of streams. Public access is limited to the Missouri, Kansas and Arkansas Rivers. Limited access occurs in other areas where municipalities own property or where access is granted; and Obstructed fish migrations. Instream structures, such as weirs, dams and some low water crossings, may act as barriers to fish movements and block spawning runs. Reservoirs
In Kansas, there are 27 large reservoirs. They are operated by either the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or the Bureau of Reclamation; the cooling impoundments are operated by utility companies. The Reservoir Fisheries Program addresses Department activities toward the management of aquatic wildlife resources at these impoundments. Some of these reservoirs do not provide conditions conducive to the reproduction of some fish species. The development of fishable populations is often dependent upon stocking fish supplied by the Department's hatchery system. Fish managed in these waters include: walleye sauger saugeye largemouth bass smallmouth bass spotted bass black crappie white crappie Other species include: freshwater drum bigmouth buffalo smallmouth buffalo common carp river carpsucker gizzard shad green sunfish Lakes Kansas lakes include nonfederal, public impoundments managed by the Department (State Fishing Lakes and lakes on Wildlife Areas and Parks) and local governments and are generally less than 1,200 acres. Although lakes comprise only about 5.5 percent of the state's water resource, they support 33 percent of the angling demand. This disproportionate demand often exceeds the biological capacities of these lakes to supply a satisfactory fishery. The Department manages 43 state fishing lakes covering approximately 4,500 acres. State fishing lakes comprise about one percent of the state's total surface water resource, yet sustained 13.9 percent of the state's fishing pressure in 1989, and 24% in 1995 (Licensed Angler Surveys, 1987 and 1997, KDWP unpublished data). State fishing lakes are typically located in rural areas of Kansas. Additionally, the Department manages 1,500 acres for fishing within the Mined Land Wildlife Area and additional acres in the Neosho Waterfowl Management Area. Kansas has more than 230 community lakes covering more than 15,000 surface acres enrolled in the Department's Community Lakes Assistance Program (CLAP). minnows topminnows brook silversides gar logperch darters goldeye bluegill white bass striped bass white bass/striped bass hybrids channel catfish flathead catfish blue catfish bullhead catfish
Many of these community lakes are within city limits and are managed for urban recreation. Grants have increased from $18,064 in 1987 to over $220,000 in 2003. Some of these improvements include new boat ramps, fish cleaning stations, fish rearing ponds, and fishing and boating docks. Community lakes comprise 4 percent of the state's surface water resource. In Kansas, organization lakes, strip pits, gravel pits, industrial impoundments, and fee lakes provide an additional 27,000 acres of water for fishing. Lake fisheries in Kansas are managed primarily for largemouth and spotted bass, saugeye, channel catfish, black or white crappie and bluegill. Other less commonly managed species include flathead and bullhead catfish, striped bass, white bass, white bass/striped bass hybrids, walleye, freshwater drum, redear sunfish and grass and common carp. Some of these fish (particularly channel catfish) do not sustain fishable populations through natural reproduction and are supplementally stocked from Department hatcheries. Some lakes are stocked with rainbow trout in the fall to provide a seasonal trout fishery. Private Impoundments Private impoundments (ponds and watershed lakes) provide conditions conducive to the production of quality, manageable fisheries more consistently than other water types in Kansas. Private ownership limits angler use. Limited angler use reduces the likelihood of overharvest; a common occurrence among small impoundments open to public access. Licensed anglers prefer to fish in private impoundments more than any other water type (Hartmann, 1984). Recent accomplishments: Recent accomplishments include the fishing access program where private pond owners and owners with stream access are paid a fee to allow public access; the trout program, which provides a winter fishery in suitable waters; the urban fishing program which provides catchable sized catfish in urban settings; and the dedication of $850,000 in Capital Improvement projects for motorboat access. Aquatic Education The aquatic education program was initiated in 1987 to teach young or novice anglers fundamental fishing skills. The development of skilled anglers is no longer the sole objective of the program. Instructional activities and materials are also provided focusing on fish, aquatic ecosystems, impacts of pollution, ethics of aquatic recreation, and water safety. This program is expected to expand as urbanization increases in Kansas.
Goal, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goal:
Provide angling and other fisheries-related recreation opportunities consistent with available resources and public desires. Objectives:
• To obtain data for managing aquatic systems throughout the state. • To improve aquatic habitats on public and private waters. • To provide 11.7 million angler trips annually on Kansas waters while maintaining improving the quantity and quality of the catch. • To provide 1.7 million angler trips annually on Kansas streams while maintaining or improving the quantity and quality of the catch. • To provide 2.5 million angler trips annually on Kansas reservoirs while maintaining or improving the quantity and quality of the catch. • To provide 4.9 million angler trips annually on Kansas private impoundments while maintaining or improving the quantity and quality of the catch. • To provide 730,000 angler trips annually on state fishing lakes; 1,153,000 on community lakes; and 708,000 on other lakes. Issue / Problem: CLAP lakes are not reaching their full potential. Strategies: 1. Remove additional fees, enabling free access for anglers. 2. Encourage and assist in implementation of lake plans. 3. Increase communication between Department and local communities regarding fisheries management plans and emphasize the value of fisheries to the economy and standard of living. 4. Encourage community leaders and employees to become familiar with their fisheries management plans, the role of regulations, and importance of enforcement. Issue / Problem: Community or municipal lakes and reservoirs are constructed and managed for purposes that limit fisheries potential. Strategies: 1. Provide financial incentives for free access to anglers. 2. Provide financial incentives to implement fisheries enhancements. 3. Incorporate the values of fisheries into the general planning process before lake construction. 4. Modify management plans to accommodate fisheries without severely impacting primary lake use. 5. Identify structural problems on existing lakes and recommend modifications to improve fisheries. Issue / Problem: Private impoundments are not currently managed for optimum sustained yield. Strategies: 1. Reinstate Pond Stocking Program that requires guests to comply with fishing license requirements. 55
2. Educate Department, owners and anglers on the importance of private impoundments to the fisheries effort. 3. Promote the importance of private impoundment fisheries within the Department and to anglers and private impoundment owners. 4. Invite assistance from other agencies, organizations and academic institutions to emphasize the benefits of private impoundment fisheries. 5. Lease more waters under FISH program. Issue / Problem: Some fisheries are not being managed to produce optimum sustained yields. Strategies: 1. Encourage angling activities consistent with the supply of sport fish. 2. Promote underutilized species. 3. Develop and maintain stream fish communities to withstand substantial recreation use from anglers. 4. Introduce new fish species when appropriate and supplementally stock species that cannot sustain populations through natural production. Issue / Problem: The availability of fishing opportunities is not always commensurate with public demand. Strategies: 1. Continue to improve CLAP, Urban, Trout and FISH programs. 2. Encourage pond use on existing public lands. 3. Intensify fisheries management to meet the demands in densely populated areas. 4. Initiate regulations or alter fish management practices in areas where demand exceeds biological capabilities. 5. Inform the public of fishing prospects and successful techniques for catching a wide variety of species. Issue / Problem: Data needed to effectively manage aquatic systems and set program objectives are limited or difficult to access. Strategies: 1. Conduct special investigations to develop, improve and evaluate management strategies for aquatic resources. 2. Conduct surveys to identify public use of Department facilities, fishing opportunities, public attitudes and resources demands.
Kansas has 1641 miles of lake shoreline and 147,014 surface acres of lake water. A 2001 survey of Kansas residents, age 16 and over, revealed a participation rate of 17 percent for power boats (a drop of 5% from 1990) , 4 percent for sailboats and sailboards (drop of 2%), and 9 percent for canoes, kayaks or rafts (increase of 4%) (Hardt, 1990, and RMS, 2001). Historically, the regulation of boating in the United States rested primarily with the U. S. Coast Guard. The Boating Act of 1958 encouraged the states to assume responsibility for the registration and regulation of boats for recreation use. Watercraft Registration In 1960 Kansas began requiring boat registration. The proper registration of all watercraft using the waters of the state provides the means for the department to receive operational revenue, and establishes a means to identify and secure these vessels against theft or fraudulent activities. There were 103,170 registered boats as of December 31, 2000. Recreational boaters contributed $388,870,600 to the state’s economy in 2000. PWC owners contributed $105,343,358 to the state’s economy in 2000. Recreational boaters had 3,627,524 user days in 2000. PWC boaters had 2,751,480 user days in 2000. Kansans spent $43,864,000 on boat purchases, $13,906,000 on outboard motors, $1,318,000 on boat trailers, and $11,114,000 on boating related accessories in 1999. Boating registrations have continued to increase. In 2002 boating registrations generated a total of $823,250 in Department revenues. Recent boating registration trends show a marked increase in the number of personal watercraft. Boating registration also shows a reduction in the number of smaller sailboats and an increase in the number of powerboats in the 16 to 20 foot range. Funds generated by registrations are matched with federal funds through the U.S. Coast Guard Recreational Boating Safety program, as much as possible. The Department Coast Guard grant for 2004 is for $724,095. These federal funds are derived from federal taxes on motor fuels. Of all motor fuel sold in this country, an estimated 1.08 percent is used by boat motors. This portion of federal fuel taxes amounts to a nationwide total of $105 million, part of which is distributed by the U.S. Coast Guard for boating safety, education and law enforcement programs. Facilities for motorboat access can also be cost shared with the Federal government through a percentage of monies allocated through the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act if they benefit anglers. These monies come from federal taxes on boats, and boating related purchases. KDWP has allocated about $850,000 per year in federal aid for motorboat access projects from DJ reimbursements since FY2000.
Regulatory Responsibilities Besides registration, KDWP is also responsible boating enforcement. Because water-based recreation is in high demand and the public deserves the opportunity to safely recreate on the state’s waters, the Department works to ensure that all users of these waters conduct their activities in a manner that is consistent with safe operation standards prescribed by law. Watercraft safety awareness and compliance Water-based recreation is a key activity in the state and as such the ability for the public to safely use these resources is of high importance to the quality of life for the public. Watercraft users should be made highly aware of the importance of safety practices and educated in this area to maximize operational safety and minimize accidents and dangerous operation practices. Safety standards established by law are the primary means of assuring all people using the water resources of the state have a safe enjoyable experience. Maintaining a high compliance level with these laws will benefit the public, assuring them of the ability to safely use this resource. Watercraft Law Kansas statutes and regulations control the operation and use of watercraft in the state. As such these laws are subject to the changing standards adopted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the watercraft industry. State law must be reviewed and revised to address the needs of the state. KDWP is responsible for reporting all eligible watercraft accidents to the U.S. Coast Guard. It is an important function of the Department that thorough, accurate watercraft investigations are conducted in a timely, professional manner. The Department is charged with primary law enforcement for watercraft law enforcement issues. This statutory mandate requires all law enforcement officers be well trained in the pertinent laws relating to all aspects of watercraft ownership and operation. The effectiveness of any law enforcement program is dependent upon the judicial system and the penalties assess to violators. Penalties need to be appropriate to the crime committed and uniformly imposed across the state. Unfortunately, over 50 percent of the boating accidents in this state can be contributed to boating under the influence (BUI) of alcohol and drugs. The Department continues to emphasize boating enforcement and education as tools for providing public safety on boating waters. The Department is also responsible for boater education, aids to navigation; and public access.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goals: Identify and serve the needs of Kansas boaters in the areas of access, education, registration, and public safety to assure optimum recreation opportunity and enjoyment. To provide safe recreational use of Kansas waterways by minimizing use conflict while protecting the natural and cultural resource. Objectives:
• • • • • • • • To improve ten percent of existing or provide 15 new boating facilities accessible to all populations by 2009 To reduce the rate of boating fatalities, accidents by 10 percent during the next five year period To increase the amount of law enforcement patrols and boat inspections. To improve ease of participation in approved boating safety courses by making them accessible in classrooms, over the Internet, as correspondence and other media. To determine the characteristics of the Kansas boating public by 2006. To identify the needs of Kansas boaters through user surveys. To promote the safe use of our waters by proactive programs focused on education and enforcement of the state’s watercraft laws. Register all boats. Access to Department boating programs and activities is limited.
Issue / Problem:
Strategies: 1. Develop a comprehensive statewide plan placing a priority on the development and use of boating programs in the areas of safety, access, education and information. 2. Contract for a boater education Internet course 3. Promote activities to emphasize the importance of Department services to boaters, such as courtesy inspections and facility dedications. 4. Remove the “over 21 clause” in the mandatory boater education statute. 5. Develop promotional campaign in conjunction with Information/Education Section to increase awareness of the issue. 6. Seek venues to conduct public training and education programs. 7. Consider implementation of legislation or regulation focused upon increasing the safe use of the state’s water resources. 8. Actively encourage and support local, state and national groups and organizations in delivering public training and education programs.
Issue / Problem:
Recreation access to public waters needs to be assessed and improved where needed.
Strategies: 1. Assess feasibility and demand for river access points, and implement where possible. 2. Improve existing parking areas, boat ramps, courtesy docks where needed. 3. Develop and distribute standards for minimum site conditions and facility placement for boat ramps, breakwaters and other boating related facilities. 4. Develop and maintain sequenced access sites on navigable streams with support facilities. 5. Develop a multi-use waterway management guide for each reservoir. 6. Develop contracts or rewrite contracts that generate revenue ( ie: marina contracts and concessionaires) and remove barriers to private sector development. 7. Capitalize on the trend toward environmentally sound boating and ecotourism. Issue / Problem: Information regarding the characteristics of the Kansas boating public needs to be expanded.
Strategies: 1. Conduct regular boater surveys to measure user demands, constituent customer service needs, and demographics in recreation boating. 2. Obtain boater information through the boating registration process. 3. Coordinate Department activities with boating organizations and other natural resources recreation groups in the state. 4. Get demographics for canoe and kayak owners. Issue / Problem: Department standards are needed to provide handicapped accessibility on all boating facilities constructed with federal funds.
Strategy: 1. Develop field use standards for handicapped accessible boating facilities to aid in project development. Issue / Problem: On reservoirs, water safety devices and navigational aids need to be updated.
Strategies: 1. Conduct site surveys to determine needs for navigational equipment, and implement improvements. 2. Continue to install automatic wind warning devices on major public waters. 3. Improve buoy markings to identify hazards, collision points and other appropriate features. 4. Provide lights to identify ramps, bridges, marinas and other landmarks for nighttime navigation. 5. Develop an Aids to Navigation Plan for each reservoir with input from the Department and the reservoir owner which includes identification of which agency is responsible for new and replacement aids to navigation, who is 60
responsible for new, replacement, and maintenance of aids to navigation, and a replacement cycle. Issue / Problem: The number of boating accidents in the state, and severity could be lowered with increased compliance with safety standards.
Strategies: 1. Increase boating enforcement and selective enforcement 2. Increase public awareness campaigns in population centers, around heavily used water-based recreation areas. 3. Coordinate boating safety efforts with volunteer organizations throughout the state. 4. Identify safety problems and provide selective enforcement response to known areas of non-compliance. 5. Conduct annual reviews of laws and regulations. 6. Provide data to supplement the adjustment of statutory penalties. 7. Increase public awareness of the proper operational standards for watercraft, focusing on methods to increase voluntary compliance. 8. Increase public awareness of high water hazards to boaters during the appropriate seasons. 9. Use existing public information channels to increase public awareness of boating accident reporting requirements, safety, weather problems and related activities. 10. Seek modification of current BUI laws to parallel driving under the influence laws for motor vehicles. 11. Continue to emphasize alcohol related boating accident rates in public awareness campaigns. 12. Enlist the support of alcoholic beverage retailers and distributors in the prevention of alcohol related boating accidents. 13. Emphasize training and enforcement of BUI laws. 14. Continue public awareness campaigns for the wearing of life jackets, fishermen and hunters while on the water. Issue / Problem: Not all watercraft are registered, so they cannot be tracked in case of theft or fraudulent activities. Strategies: 1. Automate the boat registration process for department and vendors 2. Require boaters to provide a hull identification number. 3. Maintain an adequate boat registration system that complies with USCGUpdate 4. Register non-powered vessels currently exempt. 5. Review the current watercraft registration program, implementing any necessary changes to address inadequacies in the vessel identification and registration process, and possibly identifies measurable standards and increases constituent service requirements. 6. Actively participate in identifying and suppressing theft and illegal trafficking of stolen watercraft. 7. Participate in the development of uniform, nationwide standards for registration through active participation with appropriate committees, organizations and associations.
8. Work with responsible entities for the production of a guide restricted to law enforcement use on hidden number locations, to be updated as necessary. Issue/Problem: Environmental Issues need to be addressed, as relate to boating. Strategies: 1. Address dumping of raw sewage from marine sanitation devices. 2. Develop internal policies for dealing with aquatic nuisance species and recreational boating. 3. Develop a policy for cleaning and checking a boat for aquatic nuisance species when transferring from one body of water to another. Issue/Problem: The Department does not have a standard set of procedures for employee use of boating equipment.
Strategies: 1. Develop policies on required wearing of pfd’s by employees and required training for boat operation. 2. Disposal of batteries, engines and other unserviceable equipment should be done in an environmentally correct manner. Issue/Problem: KDWP is required to maintain records relating to watercraft use and compliance with the provision of law as a part of operational procedure and to secure federal grant revenues.
Strategies: 1. Develop reporting measures that accurately reflect finding of law enforcement actions that can be maintained and utilized. Issue / Problem: KDWP needs its officers to be well trained to fulfill state mandates
Strategies: 1. Provide annual training to educate law enforcement officers to the latest information and techniques relating to the proper enforcement of watercraft related law. 2. Secure equipment necessary for enforcement of watercraft safety laws and provide the related training for the proper use of such equipment. 3. Establish standards and policies to direct the effective enforcement of watercraft law. Issue / Problem: KDWP is responsible for investigating and reporting certain watercraft accidents to the U. S. Coast Guard.
Strategies: 1. Identify and standardize the protocol for the reporting and investigation of reportable accidents. 2. Provide timely reporting policies that require citizen reporting. 3. Continue to seek and utilize accident investigation training for all officers of the agency. 4. Development of an accident reconstruction team for use in investigating worst-case accidents. 62
5. Monitor boat accidents for increasing damage to boat transoms which may have a correlation to increased engine weights for those motors meeting new emission standards.
Conserving Habitat and Species
Because Kansas has only 3% of its area in public lands, habitat protection and conservation play a major role all aspects of Department business. Agriculture, grazing and urban development have severely compromised the naturalness of its habitats. In the mission statement, KDWP is tasked with conserving and enhancing Kansas’ natural heritage, wildlife and habitats. Suitable habitat is necessary for wildlife so that activities such as hunting, fishing, and observation can take place. In addition, KDWP also strives to provide outdoor recreation in a natural setting. Issues for both wildlife needs and human desire for a natural setting are identified. KDWP is currently in the process of developing a Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan (CWCP) which will identify species in need of conservation and their habitats, and outline strategies to implement their recovery. The CWCP will be incorporated into this plan when it is completed. Water Issues Loss of streams is caused by widespread dewatering in the Arkansas, Smoky Hill, Solomon and upper Republican River basins. Reduced and regulated flows from impoundments, interception by land treatment practices, and irrigation have all contributed to reduced stream flows. Dewatering of streams has not only caused a loss in fisheries habitat, but also a loss of overhead stream cover and riparian habitat, and habitat diversity. Dewatering is most noticeable in the western third of Kansas, but is expanding eastward. Kansas streams are further impacted by channel modification, encroachment by development and agriculture, and use by livestock. Wetlands are impacted by draining for farming and human development. Upland habitats fall to farming, grazing, housing, shopping centers, transportation systems, industrial complexes and public utilities. Cumulatively these land uses often reduce or destroy the quantity, quality and diversity of wildlife habitats. Closely associated with direct conversion to agriculture is the depletion of ground and surface waters. Approximately 83 percent of the available water entering the state as precipitation or surface flows is consumed by human activities. About 96 percent of all water consumed in the state is used for cropland irrigation, primarily in central and western Kansas. Dewatering continues to pose threats to the remaining wetlands in these regions. Flood control structures and stream channel modifications resulting in draining of adjacent wetlands or altering stream flows entering wetlands are common in Kansas. Land treatment practices, such as field terracing, have reduced surface runoff, which adversely affects wetlands. Construction of major federal reservoirs in
Kansas has stopped, but the construction of smaller detention dams and land treatment structures continues. Water quality is also an issue, as water uses, concentration of people into urban areas, use of fertilizers and pesticides and other pollutants increases. Wetlands Wetland areas in Kansas are an important component of the state's varied ecological and recreation resources. Several wetlands, most notably Cheyenne Bottoms, are of national and international importance. In addition, a growing public understanding of and concern for wetlands is emerging in Kansas. Based on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) estimates, Kansas lost 405,600 acres or 48 percent of its wetlands between the 1780s and 1980s. The vast majority of these were shallow, often temporary wetlands, drained between the mid1950s and mid-1970s. Wetlands provide important survival needs for a variety of Kansas wildlife. Migratory birds use wetlands extensively as feeding, resting, breeding and wintering habitat. Kansas wetlands play a major role within the Central Flyway by providing a crucial waterfowl wintering area for more than 27 percent of the flyway's mallard population and 9 percent of its Canada geese. Nineteen of Kansas' 46 listed Threatened or Endangered species, including 6 federally listed species (bald eagle, eskimo curlew, least tern, peregrine falcon, whooping crane and piping plover), are closely dependent upon wetland ecosystems for part of their life requirements. All amphibians and many mammals, birds, reptiles and invertebrates found in Kansas are also dependent on temporary and permanent wetlands. Wetlands provide critical nursery habitats for the spawning and early development of fish, crustaceans and other aquatic organisms. Larger Kansas wetlands also support some sport fisheries when water levels are conducive to survival. Cheyenne Bottoms, for example, provides thousands of angler days per year. Enhancing water quantity and quality are other important wetland values in Kansas. Upland wetlands play a limited, but important role, in the hydrologic recharge of groundwater supplies through infiltration and percolation of surface water. Wetlands associated with streams and rivers not only provide flood storage, but also slow flood water velocities, reduce flood peaks, and increase duration of streamflow. Within their natural capacities, wetlands function as valuable water filtering systems trapping excessive sediments, nutrients and other pollutants. Loss of wetlands and other habitats due to urbanization has played a lesser role in Kansas. However, associated development pressures, such as increased transportation systems and industrial pollution, have a higher potential for impacting natural areas. Energy development in Kansas is expected to increase in response to consumer demands and may pose an additional threat to the state’s natural areas.
Regulatory Authority The Environmental Services Section of the Department protects wildlife habitat through a permitting process for projects which affect threatened and endangered species and through many technical assistance and coordination activities with other governments, industry and organizations. State and federally listed species are protected in Kansas as designated by the Kansas Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1975 (Kansas Statutes Annotated 32-957 through 963, 32-1009 through 1012, and 32-1033). The Act was implemented to protect species listed as threatened (T), endangered (E), or species in need of conservation (SINC) within Kansas. The act places the responsibility for identifying and undertaking appropriate conservation measures for T and E species directly upon the Department of Wildlife and Parks through regulations (Kansas Administrative Regulations 115-15-1 through 4). The Department must also undertake efforts to conserve listed species and pursue increasing their populations to the point they are no longer listed as T or E. K.S.A. 32-963 and K.A.R. 115-15-3 require the Department of Wildlife and Parks to issue special action permits for activities that affect species listed as T and E where action means an activity resulting in the physical alteration of a listed species critical habitat, physical disturbance of a listed species, or destruction of individuals of a listed species. These activities must be publicly funded, state or federally assisted, or require a permit from another state or federal government agency to be included as activities that fall under the Department’s regulatory purview where action permits could be required. Critical habitats are defined in K.A.R. 115-15-3 and are defined as either of the following: specific areas documented as currently providing essential physical and biological features and supporting a self-sustaining population of a listed species; or specific areas not documented as currently supporting a listed species, but determined essential for the listed species by the secretary. Critical habitats are designated by the Department. The Department’s Environmental Services Section (ESS) is responsible for reviewing proposed activities that fall under its regulatory purview according to statutes and regulations. ESS personnel conduct environmental reviews of these projects including potential effects to T and E species and state-designated critical habitats. ESS personnel issue action permits for activities that will affect listed species or their critical habitats. Special conditions are incorporated into the aforementioned permits to help offset negative effects to listed species and critical habitats. Permit conditions can limit where and when (e.g., spawning date restrictions) construction activities occur and require restoration, creation, and perpetual protection of existing habitats. The Department has the authority to refuse to issue action permits for activities that affect listed species and critical habitats if these activities cannot be adequately mitigated to offset the negative effects to a listed species and critical habitats. Each calendar year, ESS personnel conduct environmental reviews for approximately 850 new proposed activities that fall under the Department’s regulatory purview.
The Department is also directed by state statute to enforce laws directed at certain types of water pollution sources. In addition, the Department's authority was broadened in 1989 to encompass the private management of exotic wildlife species, most notably breeders and sellers, and who are regulated by the Department's game breeders permit system. Some exotic or non-native wildlife, such as pheasants or striped bass, are covered by the Department's harvest regulations. The protection and conservation of the state’s native and indigenous wildlife is one of the primary missions of the Department, and exotic and invasive species have the potential to threaten, or at very least compromise, the health and existence of native and indigenous species as well as provide potential threats to the welfare and public safety of the citizens of the state. The control of exotic and invasive species is of high importance to the state’s publics and its natural resources; current laws should be strictly enforced along with creating, amending or rescinding laws to provide necessary protections. Exotic Wildlife Exotic wildlife are defined as "... those wildlife species which are non-migratory and are not native or indigenous to Kansas, or which do not presently exist in Kansas as an established wild population". The introduction of exotic species into new ecosystems can have major impacts on the environment which are usually more detrimental than beneficial. Classic examples of exotic plants and animals having adverse impacts in Kansas are the dandelion, purple loosestrife, common carp, European starling, English sparrow, Norway rat and feral cats. Wildlife managers must carefully address a broad spectrum of resource and social impacts before proposing new introductions. Educational Efforts The Wildlife Education Service (WES), initiated in 1981, encourages greater emphasis on the environment in public and private schools statewide. Emphasis is placed on wildlife and aquatic education. WES provides education materials, curricula and training workshops around the state. Efforts to improve environmental awareness are important in an urbanized society, where routine contract with the outdoors is becoming rare for many of Kansas’ citizens. The Wildlife Reference Center, the Milford and Pratt Education Centers, and the Prairie Center provide resources and facilities for Department wildlife and aquatic education programs. Project WILD and Project Learning Tree are also components of WES.
Goals, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goals: Increase number of acres of habitat for conservation and public outdoor recreation through acquisition, leasing and easements.
Protect, manage, enhance and restore natural habitats on KDWP managed lands. Encourage and assist private landowners in protecting, restoring and managing natural habitats of all kinds. Attain a no-net-loss and nondegradation of wetlands in the short-term and increase wetland quantity and quality in the longterm. Communicate effectively with the public to promote appreciation of the natural resources of Kansas and gain assistance in achieving the KDWP mission Minimize losses through regulatory means Objectives:
• • • • • • • • • • • • To mitigate all wetland losses or degradation. To manage an additional 10,000 acres of wetlands and natural habitats by 2009 To protect all remaining wetlands on private lands. Develop a management plan for upland prairie Develop a system to delineate habitat types, and electronically map the state of Kansas Develop the Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan. Develop 5 management plans for species or habitat types or species guilds Implement 3 management plans Improve habitat on private and public lands. Develop water quality standards, identify baseline condition and define goals. Develop a Department-wide recycling plan. To survey for a baseline rate of educator awareness and participation in the Wildlife Education Service every three years following to monitor trends.
Issue / Problem: Continue building a comprehensive statewide wetland inventory Strategies: 1. Determine the status and location of existing wetlands. 2. Integrate the wetland inventories into a Geographic Information System (GIS). 3. Assist in the completion of the USFWS' National Wetland Inventory for Kansas and the Environmental Protection Agency in determining wetland values. 4. Continue to assist Natural Resources Conservation Service in delineating "swampbuster" wetlands.
Issue / Problem: Dewatering of rivers, streams and underground aquifers continues to threaten and degrade wetlands and stream habitat. Strategies: 1. Obtain and perfect water rights for public wetlands, rivers, streams and reservoirs 2. Monitor and recommend minimum desirable streamflows with the Kansas Water Office. Provide technical and policy support to the Division of Water Resources for the administration and enforcement of the Water Appropriations Program. 3. Promote federal agriculture and water policies that conserve wetlands. 4. Promote research on stream, aquifer and wetland interactions. 5. Inform the public as to the importance of water conservation in protecting wetlands and preserving stream flows. Issue / Problem: Coordination of wetland conservation among waterrelated agencies is lacking.
Strategies: 1. Complete a statewide comprehensive wetland plan. 2. Incorporate wetland strategies into the Kansas Water Plan. 3. Establish a periodic reporting system with other state and federal agencies to evaluate assistance programs in conserving wetlands. 4. Identify and promote criteria to target state and federal financial cost-share assistance programs for wetlands conservation. 5. Develop local and county riparian and wetland protection plans with the State Conservation Commission and County Conservation Districts. 6. Establish watershed basin strategies to protect and enhance wetlands with Basin and Technical Advisory Committees. 7. Develop wetland protection strategies with local communities. 8. Protect, develop and manage wetlands associated with watershed protection programs. Issue / Problem: Wetlands on private lands continue to be altered or destroyed. Strategies: 1. Increase financial and technical assistance associated with private wetlands through WHIP 2. Promote recognition of private landowners who integrate wetlands protection into their operations. 3. Encourage benefits for landowners protecting or creating wetlands. 4. Educate landowners of the economic benefits of wetlands through demonstration projects. 5. Improve the public's attitude towards wetland protection. Issue / Problem: Wetland management techniques are not well developed, understood or applied. Strategies: 1. Improve management practices for wetland conservation. 2. Develop trainings, workshops and materials on wetland management practices and procedures. 69
3. Develop standards and techniques for evaluating wetland management practices. 4. Integrate wetland management into Department land management plans. 5. Use a variety of financial and technical assistance programs are available to private landowners to restore, enhance and manage wetlands, such as Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program (WHIP), Conservation Reserve Program, and Agricultural Water Quality Protection, the High Priority Cost-Share Program and Non-point Source Pollution Control Fund, as administered by the State Conservation Commission. Issue / Problem: Due to declining stream habitat, some fish species are declining in Kansas. Strategies: 1. Determine the biological status of priority fish species. 2. Compare current status to historic records and attempt to detect trends at the stream,river basin, regional and statewide levels. 3. Consider listing fish species in need of for legal protection as Threatened, Endangered or Species in Need of Conservation. 4. Locate, restore and protect habitats supporting species that are declining or in need of protection. 5. Initiate management plans to prevent further declines. 6. Evaluate the impacts of commercial harvest of bait fish on native fish populations. 7. Evaluate the impacts of sport fish and prey stocking on native fish communities. 8. Prevent distribution of non-native fish species that threaten native species. 9. Develop a review process, legislation, regulations and policies relative to the culture and stocking of exotic fish in Kansas. 10. Expand Department management activities to produce healthy ecosystems that benefit nonsport fish as well as sport fish. Issue / Problem: Public lands are insufficient to support appropriate land uses, wildlife and associated recreation and conserve habitat at the same time. Strategies: 1. Expand Department land holdings to protect, conserve and enhance the natural resources of Kansas, involving other agencies and organizations and programs, including initiatives under the North American Waterfowl Management Plan and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Farmers Home Administration: 2. Pursue Fee title purchases by the Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, Wildscape or other conservation organizations as another means for possible deed transfer to the Department. 3. Obtain easements as opportunities arise Issue / Problem: Negative attitudes among private landowners adversely affect the Department’s land acquisition, easement contract and public access programs.
Strategies: 1. Develop a program to gain better understanding between KDWP and private landowners on the benefits of public lands, easements, and leases 70
2. Work with Legislature for governmental support of land ownership by KDWP Issue / Problem: Lack of, or degradation of habitat on public and private lands inhibits reaching wildlife goals. Strategies: 1. Evaluate and improve management of wildlife through habitat preservation and manipulation on state, local, federal and privately owned lands. 2. Develop a statewide habitat inventory and monitoring system. 3. Reduce habitat losses associated with state, local, federal and private activities. 4. Develop procedures for restoring degraded habitats, especially crucial habitat on public and private lands. 5. Enhance habitat programs beneficial to private landowners, and provide incentives to landowners for enhancing, developing and retaining wildlife habitats. 6. Increase support for wildlife habitat enhancement programs on private lands. 7. Increase opportunities to fund more habitat enhancement programs for public and private landowners. 8. Purchase or create conservation easements on lands containing critical habitat 9. Develop perimeter parking and transportation systems to support walk-in use on Department lands. Issue / Problem: Loss and degradation of physical habitat are major factors impacting aquatic ecosystems in Kansas.
Strategies: 1. Document critical and crucial aquatic habitat locations. 2. Use existing regulatory and nonregulatory programs to protect and restore aquatic ecosystems. 3. Develop and promote land and water uses, practices and projects that are beneficial to wildlife, water quality and conservation. 4. Acquire and manage stream corridors where Threatened or Endangered species, unique habitats or populations, and outstanding fish recreation opportunities exist. 5. Explore incentives of existing or new programs for private or public landowners to protect and enhance aquatic ecosystems. 6. Encourage the design and construction of fish ladders and the removal of instream migration barriers. Issue / Problem: Water quality degradation limits biological communities and recreation in Kansas waters. Strategies: 1. Measure water quality to identify degradation problem areas in the state. 2. Use existing state and federal programs and statutes to protect and restore water quality. 3. Advocate protection of riparian corridors for their ability to intercept nutrients and soils. 4. Implement a policy on Department lands of using sustainable agriculture methods to protect water quality.
5. Document water uses, examine state water quality standards and petition Kansas Department of Health and Environment for appropriate changes in the water body use classification. 6. Increase cooperative habitat enhancement efforts between the Department and recreation user groups. 7. Determine established levels of water quality and guidelines for review. 8. Develop a network of notification, review, investigation and reporting, that involves the appropriate agencies with points of contact information. 9. Develop plans of response and resolution. Issue / Problem: Habitats and conditions for sensitive species is not known, and KDWP lacks mechanisms to manage them.
Strategies: 1. Research sensitive species native to the state of Kansas, and determine habitat needs 2. Identify locations of necessary habitat 3. Acquire management capabilities over necessary habitat, and implement plans to preserve and enhance such habitats. Issue / Problem: Reduced and altered flows have severe impacts on Kansas fisheries.
Strategies: 1. Protect stream communities by increasing minimum stream flows to locations not currently maintained. 2. Acquire senior water rights as opportunities arise. 3. Improve interagency cooperation to prevent impairment of flows. 4. Endorse alternatives to structural methods for water quality improvement and flood protection. 5. Manage releases from impoundments to mimic historic flows where possible. Issue / Problem: Many Kansans are not aware of the value, uniqueness and importance of Kansas’ natural resources.
Strategies 1. Develop an education and information program in which every employee is trained in the role as a representative and a proponent of the Department. 2. Increase public awareness and understanding of environmental issues through mass media. 3. Increase involvement of the outside media through more direct contact by Department staff. Issue / Problem: Water resources on some Department lands are insufficient or not efficiently managed.
Strategies: 1. Implement management plans incorporating improved water use efficiency. 2. Work with COE and BOR on issue of water levels in reservoirs for recreational and fishing and fish habitat as beneficial uses to be considered in management plans. 3. Work with DWR to enforce existing water rights. 72
4. Obtain water rights as needed. Issue / Problem: Monitoring and control of exotic and invasive species needs to take place. Strategies: 1. Regulate the introduction and use of exotic wildlife. 2. Coordinate between ESS and Law Enforcement to continue to review and analyze current statutes and regulations, identifying issues and areas of concern that need to be addressed by legislative or regulatory action and proposing corrective measures. 3. Coordinate between ESS and Law Enforcement to develop a means of tracking information and related case information to access threat potentials. 4. Prioritize exotic and invasive species threats and problems, addressing those having the greatest direct impact to both the natural resources and public safety of the state. Issue / Problem: Work closely with local communities, watershed support groups, conservation groups and other resource agencies to incorporate more overall resource management practices into daily operations and emphasize resource conservation issues in educational efforts. Strategies: 1. Increase efforts to incorporate overall resource management and recycling into daily operations for all public lands. 2. Develop support for resource management practices through interpretation, education, and outreach programming. 3. Continue selected land acquisition to increase efficiency and to add unique resources to the system. 4. Continue to protect, preserve and educate regarding resource management on KDWP public lands and waters. 5. Issue / Problem: The public is not aware of KDWP conservation and educational opportunities. Strategies: 1. Increase publicity of interpretive visitor centers and environmental, historical and cultural education programs. 2. Develop education centers in urban areas.
Enforcing the Law
KDWP has enforcement authority and responsibility in four general categories. They are Fish and Wildlife (including T&E and exotic species), Facilities and Lands, Boating and General Enforcement Fish and Wildlife Resource The protection and conservation of native and indigenous wildlife is considered to be of paramount importance to the State of Kansas. Areas which define wildlife-based law enforcement activities are: Commercialization The illegal commercialization of the state’s natural resources poses a serious threat to those resources and deprives the citizens of the state of the benefits of those resources. The state’s natural resources may be commercialized in certain circumstances as provided by law; however, the illegal commercialization of these resources is fueled by monetary profits by unscrupulous persons. Such illegal activities should be identified and dealt with in accordance to the appropriate laws. Revenue fraud The Department’s revenue must be secured and maximized in order that programs benefiting the public and natural resources may be developed and implemented. The fraudulent issuance of license and permits represents a direct threat to the revenue income to the Department and jeopardizes the continuation, expansion and creation of programs. Such illegal activities should be identified and prosecuted in accordance to appropriate laws. Investigations The proper investigation of alleged violations is a key component to proper law enforcement work. While all law enforcement cases require a certain amount of investigation activity, it is generally accepted that more serious crimes are detected through more thorough, extensive investigation techniques. In order for the natural resources and the publics’ interests to be adequately protected, it is incumbent upon the law enforcement program to engage the appropriate investigative resources and techniques to expose and prosecute the intentional acts of violators. Field enforcement coverage The state of Kansas encompasses a large land-mass area that is covered by a limited personnel resource. Many of the Department’s parks and public land areas
experience high use from a large segment of the public placing a substantial burden on limited law enforcement personnel to provide law enforcement protection. Exotics and invasive species The protection and conservation of the state’s native and indigenous wildlife is one of the primary missions of the Department. The control of exotic and invasive species is of high importance to the state’s publics and its natural resources; current laws should be strictly enforced along with creating, amending or rescinding laws to provide necessary protections (addressed in Conserving Habitat – Exotic Species). Operation Game Thief and public participation The effectiveness and efficiency of the law enforcement program is reliant on cooperative and communicative public participation. The public needs an efficient means of contacting the Department with information important to the mission of protecting the public safety and natural resources. Resource violation penalties The natural and recreational resources under the stewardship of the Department are of high importance to the public. As such, those individuals who abuse, vandalize, destroy or illegally take from these resources should be penalized in a manner commensurate with the injury incurred by the public and resource. Public Lands Resource: The proper management and use of the Department’s pubic lands are of high importance to the citizens of Kansas. It is of major importance that these lands are managed and protected to provide the public access and use of these lands consistent with the prescribed management strategies, and optimize the wildlife resources. The illegal use of alcohol on Department properties detracts from the use of these lands by the public, as does illegal use of drugs or drug production. As part of the management of the Department’s public lands, certain types of activities may be either allowed or prohibited depending upon the management strategies for those lands. The enforcement of laws pertaining to land use is important in order for management objectives to be met. Improper off-road vehicle use has a detrimental effect to the public lands areas managed by the Department. As a part of the stewardship of these lands it is important that these lands are protected from illegal use. Along with land itself, the facilities on these lands must be protected from vandalism, destruction, or illegal or improper use. Most of these lands are in rural, remote areas and can lend themselves to illegal dumping of trash, refuse, pollutants and hazardous materials. Measures must be maintained to assure that such practices do not occur. Water quality is closely tied to the quality of the land resource. Enforcement in this area is also addressed in the Conserving Habitat Section. Boating Resource
Enforcement of safety and registration laws are essential to safeguarding the boating resource for the people of Kansas. Enforcement actions are addressed in the Boating Section. General Enforcement As certified members of the state’s law enforcement community, the Department’s law enforcement officers are empowered and directed by law to assist in the duties of maintaining law and order in the state. It shall be the objective of the law enforcement program to maintain an active role in maintaining peace and order within the state as established by the directional laws of the state and policy set forth by the Secretary. State law requires that all certified law enforcement officers receive basic law enforcement training, as well as advanced, continuing training on an annual basis. It is paramount that law enforcement officers of the Department receive the proper training so they may appropriately respond to the law enforcement duties of their job. The Department’s law enforcement officers are the front-line contacts with the publics and therefore are required to be well versed not only in law enforcement topics, but also have a solid understanding of all aspects of Department operations and programs to address the questions posed by the public on a daily basis. The ability for law enforcement officers to communicate with the public and within the law enforcement and emergency response community is of vital importance. An officer’s ability to appropriately provide the necessary and required services is reliant on the officer’s ability to access timely and accurate information. The Department’s law enforcement program constitutes a significant portion of the state’s law enforcement resource having statewide authority. Additionally, the Department maintains deputy officer programs with federal agencies. The success of the Department’s law enforcement program is dependant upon the cooperation between the Department and all local, state and federal agencies having common interests. Department law enforcement officers represent a significant emergency response resource to the state. Maintaining an active, cooperative role in emergency response, safe-guarding the public in times of emergencies and disasters through coordinated efforts with local, state and federal agencies is be an important function of the law enforcement mission.
Goal, Objectives, Issues, Problems and Strategies Goal: To enhance the quality of life for the citizens of Kansas through the protection and conservation of the natural and recreational resources of the state through public awareness and uniform enforcement of the statutes and regulations controlling the management of these resources.
• Devise a system to measure the degree to which the public is held in compliance with the proper protection and conservation measures relating to the state’s wildlife management through the enforcement of the controlling laws. Evaluate the efficiency and prioritization of the law enforcement program in order to best utilize the manpower and revenue resources provided to the division. Evaluate and improve public participation in the law enforcement program. Provide a means whereby the public can provide timely information to Department law enforcement, reporting violation information and requesting assistance to provide emergency response and safety. Ensure that public lands are utilized in accordance with the controlling laws, rules and regulations through the enforcement of controlling provisions.
Issue / Problem: Existing compliance measurement tools and procedures need to be reviewed so that a clear and statistically accurate system is developed. Strategies: 1. Complete a thorough review of current reporting systems currently utilized for measuring law enforcement compliance. 2. Based upon a review of current reporting systems, develop procedures and standards to secure quantifiable data for analysis. 3. Review current studies on compliance analysis and implement procedures to utilize these methods as a means of evaluating the overall law enforcement program and identifying areas of concern. Issue / Problem: Enforcement actions are a necessary component of controlling exotic and invasive species. Strategies: 1. Continue to review and analyze current trends on the effects that exotic and invasive species pose to native and indigenous wildlife relative to potential enforcement actions to prevent or minimize negative impacts. 2. Develop a means to identify and mark existing populations under private control. 3. Provide an ending date for possession and disposal of existing populations. Issue / Problem: Illegal commercialization is detrimental to management of the State’s wildlife, and needs to be monitored closely. Strategies:
1. Commercial, wildlife venues should be monitored and assessed for the presence of illegal activities wherein illegal profits are made from the sale of the resource. 2. Information sources should be developed to monitor, track and assess the relative threat to the resource from both strategic and tactical enforcement levels. 3. Evaluate current law regarding commercial activities; proposing appropriate measures to create, amend or rescind current law to more effectively control illegal commercial activity. 4. Provide adequate support to address enforcement activities focused on prioritized illegal commercial activities in a manner commensurate to the potential threat of the violation. Issue / Problem: With the coming of the computer age and on-line licensing, the potential for illegal representation for licensing and duplication of licenses needs to be re-evaluated and modified as necessary. Strategies: 1. Methods to identify persons applying for and receiving fraudulent licenses and permits should be developed. 2. Prosecution of violators should receive high priority. This is not often the case as prosecutors and courts may not appreciate the importance of this revenue issue. Efforts should be taken to increase the awareness of prosecutors and courts to the adjudicate fraud cases and levy appropriate fines and restitution to the Department. 3. Review current penalty statutes and revise to ensure appropriate sentences are applied to violators. Such sentencing should include restitution to the Department for the value of the license or permit fraudulently issued to the violator. 4. Develop pro-active strategies and processes that minimize the opportunities for violators to receive fraudulent licenses and permits or counterfeit the same. Issue / Problem: Law enforcement for fish, wildlife and boating programs will apply the necessary resources and techniques legally allowed to address the prioritized violation threats against the state’s natural resources and the publics’ welfare. Strategies: 1. Develop and implement a comprehensive case management and reporting system, designed to track and monitor case information to facilitate sharing of investigative information within the law enforcement community. 2. Provide training and direction to all officers relative to proper investigative techniques and their proper application. 3. Emphasize the need for proper recording of case related information through supervisory review to case files. 4. Maintain and enhance investigative communications channels with other law enforcement agencies.
Issue / Problem: The Department will investigate means to better address the high demands placed on law enforcement personnel relating to public safety and natural resource protection. Strategies: 1. Evaluate and prioritize law enforcement duties thereby providing direction to officers for appropriate response. 2. Investigate methods to address priority needs that best safe guard the public safety and protect the natural resources. 3. Investigate ways to better utilize existing personnel to gain maximum efficiency and effectiveness. 4. Identify means to address the shortage of personnel filling the law enforcement role. Issue / Problem: The Department needs an involved public in order to effectively carry out its role in public safety and natural resource protection. Strategies: 1. Review and identify methods readily available to the public for efficient transmission of law enforcement related information. 2. Acquire the necessary abilities to implement an effective, efficient communications line between the public, other law enforcement agencies and the Department. 3. Develop the means to inform the public on how to contact Department law enforcement officers with reports and requests. Issue / Problem: In order to protect the State’s resources, the Department needs to have enforceable and appropriate remedies for those who violate permitting, resource protection and boating laws and regulations. Strategies: 1. The current penalty provisions of state statute and should be reviewed and appropriate remedies sought through legislative action. 2. Develop an awareness program to inform those other entities within the judicial system of the importance of the state’s resources and the significance the law enforcement program has to the state’s citizens. 3. Develop the necessary legislation and regulations to address the issues or problems as they arise, as necessary. 4. Take an active role in the formulation of public policy through the work of professional oversight committees, associations and organizations at the national, regional and state levels
Issue / Problem: The Department needs to determine appropriate responsibility for managing off-road vehicle use on KDWP lands, and develop guidelines. Strategies: 1. Maintain active patrol to detect and contact violators while in the act. 2. Implement management strategies aimed and limiting access to critical areas. 3. Develop a program to assess damages incurred from off road use. 4. Provide for registration program with fees for use where off-road vehicle may be used and define what uses may be authorized. Develop safety standards for off-road vehicles in conjunction with registrations. Issue / Problem: Illegal and destructive activities, such as vandalism, littering, pollution, drug use and production and alcohol use take place on Department lands. Land use regulations are not followed or enforced. Strategies: 1. Monitor activities on Department lands for compliance with special permitting requirements. 2. Conduct pro-active patrols, contacting users in a manner to gain voluntary compliance. 3. Ensure that adequate, clear notice is given to all users of Department lands as to the allowable activities. Issue / Problem: Law Enforcement training must keep pace with the standards necessary for a modern, progressive program. Strategies: 1. Review current law enforcement training programs and implement necessary changes to create a more comprehensive, standardized training regimen focused on the unique law enforcement role of Natural Resource Officers. 2. Implement measures to continually inform and educate officers on Department programs and operations, thereby providing them with the ability to address information requests made by the Department’s publics. 3. Develop a process to update officers of the continually changing standards established by legislated and case law. Issue / Problem: Communications and accessibility of information need to be improved. Strategies: 1. Investigate and develop communication systems creating common, centralized dispatch services to function as a common contact conduit. 2. Provide officers with access to needed record systems allowing the search, verification and retrieval of information relevant to effective, efficient law enforcement procedures. 3. Develop case reporting systems to facilitate rapid data entry available to the law enforcement community with minimal replication of data entry.
4. Develop and maintain the necessary security features on all record systems to protect restricted access information from unauthorized persons. 5. Incorporate a points system for violation convictions that limit the ability to participate in recreational activities. 6. Seek to become a member of the violator compact with other states. Issue / Problem: An active, cooperative effort with local, state and federal agencies is needed In order to safe-guard the public in times of emergencies and disasters, especially among those with common interests. Strategies: 1. Develop, implement and maintain cooperative relations with emergency response groups and agencies, endeavoring to formulate emergency response plans and appropriately respond to emergency situations. 2. Maintain open, responsive dialogue with other law enforcement agencies, developing a more common understanding of the Department’s law enforcement missions and cooperation in achieving those objectives. 3. Develop and implement policy and procedures that appropriately address the working latitude of Department officers within the overall law enforcement community, and which officers should be engaged. 4. Establish and maintain appropriate deputy programs that provide authority and protection to officers when working on cases involving multiple levels of jurisdictional authority. Issue / Problem: Better ethical behavior needs to be developed among outdoor recreationists. Strategies: 1. Utilize education efforts in areas experiencing compliance problems and complaints. 2. Sensitize the public to the benefits of ethical behavior. 3. Incorporate more emphasis on ethics into education programs.